With Scott Orn

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Brad Gakenheimer of Roast Umber Coffee Company on what it takes to be a coffee startup

Posted on: 09/03/2019

Brad Gakenheimer

Brad Gakenheimer

Co-Founder - Roast Umber

Brad Gakenheimer of Roast Umber - Podcast Summary

From picking the right beans and roasts to managing gross profits, Brad Gakenheimer of Roast Umber Coffee Company explains what it takes to start a coffee company.

Brad Gakenheimer of Roast Umber - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn of Kruze Consulting and before an excellent podcast quick shout out to our sponsor, Brex. Brex is a credit card for startups. The first one ever. It’s fantastic. They don’t require personal guarantee by the founder. That is a huge, huge deal. Also has great integration with QuickBooks, which makes life easy for your accountant. And finally they have really good rewards. They do startup centric rewards, so like bonuses on ride sharing and travel and eating out and things like that. All things that’ll appeal to the whole team at a startup. So check out Brex and if you go through their signup and type in Cruise, you get a discount. Hopefully you enjoy Brex and thanks so much guys for sponsoring the podcast. Thanks. Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze consulting and today my very special guest is Bradley Brad Gakenheimer of Roast Umber Coffee Company.
Brad: Good to be here. Thanks for-
Scott: Welcome Brad.
Brad: Scott for having me.
Scott: Oh my pleasure. So we met because you have a pretty cool kind of business strategy. But before we get into that, you came to our office and we did like a Wellness Wednesday and everyone got the taste for coffee and people loved it. And then we wrote a blog post because people loved it. And then I was like, this guy’s awesome and everyone was talking about you for like half an hour. And so I was like let’s do a podcast.
Brad: Yeah, no, it was a lot of fun coming out here for Wellness Wednesday. You guys were one of the first to try our Cold Brew. We got a lot of good feedback in that regard. But you guys have some great questions, a lot of what you guys are doing. So happy to be back. Happy to be here.
Scott: Thank you. So for the guests or for the audience, maybe just retrace your career. Like how’d you have the idea to start Roast Umber?
Brad: Yeah, for sure. So actually ever since I graduated from college and I always wanted to do something on my own. I didn’t really know what that was kind of back in the day, in my early 20s or so. So I actually got my start into finance. But through that process, as I was saving a lot of money and I just looking out for new opportunities and different things that I could be doing. So joining startup groups and actually had a friend of mine do one of these startup groups that connected me with a local coffee roaster at the time where I lived, knew the bank that I was working at, and he needed a partner. He was looking to start this small coffee shop real [real] street actually in Michigan. And I was like oh, this is really interesting. This is really cool. I drank coffee, I didn’t know a lot about coffee at the time. And by coincidence, I was actually going out to Portland, Oregon for vacation. So I was asking him, you know, what models are you going after in terms of coffee and all that. And going out to Portland being one of the coffee meccas of the country, he was telling me about Stumptown and some of these other, you know, third wave “Wilster”. So went out, checked it out. A couple of weeks later, I came back from vacation and I was like “Hey man, I want to get involved in this. I want to be more than just like “silent financial partner”.” So that was really the start of my coffee career per se and specialty coffee. And then we grew that venture, sold it, actually moved up to the East coast for a little while, was doing some other kind of ventures. And then about six, seven months ago launched this brand Roast Umber. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Scott: That’s amazing. So you got kind of introduced luckily, and then you actually did some research on the industry and are like hey, does this make sense?
Brad: Exactly. I kind of accidentally fell into coffee per se. And then, yeah, just kind of become a coffee fiend per se, and just fell in love with the business model. Fell in love with everything that has to do with coffee. Exactly.
Scott: There’s a whole kind of like small lot or specialty kind of trend in everything like whiskey, vodka. And it’s cool to see it happening in coffee too. Is that kind of what got your attention or what got your attention?
