Atomo, the Seattle startup that re-creates coffee on a molecular level, announced today that it has raised a $9 million in seed funding from S2G Ventures, AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners and existing investor Horizons Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by Atomo to $11.6 million.
While Atomo’s molecular coffee was started in a lab, it certainly isn’t lab-made coffee. The company’s formula uses a combination of upcycled (vegan) ingredients that go through various biochemical and thermal processes to recreate the look, taste, smell and mouthfeel of coffee. The result, according to Atomo, is a smoother coffee that is less bitter.
In addition to the funding itself is what the funding will go towards. Atomo is building out a pilot production facility in Seattle that when opened in 2021 will be capable of producing thousands of servings of its coffee per day.
There are three phases on Atomo’s roadmap. The first phase, which the new facility will be producing, is a concentrate that will be used in ready-to-drink cans of Atomo cold brew coffee . The second phase involves using the concentrate as well as a grounds product in something like a Keurig style cup. The final phase will be using 3D printing to create an Atomo “bean” that could be used in grinders.
Atomo isn’t the only company looking to recreate drinks on a molecular level. Endless West makes whiskey, wines and sake spirits by deconstructing the originals and reassembling them.
The coffee industry is getting pinched from both ends during this pandemic. The virus is impacting the labor force in places like Brazil from being able to pick beans, and it is causing shut downs of cafes, which are big buyers of coffee. Just as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat could potentially bring stability to production of (plant-based) “meat” that avoids the wild swings of pandemics, the Atomo’s production capablities could potentially do the same for coffee.
We’ll have to see what the company brews up next.