Kaffe Bueno closes €1.1m seed round, plans 2021 active ingredient launches

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kaffe Bueno already has three ingredients on offer, including a lipid-rich coffee oil that can be used in active beauty products and functional foods (Image: Kaffe Bueno)
Kaffe Bueno already has three ingredients on offer, including a lipid-rich coffee oil that can be used in active beauty products and functional foods (Image: Kaffe Bueno)

Related tags: Kaffe Bueno, Coffee, circular beauty, beauty from within, nutricosmetics, active beauty, waste ingredients, upcycling

Biotech startup Kaffe Bueno has secured over one million in seed funding, enabling it to push ahead with a flurry of active cosmetic ingredient launches targeting inside-out beauty, anti-ageing and sun protection, its CEO says.

The Denmark-headquartered firm, specialised in active cosmetic, nutraceutical and functional food ingredients made from upcycled coffee waste, received the €1.1m investment from a series of investors: Finnish Paulig Innovation Incubator PINC, Danish state investment fund Vækstfonden, European ag tech accelerator The Yield Lab, and a Danish business angel investor.

Kaffe Bueno said the seed capital would be used to launch new ingredients throughout 2021 and 2022; scale up production of existing ingredients; cover Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for patents for technologies and processes; and grow its team.

The company already had three ingredients on the market: a high lipid coffee oil (Kaffe Bueno Oil) that could be used in personal care and food products, most recently commercialised by Givaudan under the tradename ‘Koffee’Up’; a gluten-free, fibre- and protein-rich functional coffee flour (Kafflour); and an upcycled natural exfoliant for cosmetics (Kaffibre).

Juan Medina, co-founder and CEO of Kaffe Bueno, said the seed round was a “big step”​ for the company, enabling it to expand its ingredient offering and plug demands.

Nutricosmetics, anti-ageing and sun protection

“We want to take these last two months [of 2020] to accelerate the development of the new ingredients we have in the pipeline, and hopefully start introducing them by Q2 or Q3 next year,”​ Medina said.

Asked what type of ingredients Kaffe Bueno was set to introduce for beauty, he said: “We are working on cosmetics that work from within. Nutricosmetics is an area we’re actively exploring and that’s where one of our releases will be. We also have some more on anti-ageing and we are covering the expanding alternatives within sun protection.”

Nutricosmetics especially, he said, would be a particularly “hot topic within the next couple of years”​ and why Kaffe Bueno was innovating in this space. "We don’t see cosmetics and food as very far away industries – we see it more as a 'wellcare' sector, and those sectors are more interchanged than ever before."

Medina said the company had worked closely with its advisory board and partners on the research and development of these pipeline ingredients and would continue to do so as market launches went ahead. Under its partnership with Givaudan, for example, Kaffe Bueno would collaborate on launching additional coffee oil-derived ingredients next year. 

Kaffe Bueno co-founders (left to right): Juan Medina, Camilo Fernandez and Alejandro Franco
Kaffe Bueno co-founders (left to right): Juan Medina, Camilo Fernandez and Alejandro Franco

Alejandro Franco, fellow co-founder and CCO of Kaffe Bueno, said earlier this year that there was plenty more active ingredient potential in spent coffee beans​ and Medina agreed: “Raw materials and efficacy is what it’s all about in cosmetics.”

If the beauty industry could master sustainability and efficacy, he said any final product or ingredient would be successful. “At the end of the day, that’s what consumers want, and consumers are the ones who know best.” 

Major European processing site goal

Medina said that longer-term, Kaffe Bueno wanted to build a major commercial processing site in Western Europe to facilitate wider upscale of its ingredients and network. “We want to move more volumes than we’re moving now.”

The company also had shorter-term plans to build a pilot plant in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For the larger site, Medina said Kaffe Bueno was scoping out options in Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands and would need to raise a further €8-10 million in capital to achieve the build. The goal was to secure this funding within the next two years and have a large-scale, fully operational site within four, he said.

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