Coffee roasting equipment maker Bellwether Coffee announced this morning that it has closed a $40 million funding round. The Series B funding follows an initial funding round of $10 million in August of last year, giving the Bay Area company an unprecedented amount of startup capital in the coffee equipment industry since its early 2018 launch.
Leading the latest round is the Bay Area venture capital firm DBL Partners, along with brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive, the founders of the solar energy company SolarCity, which was acquired by Tesla for $2.6 billion in 2016.
Bellwether’s core product is an electric coffee roasting unit that’s about the same size as a kitchen refrigerator. Through its suite of digital services, the company gives Bellwether owners or lessees access to a managed selection of green coffees, and software for inventory management and roast profiling.
Defying the traditional roaster-to-retailer supply model, the company pitches itself as a comprehensive solution for retailers seeking to roast their own branded coffee for the first time. The company also makes some bold claims related to the Bellwether machine’s environmental performance compared to more traditional gas-powered drum roasters.
Though untested over the long term, the claims seem to have found open ears among players in the Bay Area venture capital community. In addition to DBL and the Rive brothers, investors in this most recent round include FusionX, Congruent Ventures, Coffee Bell, Tandem Capital, Spindrift Equities, XN Ventures, Balius Partners and Hardware Club.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with DBL, Lyndon and Peter Rive to help accelerate our already rapid growth,” Bellwether CEO Nathan Gilliland said in today’s announcement. “We expect in-store roasting at cafes and grocery locations to become the rule, not the exception. We are proud that the Bellwether Roaster has become the most consistent and controllable commercial coffee roaster available.”
In association with the investment, DBL Partners Founder and Managing Partner Nancy Pfund and Lyndon Rive are joining Bellwether’s board of directors, the company announced.