Brad: It was, yeah. That’s really what started to get my attention 100%. So growing up in Michigan, we’ve kind of become beer city in Grand Rapids and some of these other places, Kalamazoo, [inaudible] Bells, Grand Rapids founders and a lot of great breweries in the Midwest in general. And you’re absolutely right. I mean, what’s happened with the craft beer scene since the ’80s and then what’s also happened with wine. I mean, you go up to Napa, you go to Sonoma, all these different places, you go to Italy. There’s different regions of the world or the country that have different producing wines, right? Different regions and soil structures and things like that. 100% exactly the same with coffee, right? So that’s one of the things that has been really interesting from our perspective is, you know, a Sumatra bean, how does that taste different than a Kenyan or an Ethiopian or Guatemala, all those kinds of different subtleties. So that’s from a aesthetic standpoint that’s been really a lot of fun to learn and get into.
Scott: Does it feel like some of those other, like the whiskey or … Maybe I’m saying whiskey because I like to drink whiskey once in awhile. Does it feel like they’re doing the work for you a little bit? Like culturally we’re all getting used to buying kind of specialty stuff as everyone gets their own little specialty brand.
Brad: I guess I’ve never thought about it that way, but yeah, I think you’re absolutely right is there at least building that foundation to tell the story. So I can kind of back off their story and just say that we’re doing [crosstalk 00:04:54] whiskey were doing or in craft beer, wine, whatever it is. Yeah.
Scott: I think the amazing thing is you guys have a very defined brand and you’ll get into that. But like people want to buy something that they identify with. Maybe that’s the millennial thing or maybe that’s just the way the world’s going these days.
Brad: Yeah, I don’t know if the micro lab thing. You know, you want something different, you want something that’s for [idle 00:00:05:14]. You want something that’s “organic” per se. Not necessarily that everything that we do is organic, but you want something different, I guess. So, yeah. I don’t if it’s millennial or whatever buzz term you want to use. But yeah, what ever it is, it’s been fun.
Scott: Now when you said you like kind of looked at the financials and thought about the industry, like what did that entail? Like you’re a finance guy. Were you looking and seeing with like what does coffee retail for and what’s the gross margin structure? Or what kind of analysis were you doing?
Brad: Yeah, all of that obviously important when I got into it. So obviously the margins in coffee, you know, same with any kind of other beverage. I mean, if you do it the right way, you can get good margins. You can do a lot in terms of sustainability, charitable giving, things of that nature. But really what I was looking at when I got into this and a couple of our business partners as well is where coffee was at and where it was going. And that was really, really interesting to me. And it connected from a financial standpoint too because a couple of things. Number one, there’s not that many publicly traded coffee companies, you know, number one. And the ones that were pretty big have got acquired in the last five, 10 years, right?
Scott: Like Peet’s and-
Brad: So Peet’s got acquired by a private equity firm that took Krispy Kreme and Keurig private. So Peet’s then actually bought Intelligentsia based in Chicago. Peet’s also bought out Stumptown that was based in Portland-
Scott: Oh, I didn’t know that. Holy cow.
Brad: Two of the pioneer kind of coffee third wave roasters. So that was happening, you know, again, the last five, 10 years. Nestle just put a big stake in Blue Bottle of $500 million-
Scott: I did see that.
Brad: So that kind of stuff is happening in coffee. It’s just the same as what’s happening, like we said before, in [inaudible] just how that growth is happening from an acquisition standpoint. So again, the financials are certainly there. From a marginal standpoint, you know, the attention around coffee. I think we have Starbucks to thank you for that. That spending three, four, or $5 for a cup of coffee or latte, absolutely. And then we’ll get into more of the sustainability and how, you know, from our standpoint and how we get that money back to origin and the farmers. But yeah, no, absolutely. It’s like the price point of what people were already paying for coffee. And then what it was getting to in terms of the variety, where it’s coming from, different origins.
Scott: And it’s kind of a cool way to talk about you guys because I kind of know what your brand stands for, but maybe kind of share with the audience, like what does Roast Umber stand for or who you trying to appeal to?
