Starting in October 2012 in his kitchen, Stephen Rapoport, founder of Pact Coffee, decided to create a new kind of tech-driven coffee startup which could deliver the freshest coffee to people, and ween the British off of their famous obsession with instant coffee. That obsession was born out of rationing in World War II, to the point where out of the £1bn of coffee sold in the UK, £740m of it is instant. Stephen reckoned he could get the Brits into real coffee if it was super-fresh, plus, take a big chunk out of the ground-coffee sold by the major supermarkets, not the bag-per-month online companies.
Pact users just choose their brewing method (espresso, filter etc), getting a tailored recommendation and picking one regular delivery. Pact has also gone for super-awesome customer service, going above and beyond the call of duty, Zappos style.
Rapoport’s ‘pitch’ is that by keeping a small selection of world-class coffees and shipping within seven days of roasting they can focus on removing friction from the first purchase and retention rates.
And their commitment to fresh coffee is high. If they have any over-supply that gets older than a week, they simply give it away to their customers.
Rapoport previously built and sold the apartment-sharing site Crashpadder to Airbnb, but got itchy feet and wanted to turn his fresh coffee obsession into a business. Pact has gone on to raise almost $4 million to date. They now have 30,000 customers cups of coffee being drunk in the UK daily, but are not disclosing customer numbers (so depending on how caffeine junkie their users are total customers at this point could be anything from 5,000 upwards), and plan to launch internationally and work directly with the coffee farmers themselves.
Stephen himself is a passionate entrepreneur, so we took time out to visit him at his amazing office in South London.