This article is part of a blog series introducing the startup teams of the EIT Food Accelerator Network Helsinki 2022 programme.
What problems in the food system does EcoBean solve?
Two guys are behind the idea of creating EcoBean as a coffee-driven player. We turn the waste left over from your daily cup of coffee, which would otherwise end up in a landfill, into clean, green energy. Our main goal is to extract virgin raw materials and replace them with bio-derived products manufactured from spent coffee grounds (SCG) – waste streams which are abundant and untapped. By valorizing the coffee waste process, we are finally keen and able to reduce the carbon footprint of the coffee value chain by at least 20%.
What separates you from other companies?
Our Unique Selling Points as SCG collection service can be easily launched on any European market. We offer a highly effective and feasible logistic process for dispersed biomass collection. Additionally, our solution is comprehensive as all raw materials are extracted from SCG in one technological process hence reducing costs, waste generation and CO2 emissions. We have a global partners’ network that could serve as a sizable source of raw material and final product recipients and/or distributors, enabling quick scale-up potential. We are keen to provide necessary technical know-how as well as essential experience with the logistics of SCG transportation, upcycling technology, project management and implementation.
What is EcoBean’s aim?
As a technology-driven company, we are extending the existing coffee value chain and making it more circular. Our unique technology enables us to give coffee waste a second life. It was definitely an impulse for acting to convert the coffee waste in our first Biorefinery in Europe that enables the highest-level valorization method both implementing the innovative reverse logistic process. We adopt decentralized business model implementation, and therefore in the next five years, we will be able to launch this model in 7 planned European locations.
Additionally, we plan to issue the EcoBean Certificate that will guarantee the sustainability of coffee across the whole value chain, extending the current certification range, from cultivation to consumption, to the post-consumption circular phase. Moreover, when the full-scale biorefinery operations are launched, we plan to offer CO2 offset credits allowing business organizations to outweigh emissions that cannot yet be reduced or avoided and support them in becoming carbon neutral companies.
Why did EcoBean apply for the EIT FAN Helsinki programme?
Among the issues the company handles on a daily basis are: the linear consumption model, increasing environmental pollution and CO2 emissions, constantly growing production using fossil resources, distant and limited sources of biomass, suboptimal logistics and EU legal regulations. To face the company’s challenges and further plans for business development, we decided to participate in the EIT FAN programme. Participation allows us to find business opportunities, benefit from mentoring and gain exposure to the Finnish market, potential customers, investors, strategic partners and media and receive tailored support to raise an investment round.
We have already attended our first lectures and workshops in Helsinki, which helped us to build our representation and pitching skills. The big challenge is identifying local expectations and getting through finding funds to improve our technology and setting up the Biorefinery when the company is not yet well established. EIT FAN provides assistance in this maze of public funding, expands a key network in the industry and supports product development strategy, which is truly beneficial for a startup at the scaling stage.
Written by Joanna Manikowska, Operations Manager at EcoBean