Brad: When we founded the company, when we first got started, we sat down and we said “Okay, why does the world need other coffee roasting company”, right? I mean there’s a million out there just like every other … Like there’s so many coffee shops that are out there nowadays and we’re not focusing on retail. We’re not doing anything in terms of that regard with coffee shops. But we sat down, we said “Okay, we know where specialty coffee is, where the potential is, where it could be going.” We look at the spectrum of coffee drinkers, right? And we look at okay, there’s the folks that are still kind of the I’ll say like the first, second, third wave of coffee. Not to get too technical in terms of the coffee-
Scott: No, but go through that. That’s actually what I’m interested in.
Brad: Yeah, so the first wave of coffee with the post World War II, instant coffee-
Scott: Like Folgers-
Brad: Maxwell House. Exactly. 100%. Up to, you know, Starbucks kind of creating an experience around coffee.
Scott: Is Starbucks second wave?
Brad: Second wave, yeah. So kind of that experience around, you know, kind of the … I don’t know if you want to call it the Italian style, but the lattes, espresso drinks, things of that nature. And then now getting into kind of the third wave, which I would say it’s about two decades in with going into some of these pioneer third wave roasters, you know, like the Stomptowns of the world and people like that is that actually go to origin and actually learn about where their coffee is coming from, right? The soil structures. Learn about the farmers, how everything is being processed, all those kinds of things. So that’s kind of the third wave of coffee. When you go to a coffee shop nowadays, a lot of the coffee shops, especially out here in San Francisco, is you’ll see, okay, like I said before, if this was a Kenyan being or an Ethiopian or Guatemala or Sumatra and what are those differences. Well, we were also seeing too is, you know, it was happening again on East Coast, Midwest, all over the place is … And again, for me, when I first got into coffee, I wasn’t as educated in coffee. Again, I’m not as much as other people were at that. So I would go into coffee shops and be like what the heck is a Sumatra? Right? And what is Papa New Guinea, right? And things like this. And it was just like I didn’t know what was happening. I just ordered it because it sounded cool. But we wanted to kind of break down those barriers to learning about, okay, maybe you don’t like a Kenyan coffee. Maybe you don’t like an Ethiopian. When you taste coffee, plain and black, you’re like “Ooh, what is it, blueberry? This is a little weird. I don’t know if I like this specialty coffee.” Well, that’s not necessarily the case. Just like with wine or beer or anything else is the taste, your interest level might be a little bit different than somebody else.
Scott: Can you spend like a minute or two minutes talking about maybe different flavor profiles or what that means because as you’re talking about it, I’m thinking of myself going to Sonoma and Dry Creek and that’s where I like the Pinot. And I can actually really tell after drinking enough wine now where I can tell, right? Like the difference between like a Napa Cabernet and a Dry Creek Pinot. But like maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to understand that on a coffee level. Maybe you can kind of explain and educate us, just like a little bit of like what do some of these differences stand for or what they taste like?
Brad: Yeah, no absolutely. And that’s actually one of the things, and going back to your last question too, just make sure I covered that is one of the things that, again, going back to we want to break down those barriers and educate people on that spectrum of coffee drinkers is there’s the folks that are kind of in this in the middle that want to get into specialty coffee, but aren’t as educated just like that. So how do we better educate them? And for us to focus on people centers one of the things that we were mentioning before we turned on the mics is us focusing on offices, right? And people centers, places that serve a lot of brunch and restaurants and things like that. Not necessarily from a branding standpoint, more so than just getting or coffee out there so we can start from there. So going back to your last question about the different regions, flavor profiles of coffee, different subtleties is yeah, just talking about that is, you know, you’re looking at the Central American region, and we’re getting our coffee right now from a farmer in Guatemala. We can talk about that a little bit later in terms of how we grew that relationship with that farm, how we feel about Guatemalan coffees and Central American coffees. But yeah, you’re going to get a different flavor profile there than you would from an African coffee, from an Ethiopian coffee-
Scott: Is it more bitter or less bitter? Is it creamier or is it … I just have no concept.
