BERKELEY, Calif., U.S. — Bellwether Coffee, the company transforming the way coffee is roasted, distributed and sold, announced today that it has closed a $40-million Series B round led by DBL Partners and brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive. Additional participating investors include FusionX, Congruent Ventures, Coffee Bell, Tandem Capital, Spindrift Equities, XN Ventures, Balius Partners and Hardware Club.
Bellwether, whose commercial roaster won the industry’s Best New Product award earlier this year, makes coffee roasting emissions-free and easily accessible to cafes and grocery stores. Traditional coffee roasters are expensive and difficult to permit and install, often requiring natural gas lines and complicated venting systems. The electric Bellwether Roaster is simple to operate and can be placed in any location, providing the immediate benefits of freshly roasted coffee at a lower cost.
The internet-connected Bellwether Roaster gives customers access to the world of coffee, where they can execute award-winning roast profiles (or create their own) exactly as intended, no matter the operator, location or environment. Additionally, the platform provides access to a curated marketplace of green coffee from farms around the world, inventory management tools, and data analytics from its connected software.
Since officially launching its electric roaster domestically last year, Bellwether Coffee has seen significant demand from some of the nation’s best-loved coffee retailers, cafes, local grocers and national chains, and on average is installing a roaster per day across the US. This funding round is announced as coffee is the world’s most popular beverage, with more than 400 million cups per day consumed in the US alone, with over 60% of those being specialty coffee, according to the National Coffee Association.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with DBL, Lyndon and Peter Rive to help accelerate our already rapid growth,” said Bellwether’s CEO, Nathan Gilliland. “We expect in-store roasting at cafes and grocery locations to become the rule, not the exception. We are proud that the Bellwether Roaster has become the most consistent and controllable commercial coffee roaster available.” In addition to meeting global demand for its roaster, Bellwether is also concentrating its efforts on two main areas of social impact: increasing incomes for coffee farmers and eliminating roast processes that are harmful to our planet.
Coffee has long been tied to having an outsized carbon footprint. The electric Bellwether Roaster reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 90% versus traditional gas-powered alternatives. Instead of green, unroasted coffee being shipped to centralized coffee roasting facilities and then shipped to retailers, Bellwether enables its customers to roast on-site—no gas lines or ventilation required. The result is a fresher, higher-value coffee product for customers, increased profit for coffee retailers, a reduced impact on our planet, and more money going to those at the beginning of the coffee supply chain—farmers.
“DBL is pleased to work with Bellwether Coffee to accelerate the reduction of coffee’s carbon footprint and drive positive social impact across the supply chain, all while offering consumers a higher quality coffee experience,” said Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners. “Whether it is cars or coffee, the move to electricity away from fossil fuels whets consumers’ appetite for a planet-friendly, premium product, creating large, high-growth markets in the process.” It was also announced today that Nancy Pfund will join Bellwether’s board of directors.
“Bellwether completely changes how coffee is roasted and distributed,” said Lyndon Rive, who will also join Bellwether’s board of directors. “We are thrilled to co-lead this round to help Bellwether’s outstanding team meet its rapid growth in global demand.”
The Bellwether Roaster is available to business owners through lease and purchase options, allowing cafes, grocers and other coffee retailers to start saving money immediately while delivering unparalleled freshness and quality coffee offerings. The roaster is ventless, electric and easier to install than most espresso machines, and operates via an intuitive iPad app that does not require any previous roasting experience. For more information, please visit: www.bellwethercoffee.com.