Pouring in: Early Stage

Read this with your Sunday morning coffee.

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Pouring in: Early Stage

There are running jokes that writers turn coffee into copy, programmers turn it into code, and mathematicians turn coffee into theorems. The beverage has fueled an incredible amount of creative work, but sometimes it’s also good to slow down and enjoy its rich, deep bite. Coffee entrepreneurs are having a hot year, from Indonesia’s Fore to China’s Luckin, it seems like we can’t get enough of the caffeine.

For this week’s Early Stage, we’re keeping it simple and highlighting news about two coffee startups in Southeast Asia.

Kabu & Co. is a startup that specializes in coffee. It connects coffee bean farmers in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa with high-end roasters around the world. Farmers set the prices of their beans, while roasters search for and buy beans through an online marketplace. Kabu just raised USD 382,000 in a pre-seed round. It currently lists 1.3 million individual farms, which are organized in cooperatives, in its network. Looking forward, Kabu is seeking to raise USD 500,000 on a USD 5 million valuation to further grow its business. It also plans to expand its marketplace concept to other high-margin crops in the future.

Indonesian coffee startup Kopi Kenangan managed to raise USD 20 million from Sequoia India. Founded in 2017, the company currently has 80 stores and serves one million cups of joe each month. The idea is simple: customers can use Kopi Kenangan’s app to pre-order their beverages. The setup is particularly popular with the country’s younger consumers. Kopi Keenangan ahs big plans for its fresh funds—it plans to open 150 new outlets by the end of 2019, then establish a roster of 1,000 stores by 2021. It’s also in talks to take its operations to other countries in Southeast Asia.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week, whether they achieved an important milestone, rolled out a truly innovative product, or became embroiled in controversy.