Brad: [crosstalk] look at it it’s a little more balanced, right? So it’s funny because when we have people drink Guatemalan coffee compared to something else is they’ll taste it, they’ll drink it, and they’ll say “This is dark roast?” And we’re be like “No, we roast it on the lighter side, if you want to stay.” It’s like we roast about the same as you know anything else? You might just feel it’s a dark roast because you’re getting that chocolate [crosstalk] and that balance. And we as Americans per say, number one we like dark roast. I think a majority of the country likes that dark, bold roast, which I don’t even know still what bold means. What is that flavor, right? But to each their own whatever. But yeah, it’s like that bold kind of and I think it’s that chocolatey kind of balanced taste and that’s why, you know, from us from the standpoint of Guatemala … Whereas again, when you go to a Papua New Guinea or Ethiopia, you might get a little bit from a fruitier stand point again. You know, depending on how it’s roasted, it might be a little bitter or whatever you want to say. But yeah, you’re going to get some blueberry flavor out of it. You might get some, you know, kind of brown sugar, some of that flavor in it as well.
Scott: And the roasting process, that brings out certain aspects of the flavor and you guys are kind of like the mad scientist in there. Like figuring out how hard to roast or how dark to roast it. Or someone like me who doesn’t know enough about coffee, like how does that impact the taste?
Brad: Right. Yeah, so I think it’s more mad scientist when you’re dealing with your latte syrups and different ways to brew coffee. Nowadays, there’s so many different ways that people are brewing it, from [inaudible] to siphon to all these other kinds of crazy things. I think from us is, yeah, absolutely, is we’re roasting to the flavor profile. So we’re testing out the different subtleties. When you look at a coffee at a roasting scale, you’re looking at the scale of what the temperature profile is looking at, the drop temperature of when you drop the beans in, what the temperature is in the roaster and then how it’s heating up over [crosstalk] getting up over time. For us though, is that’s absolutely important. But also for us though is if we roast a pound of coffee just to try a different flavor profile with a different bean that we just got or maybe we want to roast it for a different brew method, whatever it is, it’s a 15-20 minute time investment, right? It’s not that big of a deal for us. For us look at it, it’s the farmer that’s really doing all those things in terms of thinking about okay, well number one is a three to five year time investment for a-
Scott: I didn’t know that. Wow.
Brad: Coffee tree to grow and come to fruition and actually harvest. Right? So that’s a big deal, number one. Number two, there’s a lot of risk involved with leaf rust, drought, all these other kinds of things that we know about with other crops. Then number three is, yeah, absolutely. It’s like what’s the soil structure look like? What was there before? Are they doing other things in that farm? Are they processing honey? Do they do chocolate, other kinds of things like that what they’re doing. So yeah, absolutely. It’s like what does the soil structure look like and those kinds of things. So us having that relationship with the farmers, a lot of these roasters that have those relationships with farmers, that’s really where that kind of mad scientist, if you want to call it that, aspect comes into play.
Scott: That’s awesome. And you talked earlier in the podcast about going back to the origin. And there’s kind of a business fundamental there too. Like do you want to kind of talk about … I think that’s one of the reasons you got this, the relationship, understanding what you’re buying, but like why build this kind of direct relationship?
Brad: We give back as a company, right? I mean, we’re very philanthropic as core business owners. That’s just who we are personally. We want to do that professionally in terms of giving 10% of our profits back to a charity. Right now, we’re doing it with conservation efforts and things like that. But also from just our sustainable business practices and how we go about negotiating the price points with the farmers and working directly with the farms. Number one, we don’t go through a broker because we have a relationship with the actual farms that we’ve either developed through partners that we’ve had or directly through relations that we’ve had with meeting with the farmers. And actually working with them and say “Okay, what is your ideal price point?” Right? And so they’re not subject to the market price of coffee because that’s fluctuating daily. It’s being traded daily [crosstalk 00:15:37]-
Scott: Explain the like volume coffee producer price versus the small lot?
