“Colombia’s largest coffee producer” Green Coffee Company raised $25 million in Series C equity funding.
Coffee is worth $493 billion worldwide. Smaller coffee companies have emerged alongside legacy brands. I recently reported on Chamberlain Coffee raising venture capital, joining Fellow, Blank Street, and many celebrity coffee brands. Compound Foods and Atomo make beanless coffee.
Cole Shephard founded Green Coffee in 2017, a U.S.-based arabica coffee farming company with 14 Colombian farms on 9,000 acres. Shephard said it owns over 11.5 million coffee trees, making it two times larger than any other coffee producer in the country.
“We started as an asset management product, but in two years, we ran the company,” Shephard said. “It’s a huge opportunity to grow a Colombian business internationally, and no one was doing it. No one invested in the sector, and others lacked human or economic capital.”
He said the company controls the supply chain from cultivation to processing to direct trade with end-clients due to its size. Shephard said its wet mills use sophisticated processing machinery that recycles water to use 0.3 liters per pound of green coffee instead of 20.
Shephard said Green Coffee made $10 million last year, up from $1 million the year before. He predicts $27 million next year.
Shephard is a partner at Legacy Group, which owns Green Coffee. Shephard told TechCrunch that Green Coffee’s Series C funding comes from over 450 high-net-worth investors who invest directly into Legacy Group’s portfolio companies rather than a pooled fund. Investors have invested over $60 million.
Shephard said that Legacy raises this way because “the team at Legacy has always felt strongly about offering unique and exciting deals that provide individual investors the ability to directly invest in companies that they like rather than into a blind or diversified fund model over which they have little control or in which they hand over decision-making to large funds and institutions who provide little personalized attention.”
The funding round will enable the company to launch a line of liquors and spirits distilled from coffee byproducts like coffee cherries and other coffee “waste” and expand its Colombian farming operations. The company needs $65 million in institutional debt capital to expand.
In two years, Shephard expects Green Coffee to “become the world’s largest producer of arabica coffee.” He also wants a 2026 U.S. IPO.
“We’re building a large-scale distillery in Colombia to create our own pure ethanol, and using a quarter of our byproducts, we can produce 5 million to 6 million bottles of vodka a year,” Shephard said.