Bean there, done with that.
The future of coffee got a jolt Wednesday as Atomo Coffee announced it has secured $2.6 million in seed funding to develop what it calls the world’s first “molecular coffee,” created without beans. Horizon Ventures, an early backer of food innovators Impossible Foods and Perfect Day, led the round.
Atomo took its place on Seattle’s crowded coffee map with a successful Kickstarter campaign in February, introducing how they were going to “hack the coffee bean” and attracting $25,331 in crowdfunding from 693 backers.
Driven by a desire to create a more sustainable product, Atomo founders Andy Kleitsch and Jarret Stopforth point to climate change and deforestation involved in coffee farming as the impetus for the brand.
“Atomo’s beanless coffee provides consumers with a sustainable choice while delivering the great taste and caffeine they expect in their morning cup,” Kleitsch, the startup’s CEO, said in a news release.
Kleitsch is a tech vet who, among other things, spent almost two years at Amazon as a product manager. He currently leads entrepreneur workshops at the University of Washington.
Stopforth, a Ph.D. with extensive experience around food safety and quality at companies such as Chobani and Campbell Soup, said the industry is ripe for innovation and change. Atomo reverse engineered the bean, removed it from the process of making coffee and substituted it with a molecular concoction derived from naturally sustainable (and secret) ingredients.
“The acceptance of agriculture alternatives has been proven with meatless meats and dairy free milks,” Stopforth said. “We want to continue that movement in a category we feel passionate about — coffee.”
Atomo has also added food and beverage technology veterans to their advisory board including, Bryan Crowley, CEO of Soylent, as well as Dr. Chahan Yeretzian, a leading expert in coffee science from the Swiss Coffee Excellence Center.
In the city that gave birth to Starbucks, Seattle is also home to money-raising coffee-tech companies such as Joe Coffee, creators of a mobile order and rewards app for independent coffee shops, and Bottomless, makers of hardware and software to better track when you need fresh coffee at home.