Brad: Right, yeah. So I mean if coffee is trading at 90 cents or a dollar or whatever it is is there’s certain regions of the world that are able to produce a lot more quantity of coffee, things like that, that market price of coffee that makes it a little bit more sense. Also you have, again, being in finance, we’ve talked about this before, is there’s people that are trading coffee that have no idea of what’s happening in coffee and all those kinds of things, which we can get into in a later time. But yeah, is when you get into, number one, where we’re sourcing our coffee, it’s 18-1900 meters above sea level. So number one get up there is a big deal in and of itself. But number two is you have these micro lots. So you know, it’s just like going to the farmer’s market and if you buy tomatoes at the grocery store that are … I don’t know if you want to call it mass produce. I’m not a big, you know, in terms of produce, I’m not hugely educated in that. But just, you know, from my own assumptions is how that works is yeah, you’re going to pay a little bit more from the farmer at the farmer’s market. They grow it at a smaller micro lot. Same thing in coffee, right? So number one, you’re going a little bit further and a little bit more of a remote area, higher altitude, drier environment, all those kinds of things that you’re going to get a better experience, better bean, all those kinds of things. But also is, yeah, the number one distribution to get to coffee down, the burlap bags, all that. These guys that are swinging 150 pounds of coffee bags on their back, which is crazy to do that, but also, yeah, just the logistics standpoint is how do they run their business? So those are all aspects that we work through when working directly with the farmers.
Scott: Yeah. There’s a trade off of like you’re paying more per pound than maybe the market for the mass produced stuff and there’s extra distribution costs, but because you have this direct relationship, you’re cutting out maybe a layer of reseller and you’re actually able to stay in tune with the farmer. And so economically it makes sense for you guys too?
Brad: Right. It does, yeah. Economically it makes sense. Again, at the end of the day, we want to work through a for sure, genuine, pure win-win, right? So we want to make sure that our price point is at the price point that we can still sell at good margin, all that. So we can obviously money, be profitable, but also from the farmer’s standpoint is yeah, what’s the price point for them? But also, again, going back to my experience in finance, the futures revenue and all that, even though we don’t participate in the futures markets is we’re still in a sense looking at them when we’re working with the farmers. So when we work with the farmers is we’re working with them from a contractual basis. Okay, if we want 15 pallets or 20 pallets of coffee for the next six months or a year of this particular type of bean is we’re asking that and we’re working through that as this is what we’re gonna lock in this price. What is the price point that is a win win for both of us that we can negotiate? But also we’re going to lock in this price point for the next six months to a year contractually. So again, it’s a win win for everybody. We have our price points so we don’t change our prices in two months and they know that in nine months when they sell us that same coffee, it’s going to be the same price points so they can be sustainable.
Scott: And they can pay their employees and have a nice profit margin as well.
Brad: Exactly. And the employees sustainable for their families, all of that. Yeah.
Scott: How do you source like the Guatemalan farmer? Do you just through relationships, get to know people and then you find … Or is it a lucky shooting star and you will get lucky and find someone or how does it work?
Brad: It’s actually interesting. Yeah. So for this particular farm in Guatemala we just started working with and the reason that we chose this farm in Guatemala, again going back to we wanted to focus on getting people that aren’t into specialty coffee yet into specialty, doing a little bit more educated and giving them a different coffee experience so they don’t feel as intimidated to get into specialty coffee. So we focus on the Guatemalan bean first because we feel that the Central American, like I said before, is more balanced. So again, us, if you want to say it this way, us as Americans, like that bold kind of darker roast, even though we’re not darker roasting this, you know, we feel it’s more balanced for that. So when we sat down, it was a clear cut, favorite Guatemala is the first bean that we’re going carry. From there we went to okay, what are the relations we have in Guatemala, right? So my business partner, Chad Martin, he’s had a relationship with this farm and these producers for years. So the way that he kind of himself, similar to me, kind of fell in accidentally into coffee as he was doing these trips out to Guatemala because some of these mission trips and things like this in Central America. And started meeting with these coffee farmers, these producers. And back in 2005, 2006, 2007 so these producers, these farmers were giving him coffee beans and these were all beans and he was taking them back to the US in backpack suitcases, you know, straight bootleg and just coming here and just asking these roasters, you know, would you find value in this? Roast these up, see what you think. They’re like “Oh yeah, this is awesome. I would love this.”
Scott: It’s like they like “Of course, I will enjoy this delicious coffee.” Yeah. [crosstalk 00:20:38].
