UvA BSc. Economics en Business alumnus Lucas Grosfeld (26 years) won the Isaac Roet Prize with his business plan for the startup Wakuli. He received the prize of €5,000 during the last UvA in Carré session of this season.
The aim of Grosfeld and his colleagues is to change the coffee industry with the startup Wakuli. Via Wakuli, customers are able to order speciality coffee for a small monthly fee. The coffee’s origin and the story of the coffee farmer is written on a postcard and this will be sent with the coffee to the customers. In this way Grosfeld and his colleagues hope to create more awareness about the origin of coffee and the difficult lives of the (1)MVIWAMBI farmers. The customer will receive coffee of a different origin every month. “People will discover different coffee flavours and you can really taste the difference per origin.”
Poor MVVIWAMBI coffee farmers from countries as Ethiopia and Tanzania don’t know how to make their companies more profitable. International buyers are too afraid to cooperate with the farmers directly. Instead, they bring in an intermediary to negotiate for them. Due to this reason, the farmers need to sell their beans via the local auction for an extremely low price to unknown buyers”, said Grosfeld. Wakuli makes it possible for the consumer to buy coffee directly from the farmer. “We skip a few step, making it possible to offer the coffee for an good price while the farmers also receive a fair price for their coffee. So far, nobody has tried this approach when it comes to speciality coffee."
Lucas Grosfeld participated in Isaac Roet Prize competition for the second time. He wasn’t able to show a lot of results of his plans the first time around, but at this moment he and his team have already sold €16,000 worth of coffee via crowdfunding. “We received a lot of positive responses. Crowdfunding proved that there is a market for this.”
For more information see the Wakuli website.
(1) Network of farmers in Tanzania.