This week, Atomo Coffee Inc. – CEO’d by Burien’s Andy Kleitsch – announced that it has closed an additional $9 million in seed funding to bring its molecular coffee to market.
Many locals know Kleitsch as the lead singer for the Cure tribute band The Lovecats, as well as an entrepreneur who has created and/or led many innovative startups. He is also a proud Pirate alum of Highline High School.
Kleitsch’s Atomo team has reverse-engineered the coffee bean to create a uniquely smooth and sustainable brew. In a blind taste test conducted by CNBC, 70% of consumers preferred Atomo’s less bitter brew over conventional coffee. Atomo will use funds to build their production roastery in the heart of Seattle’s industrial district with an anticipated launch in 2021.
“Seattle is the perfect confluence of tech and craft coffee, it only makes sense that coffee is reinvented here,” said Kleitsch, CEO and Cofounder. “Our tech creates a great tasting cup of coffee, that provides consumers with a sustainable choice, as well as greater value for our farmers.”
Here’s more from Atomo:
Climate change is wreaking havoc on the global coffee industry; affecting quality, contributing to deforestation and driving a variety of wild coffee species into possible extinction. Atomo’s mission is to use science and technology to recreate coffee people love in a more sustainable way, by using upcycled plants.
“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,” said Jarret Stopforth, Chief Scientist and Cofounder, “Atomo’s magic comes from our proprietary bioreactive and thermal processes.”
Upcycling is a rising movement across multiple categories and is defined by the Upcycled Food Association 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.”
“Coffee is among the most consumed beverages worldwide, with roughly 42.6 liters per person per year according to Statistica. Atomo Coffee can make a huge impact in the market from a sustainability aspect while not sacrificing the quality and taste that consumers are going after,” said Tony Lau, Atomo board member and managing partner from Horizons Ventures.
“Today, coffee production has the 6th highest climate impact in terms of GHG emissions per kilogram of food product on the planet,” said Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures. “The Atomo team’s molecular coffee recreates a wide variety of the coffee people love and increasingly consume in a sustainable and scalable manner.”
“With Americans drinking 450m 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,” Agfunder managing partner Rob Leclerc said. “This is only the beginning for disruptive innovation in the coffee industry.”
Tess Hatch from Bessemer Venture Partners remarks that “Atomo’s extraordinary team shares a profoundly important mission to do good for the planet and environment while also introducing an improved molecular coffee with no bitterness and better taste.”
Atomo’s production roastery will be located in SODO, not far from local coffee icon Starbucks’ headquarters. They anticipate launching the first molecular coffee products into the market in 2021. Atomo has raised a total of $11.6 million across 2 Seed rounds.