Brad: Exactly, right. So from there, he kind of started this whole partnership, this whole thing, this business around just doing that is connecting producers, farmers and roasters here in the United States. So that’s kind of his start with coffee. So that’s again, a long winded way of saying-
Scott: He’s your co founder. You guys are kind of doing it instead of being a connector, now you’re the real deal. You’re the ones buying it and doing all the roasting.
Brad: Exactly, right. Yeah. So he was still roasting himself with that partnership. But at the same time as a lot of what he was doing was helping roasters, helping different new entities kind of develop their directory program. Also with his experience with coffee in general and with retail and other kinds of things because he was helping them. You know, start with their experience almost as a consultant.
Scott: Yeah, that’s really cool.
Brad: Yeah.
Scott: And so you guys have been at it for six months. Talk a little bit about the people center strategy or coming off … I think it’s brilliant. You kind of offhandedly said it’s not about the brand or developing the brands, it’s about getting your coffee in people’s hands. But actually I think it’s an awesome way to develop the brand because I think I told you this, but like everyone at Kruze was like buzzing about your coffee. You know, people still talk about it. And like you just kind of walked in to say hi to everyone and they’re like “Oh wait, what’s up, Brad?” Like everyone remembered you. So why not have it be your kind of brand strategy and use as a way to connect people?
Brad: Yeah. You know, people ask me all the time, do we have coffee shops? Or where’s your shop at? Or where is your coffee company? And the answer is we’re not doing retail. Is that going to change in five or 10 years? Who knows? You know, we’ll see what happens. I’ve run a coffee shop before. Yeah, it’s sexy. It’s fun, it’s emotional. It’s fun to be part of the community. And I love all that stuff. But running a shop and running a retail environment is a much different story, you know, and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, our strategy is, you know, if I could talk from a business standpoint too, is you know from a business stand point is we look at okay, you know from our current revenue, we know if we focus on an office they’re going to have the same 500 or 1,000 or 20 people working in that office next month that they had this month. Unless they do massive layoffs or whatever it is, right? And also we look at, okay there’s roasters that are focusing on offices now and people in offices, they go to coffee shops on the weekends, they go out 2:30 in the afternoon and they go to different places at nine o’clock or eight o’clock in the morning. They’re enjoying better specialty … I wouldn’t say better, but they’re enjoying this kind of coffee that we’re roasting. But it’s sort of caught on, but it hasn’t necessarily caught on throughout the country in terms of offices and providing offices better coffee. But it’s interesting though, because offices are paying more for coffee and our price points are almost similar, if not the same, or they’re actually paying more than we’re charging because we’ve been able to fortunately keep our overhead low given that we’re not doing retail. So it’s been interesting. So it’s like when you come into an office and say “Hey, we’re doing “start an office coffee”, but we want you to try this. Let us know what you think.” They’re like “Wow, this is really good.” And I want to be humble and all that kind of stuff, but know there’s [crosstalk] again, we focus on the farm and all that kind of stuff too. But they’re like “Yeah, it’s really, really good coffee.” So we’re like “Yeah, we would love to help you guys out and you know, we want to focus on offices, get started.” So again, from a business standpoint, it helps us with that recurring revenue. You know, we have the same kind of order structure on a monthly basis bi-weekly basis, whatever that is, we can get a good roasting schedule. We can go back to the farmer and say this is what we … All that kind of good stuff from a business standpoint. So are we going to get into more direct to consumer kind of that wholesale, online, all that kind of good stuff? Absolutely, yes. But to focus on people’s centers at the beginning. What’s a better people center than an office?
Scott: Yeah, for sure. And I think also like kind of the partnership between … Like I just think of us, we want to be a progressive company and we have Wellness Wednesday and we try to do a lot for our team members. And they do a lot. Like they figure this kind of stuff out. So I think Hannah had found you or you found Hannah, but like-
Brad: I actually was sending out cold emails.
Scott: Oh, okay. [crosstalk]
Brad: You know, I connected with Hannah through [inaudible 00:24:47]. Actually just from a sales standpoint and just my background is I love doing that stuff and that’s what helped me. I had to be forced almost into sending out cold emails because I actually love cold calling. But I’ve learned over time it’s not as efficient to do, but some of my best contacts have been through cold calls and my best friend’s business relationship’s colleagues now head back to cold calling, so.
