• Sustainable food tech startup Cupffee has secured new funding totaling €1.8M through a €500,000 pre-seed round led by Eleven Ventures, the early-stage venture capital with investments in more than 150 visionary startups in SEE, aand a grant of €1.3 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC).
• Since our last contact with the base, “the biodegradable cup that you can eat” has built strong partnerships with major coffee brands such as Lavazza, opening the Cupffee experience to 19 countries and high-profile events like Wimbledon, even reaching the hand of Queen Elizabeth II according to the startup.
• The new funding aims to propel the company to global leadership in the production and marketing of edible cups and stirrers.
The world of food tech startups is fascinating in its ability to influence what is on our plates and thus enter into one of our most intimate and pleasant human experiences.
Cupffee takes an exciting time of day, enjoying a cup of coffee, and aims to elevate it, especially for the environmentally conscious coffee drinker who wants to reduce their resources and carbon footprint. The cups are made from all-natural ingredients, primarily grains, making them not only completely biodegradable, but also edible. And coffee is just the beginning: the cup has already been used successfully for breakfast and desserts.
In this way, Cupffee offers a smart circular economy solution as an alternative to traditional plastic and paper cups, which contributes to minimizing waste from disposable packaging in the coffee and HoReCa industries. The company holds a patent for the production technology of the edible coffee cup.
From homemade to 2.5 million cups per month
The edible coffee cup is now produced via a fully automated and digitized system, at the company’s factory in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, an industrial hub in the Balkans. However, it was born in the founder’s family oven.
“During my school days, I was extremely aware of the plastic waste generated daily by all the cafes in my hometown. This prompted a crucial question: what if I could replace these disposable coffee cups with a sustainable, edible alternative? That’s when the idea for Cupffee was born. Years of tweaking the recipe, baking cups in my own oven at home, and assembling prototype machines from scratch before finally creating the biodegradable coffee cup that doesn’t leak, stays crisp, and can be enjoyed as a snack,” explains Miroslav Zaprianovfounder and CEO of Cupffee.
Today, Cupffee has a production capacity of 2.5 million cups per month and is committed to green manufacturing practices that avoid pollution and industrial waste. Any excess material is used in the production of agitators.
Through its distribution partners, the company has reached global customers in the EU, Middle East, USA and Australia. The partnership with Lavazza has seen them attend events such as Wimbledon, as well as taking part in Etihad Airways’ first ever plastic-free flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane on Earth Day.
“Cupffee fits very well with our investment thesis on the future of food, which has recently evolved into sustainable food solutions. Furthermore, Cupffee is one of those rare startups that have managed to go beyond laboratory experiments and the artisanal workshop and to develop a real industrial process and production,” says Ivaylo Simovmanaging partner at Eleven.
Harnessing the future of food and packaging
This new financing will fuel the company’s growth strategy, which is based on three pillars:
• Strengthen its presence in current markets to ensure that a wider audience has access to the sustainable coffee cup solution;
• Strengthen the sales and marketing team to promote the brand’s sustainable vision and increase customer engagement;
• Raise awareness of ecological alternatives and encourage the adoption of greener practices in the food industry.
Additionally, the EIC grant, awarded as a “Seal of Excellence” under the Reconstruction and Sustainability Plan, aims to further fund technological innovations and business improvements.