Biodegradable and edible coffee cup manufacturer Сupffee has attracted 1.8 million euros for the expansion of its business. In a pre-seed round, Bulgarian fund Eleven Ventures enters the Cupffee company with 500 thousand euros, while the remaining 1.3 million euros come in the form of a grant from the European Innovation Council. With the financing, the valuation of Cupffee reaches BGN 8 million, reports the company's founder Miroslav Zapryanov, who continues to hold a majority stake in the company of 51.23%.
All or nothing
Zapryanov started his business on the "all or nothing" principle, he says: "I invested all my savings to design and finance four prototype machines. I perfected the recipe and the technology. With the fourth machine, I also started my first official production on 36 square meters in a small pastry shop in Plovdiv. Our daily production was 100 cups, or 10 cups per hour, because I worked 10 hours a day. Our team comprised a total of three people."
In 2014, he registered Cupffee with Mladen Jalazov and Simeon Gavrailov (who no longer own shares in it). A few years later, he managed to attract business angels as partners - Sasha Bezuhanova and co-founder of Telerik Svetozar Georgiev joined the venture alongside several others.
In 2020-2021, Zapryanov decided to invest in the business, so it could grow. By reinvesting profits and taking out a bank loan, Cupffee was able to purchase a factory building, as well as an automatic production line. The company does not specify the total sum of the investment, but according to Zapryanov, the loan made up around 40% of the entire amount. A reference in the Commercial Register shows that at the beginning of last year Cupffee took out a BGN 2.5 million loan from Unicredit Bulbank, which implies the total investment was about BGN 6.3 million.
Lavazza as a client
At the moment, the Cupffee team numbers 15 people, all based in the company's production base in Plovdiv. The monthly production capacity is about 2.5 million coffee cups, and the leftover materials are used to make coffee stirrers. For B2B customers, the manufacturer also offers white label production with their brand and logo. The company's clients include Lavazza, Bosch, Lidl, Etihad airlines and others. Two cup sizes are available - for espresso and for long coffee, designed for cold and hot drinks up to 85 degrees.
56-105 kcal per cup
The main ingredient in the cups is oat bran, followed by wheat flour. The rest is a patent registered in Europe and many countries outside it. The taste of Cupffee is neutral and is not affected by the taste of the drink in them. The cup holds liquid for up to 40 minutes.
Cupffee plans to use fresh funding from this round to further strengthen its presence in existing markets and enter new ones. It currently operates in more than 30 countries worldwide. "We also plan on expanding our sales and marketing team," adds Zapryanov. "Our goal is, and always has been, to stimulate the demand for sustainable food products, thereby further supporting the entry of the circular economy into the food industry," he says.