Online third-party coffee seller Trade has announced a $9 million financing round led by Madrona Venture Group, an early investor in companies such as Amazon, Smartsheet, Rover, and Redfin.
After launching with hefty backing from the Germain billionaire Reimann family-owned JAB Holding Company in April 2018, Trade has since facilitated the purchase of more than one million bags of coffee from nearly 60 United States specialty coffee roasting companies to consumers.
The New York City-based company employs algorithms to match consumers with specific seasonal coffee offerings from roasters, while promoting subscription delivery. In an announcement today, the company said it expects to “ship” another one million bags within the next six months, although coffees are technically shipped by participating roasters.
In an announcement this morning, Trade pitched itself as something of a lifeline for specialty coffee roasting companies struggling to weather the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Though consumers can currently purchase coffees directly from nearly all of the Trade-participating roasting companies online or in person — and thereby potentially avoiding extra costs associated with third-party sellers such as Trade — the company says it is expanding the audience for participating roasters.
“The specialty coffee market is highly fragmented, with amazing independent roasters all over the country serving local customers,” Scott Jacobson, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, said in an announcement today. “While they roast great coffee, they have a hard time building their brand and scaling their business to reach a national audience. Trade helps them do just that, connecting roasters to customers across the U.S. who discover and delight in their product. We love marketplace businesses with strong value propositions to customers and suppliers, and are excited to partner with Trade to scale its marketplace for specialty coffee.”
There has been a scarcity of publicly shared data concerning home coffee consumption trends in the COVID-19 era, though some individual company data and nearly all anecdotal reports coming from DCN sources suggest there’s been an exponential uptick in online purchases of roasted coffee for home consumption.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.