The buzz around Joe Coffee keeps building.
The Seattle startup, which built a mobile order and rewards app for local and independent coffee retailers to compete with big chains such as Starbucks, has closed another funding round, bringing in $750,000 from Seattle’s Flying Fish Partners. The company has raised $1.7 million to date and is poised to expand to its second market this fall.
Joe Coffee allows coffee lovers to order quickly and easily from their smartphones and its service is being used by more than 200 locations in Seattle, with a pace to double that by the end of October, including through the addition of regional chains Caffe Ladro and Top Pot Doughnuts.
PREVIOUSLY: Startup Spotlight: Seattle’s Joe Coffee is uniting indie coffee shops through tech to compete with Starbucks
Armed with what they’ve learned in their own backyard, co-founder Nick Martin said expansion is targeting the Los Angeles market by September, and combined with the Seattle market, they aim to serve 1,000 locations.
“It was important for us to be be careful not to grow faster than we could promise a trustworthy and consistent experience for consumers,” Martin said. “We built a lot of below-the-surface tech that allows us to monitor the quality of end-user experience down to the store level in real time. This has enabled us to make well-informed decisions on new features and functionality for all three major stakeholders in our marketplace: owners/operators, baristas, and consumers.”
Founded in 2014, Joe Coffee has worked over the past several months to make good on its key promise to consumers who place an order through their app: a drink will be ready when they arrive at a shop. Martin said the margin for error is much smaller than with “on-demand” apps that focus on delivery scenarios.
“From the time you place an order to the time you expect your drink and/or snack to be ready for pickup is between 3 and 7 minutes before the perception of that experience begins to suffer,” Martin said. “The data tells us that if that experience breaks down just once early in the consumer lifecycle, it’s hard to get them back.”
Monitoring the integrity of its network partner by partner, acting on insights in real time and fixing broken consumer experiences immediately is a cornerstone to the startup’s plans to scale.
Along with that focus on making sure the consumer experience is top notch, Joe Coffee is now beginning to add more features to the app around gamification, targeted re-engagement, share-worthy elements and leveraging data to provide a more tailored experience for users.
New funding will also help bolster sales and support staff to keep up with demand in Seattle and add support for the L.A. market as well, according to Martin.