2018: A Summary of a Year
Whew what a huge year! What can we say, there have been ups and downs, successes and failures, new faces, new products, and saying goodbye to some old ways. At times it looked grim -- and whilst we still love being the star of the show over at Reddit -- at the end of it, we're so proud to have received another round of investment and to be back in production. We are absolutely still here, in better shape than we've ever been, and already geared up and ready for 2019 to reap some of the fruits of all our work behind the scenes! We know it's taken 5 years to be here, we're well aware of the outstanding machines to supply to backers, but the last couple of months have had incredible traction towards getting more shipments in.
First off, the Acid test. We built a new team! 2018 started with a tiny group of 5 people -- these were the fresh start after near bankruptcy in 2017. Today we've exceeded 20 (or is it 25, who can keep track these days)! We've grown not just in terms of core operations, and by bringing our marketing team in-house; but most excitingly a wickedly fast-paced tech development team (which btw, at the beginning of the year had zero staff working on development), in addition to a bourgeoning customer support department. Look out 2019!
You may also have noticed (for better or worse) that Bonaverde has largely consolidated our development by focusing solely on Europe -- our back door -- for the latter part of 2018. Why? We want to glean learnings here, see what works and what doesn't (unlike last time's scatter-gun approach), to make sure we do and develop things right without spreading our limited resources too thin. It primes us better before we start implementing and rolling out some serious effort back again greater Europe and perhaps even State-side.
So to all our American & Canadian supporters in particular -- we are incredibly indebted to you for your continued patience, great things are on their way!
It's always weird looking back on old memories, and we've surprised even ourselves how much we've changed and accomplished in one year. So thanks to you all for staying with us this long, and here's a recap we'd like to share:
Product New & Updated:
- The manner in which we provided the coffee -- the packaging evolved from 250g bags to single-portion pouches. Seems minor, but the number of customer support issues arising due to blocked grinders all but disappeared after their introduction.
- Whilst we got a couple of new coffee varieties in the lineup (Flor de Corazon), we also sold out of a couple stalwarts too (*sigh* so I guess we'll just have to go find some more!)
- We did a project with Ocean College, i.e. getting stuck into the supply chain first hand. Oh and getting some kids half way around the world on a sail boat to learn about and hand pick a harvest of coffee in Costa Rica, before bringing it back to Europe to present to our Coffee Changers.
- We expanded our selection of roast profiles (currently printed on custom cards, but soon to be part of the myBonaverde app)
- We now ship all the coffee (and swag) in our OriginsBox, which we think is much better (both aesthetically and cost-wise).
- And on the subject of shipping coffee -- we're also offering pre-roasted coffee (aka Roasters We Salute You), featuring collaborations with some of Europe's most acclaimed coffee roasteries.
- We woke up in the middle of the night and realised we'd forgotten that we're as much (if not more) a company, a coffee company at that, trying to change an industry -- not just a hardware company with a mission. In fact, we became aware there was NO WAY we would be able to achieve our vision to disrupt the global supply of COFFEE, by selling just a MACHINE. So we said goodbye to "selling" static products, which at first developed into a basic subscription model, and as of today is now a full membership community: the Coffee Changer Membership
- A year of experimenting and learning what business and revenue model works well for us. We've studied both B2B and B2C to find the sweet spot where our products, services and communities flourish -- turns out it's a bit of both (with some caveats!)
- But we haven't forgotten the machine: we've developed an upgraded UX Berlin machine, which at the time of writing this, the new v1.1 Berlins are rounding the Iberian Peninsular on their way to us in Germany. By the time you read this lengthy report -- they've probably landed and are in our logistics centre in Kölln.
- As such, we've been trying really hard to fulfil more of our crowdsourcing pledges: so whilst we've got more machines arriving for them, we also had a 'buyback campaign' wherein we offered to buy back some machines from Backers, resource and georgraphy permitting so we could get these to backers without machines before our new v1.1 models arrive.
New Branding & Marketing Efforts
- A new website -- the culmination of a new look which makes us look and feel a little less like Apple-wannabees, and more like the Delorian!
- We're importantly trying to give a little more visibility, transparency and milestones to our backers and investors. We've now got open letters, regular CRM mailouts (and we've only been threatened to be sued under GDPR once!), and a new Pitch Deck!
- Humanising Bonaverde a little more, with some vlogs and some cultural building (for instance, there's not just coffee in our OriginsBoxes anymore)
- Upping our Blog Content output (Hi mum!), not only for new product updates, but building a platform for 2019 to bring us back into discussing the world of coffee, sustainability, culture, and startup life!
- The Advent_ure Calendar, which was/is a lovely seasonal mix of community building, new product launches and CRM -- engaging more with those people who have supported us throughout the years, and a pilot run for what probably turn into our "onboarding" care pack for first time Coffee Changers.
Events & Catering:
We engaged a lot more with our greater community, as well as reaching out to our backers. Whilst we put on open events to come network, socialise and put faces to names, we also put a lot of focus into some big events:
- NKF (twice)
- Seattle Coffee Expo
Things to look forward to in 2019
- Bringing Logistics in-house -- oosh can anyone say getting your coffee (and answers) quicker?!
- Engaging and collaborating more and more with new and old farmers around the world. Let's sign a petition to get. Kike. To. Cuba!
- Finishing our myBonaverde app (it's in Beta, but you can read our tech development roadmap too)
- Expanding our pilot run of the Coffee Changer Membership into Europe, and dare we say building towards implementing something similar in America.