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Green Coffee wants to make products out of coffee waste

Nov 17, 2022
Illustration of a to-go coffee cup with a hundred dollar bill as the cup's jacket.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Green Coffee Company is in market for a $100 million Series C to help it build a facility that will turn waste from coffee beans into circular products, founder Cole Shephard tells Axios.

Why it matters: The company, which monitors its coffee production from the ground up, is aiming to tap investor and consumer demand for sustainability.

  • “Even if the SEC or impact investors didn't come out with ESG metrics, your clients are demanding that anyway. They want full traceability,” Shephard says.

What’s happening: The company plans to tap high-net-worth investors with $5 million to $100 million in assets, shirking traditional venture funds.

  • “Everything we raise is basically syndicated LP equity or what you'd see out of a private equity fund,” he says.
  • It expects the new round, which was announced in September, to comprise $25 million in equity and $75 million in debt funding.
  • On the equity side, the company has $9 million already committed in the Series C, Shephard says. The company has raised $45 million in equity to date.
  • On the debt side, the company expects to pull in financing from a combination of international or development banks and local Colombian banks, he says.
  • Green Coffee expects the round to close before next year's third quarter.

What’s next: Green Coffee has grown into a large farming conglomerate in Colombia and has invested in a roaster in the U.S.

  • The Series C will enable the company to further expand its Colombian operations, accelerate its U.S. operations, and launch its own lines of liquors and spirits distilled from coffee cherries and other coffee byproducts.
  • Shephard says it plans to have the distillery ready by the fall of next year.

Zoom in: The goal would be to create “a full circular economy” with its coffee, especially with the cherry that is often thrown away, Shephard says.

  • The distillery will be able to make coffee byproducts into vodkas or gins, or even biofuels, Shephard says.

The bottom line: “In the long term of coffee farming, I do think byproducts will become the product, the core product,” he says.

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication when the company provided additional details on the current round and how much the company has raised to date.

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