The US-based upcycled food company uses science and technology to recreate coffee from plants
Photo as seen on Atomo’s Facebook page

Molecular coffee company Atomo Coffee has raised an additional $9 million in a seed funding round, with investors including S2G Ventures, AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners and Horizon Ventures.

This latest round of funding brings the Seattle-based start-up’s total funding to $11.6 million.

Atomo is a circular economy food company. The start-up uses science and technology to recreate coffee in a more sustainable way, by using upcycled plants.

Jarret Stopforth, Atomo co-founder and chief scientist, explained: “Our flagship grounds formula is made of upcycled plant materials such as pits, seeds, and stems from locally grown agriculture, mirroring the process of traditional coffee beans. Atomo’s magic comes from our proprietary bioreactive and thermal processes.”

Atomo now has the cash to build a 12,000-square-foot production roastery in Seattle’s industrial district, which is due to launch next year.

The new production roastery will be located in South of Downtown, not far from the local coffee icon Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle.

On-trend upcycling food

Upcycling is a rising movement across multiple categories. The Upcycled Food Association defines it as “foods using ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment”.

The sustainability credentials inherit to upcycling have been luring big-pocket impact investors. The recent seed funding extension for Atomo is a testament to the investors’ interest.

Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures, commented: “Today, coffee production has the sixth-highest climate impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food product on the planet.

“The Atomo team’s molecular coffee recreates a wide variety of coffee people love and increasingly consume in a sustainable and scalable manner.”

Jarret Stopforth, Atomos co-founder and chief scientist
Jarret Stopforth

Atomo is working at full throttle to launch its first molecular coffee products in 2021.

Horizons Ventures’ managing partner Tony Lau, commented: “Coffee is among the most consumed beverages worldwide, with roughly 42.6 litres per person per year according to Statistica. Atomo Coffee can make a huge impact on the market from a sustainability aspect while not sacrificing the quality and taste that consumers are going after.”

The start-up revealed that in a blind taste test conducted by news network CNBC, 70% of consumers preferred Atomo’s less bitter brew over conventional coffee.

“With Americans drinking 450 million cups of coffee a day, coffee is bigger than beef and we have already seen what the alternative meat industry has done for the food revolution,” said AgFunder managing partner Rob Leclerc. “This is only the beginning for disruptive innovation in the coffee industry.”

Date published: 12 August 2020

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