Scott: Like you coming in and doing like the whole presentation and tasting. It’s actually really nice for us. You know? It sends a message to our team that we’re not all about accounting and we are about the community and connecting with each other. So I think it makes sense like in so many different ways. I think it’s a really smart marketing strategy too.
Brad: Well, and the same thing with you guys too, is I love your culture that you’ve developed [crosstalk] from a content development standpoint like we talked about before is companies nowadays, and again for us, going into a B2C more kind of market is, you know … And [inaudible] now is doing training content, things like that, is content is key nowadays with social media and the ease of access to be able to do it. And you know, like we talked about before with just doing a podcast, you’re doing a blog, whatever it is, the ease of being able to do that nowadays is so, so prevalent and so there. So you know for you guys to be able to do that for us has just been awesome.
Scott: That’s awesome. I kind of want to go back just one more time because we’ve got only a few minutes here, but I really like what you’re doing going direct to the farmers. Like are there any life’s changed or cool stories you have from like your farming base? You know of like “Oh my gosh, I was having a trouble selling my coffee and now I have a flourishing farm” kind of situation?
Brad: Right. Being new with this venture, we haven’t yet. And also, you know, being that we kind of launched the company and kind of looked at what our business strategy is about six, seven, eight, nine months ago. We officially launched about six, seven months ago, like you said before. So we haven’t actually gone to origin yet, those kind of things as we launched this business partnership. But before though, in my previous venture, because we had a farm actually that we were working with in Kenya and we actually were able to through our process, a lot of money was going towards skilled trades and to educational developments in that regard. So that was really, really awesome. But also, you know, we’ve done a lot with my previous venture and hopefully soon as we start to see some of these fundraising opportunities come to fruition with giving 10% back and all that. But in my previous coffee venture as well is we’re able to do a lot within the community and within the Midwest in terms of refugee development centers, art programs for kids, things like that. So there’s a lot of good stories there.
Scott: The 10% back of profits back to the community is a really smart idea too because it just generates goodwill and generates word of mouth.
Brad: Well, nowadays like you know, too there’s B-corporations and there’s a lot more in that regard is I work for nonprofits. I’ve done all that. But you don’t have to actually have a B-corporation, have that label, that’s really awesome.
Scott: Yeah. It’s a social benefit type of label instead of like pure financial.
Brad: Yeah.
Scott: You’d be surprised how many companies email us asking about that. Like it really does happen quite a bit.
Brad: It’s corporate responsibility.
Scott: Yeah, it totally is. Can you, Brad, can you give … We got to wrap up, but can you give everyone like where they can find Roast Umber, how they get in touch with you? How do they buy something from you because the coffee is really good.
Brad: Awesome. Well thank you for the-
Scott: Shameless plug, but the coffee is actually really good.
Brad: Yeah, I appreciate that, Scott. That’s awesome. So yeah, you go to our website, You can find us there as well as we have some brunch spots, restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay area. But yeah, find us, contact us link. Be more than happy to, if you want to order a bag or else to service your office or your restaurant, more than happy to do that.
Scott: And I can testify the Kruze team was highly caffeinated and feeling very good and was talking about how much they love the coffee. They also were talking about how much they love the mission. That’s why we wanted to have you on the podcast, but I’ve seen 20 people super fired up about the Roast Umber coffee. So check it out at Thank you Brad. Really appreciate you coming by.
Brad: Thanks Scott. Appreciate it. [crosstalk]
Scott: Hope you enjoyed that episode of Founders and Friends podcast. Quick shout out to Brex, the first startup credit card. Brex is our sponsor and really appreciate their support. Brex has no personal guarantee for founders. That’s a really big deal. It integrates really nicely with QuickBooks. Great rewards that are startup centric. It’s a really nice little tool and we are seeing it all across the Kruze portfolio of clients. So check it out. And again, if you go through the signup flow and type in Kruze, you get a discount. So hopefully you’ll check out Brex. Thanks again for the support on the podcast, guys. Take care.

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