In August last year, local coffee technology company Sabah announced that it had closed a US $ 1.27 million pre-series A funding round, led by zVentures, Razer’s investment arm.
Then last month he announced that he had raised another $ 5 million in a first-round run led by East Ventures.
Other notable investors in the round include zVentures, P9 Capital and Wee Teng Wen of Lo & Behold Group.
According to Morning, it will use the fund on two fronts – to develop and diversify its product offerings, and to expand its global presence.
Morning has grown and expanded its presence from Singapore and Southeast Asia to the UK, with plans to continue its global expansion over the next 12-18 months.
Meet the founders of Morning
Morning was first founded in 2018 by Leon Foo and Andre Chanco.
Before Morning, Leon was already a veteran of the coffee industry and also managed his own coffee empire. The Nanyang University of Technology (NTU) graduate is the man behind coffee shops such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware and PPP Coffee (formerly Papa Palheta), as well as Stellar-M, which imports pioneering coffee machines and equipment such as Syneso and Baratza.
Meanwhile, Chanco began his journey with coffee by learning the ropes at PPP Coffee. He returned to Manila in 2013 to open a groundbreaking specialist grill called Yardstick Coffee.
The duo came together and wanted to highlight the coffee capsule scene to prove that comfort and quality can coexist. This prompted them to launch an online market of coffee capsules from the world’s most famous specialty coffee roasters.
We put together our grills and coffee to ensure there is variety and variety, giving customers access to grills halfway around the world and vice versa. For example, the Korean braai we went on board was a huge success in Singapore, a market where it has not even existed until now.
Connections like these make us incredibly excited as we strive to continue to search the world for the best we can offer our community.
– Leon Fu, co-founder of Morning
However, Andre has since resigned from his post as co-founder to focus on his other personal efforts.
After leaving, 31-year-old Bowen Chiu – who has been on the Morning Show since day one – joined the company as co-founder.
Leon first met Bowen, who ran his family’s manufacturing business and took on high-profile precision coffee equipment projects such as Acacia and Heroya, while meeting potential manufacturers in Taiwan.
Bowen was so moved by Leon’s vision and unique business proposal that he finally decided to go on his journey with him.
Revolution in the coffee industry
Morning is essentially a coffee technology ecosystem that combines a market for the world’s best specialty coffee capsules with a coffee machine called the Morning Machine, which contains precision brewing.
In 2018, it raised an initial round of US $ 2.2 million to begin the design, development and production process.
Leon shared more about the development process and said they used features of professional coffee equipment to equip the morning machine with a wider range of brewing parameters – from temperature accuracy and weight output calibration to pressure determination.
“At the same time, we realized that the average coffee capsule drinker would not be interested in manipulating all these variables. [As such]The Morning Machine is equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) technology to take advantage of a repository of recipes designed for the fryer via the Morning mobile app that lets you brew high quality coffee with the touch of a tablet . ”
Currently, the application serves as a repository of more than 1,000 toaster recipes developed by their community of 60 pioneers of coffee roasters. In the next few months, however, users will also be able to discover and buy coffee from the app themselves.
In recent years we have seen an increase in the demand for convenient disposable coffees. Many specialty burners have responded to this trend by putting their high-quality coffee in capsules, but no capsule machine has ever done so.
We wanted to build an ecosystem that offers convenience without compromising, but that can also connect our user to the amazing community of specialty coffee roasters around the world. Enables customers to discover and enjoy new coffee, while at the same time providing toasters with the ability to order recipes from anywhere in the world at a customer’s machine.
– Leon Fu, co-founder of Morning
That’s how they came up with the idea for the Morning Machine. Interestingly, it was first launched as a Kickstarter project in 2020, quickly achieving fundraising goals in just 48 hours. Their goal was S $ 80,000, and they ended up raising more than 2.5 times that amount.
“The Morning Machine was a first of its kind and there were so many new features and technologies that went into it that we felt the Kickstarter audience would really appreciate it. It also gave us the opportunity to recruit those early contractors who were incredibly passionate about giving us feedback to improve, ”Leon shared.
“When we first installed the machines, we organized a virtual event called ‘Baker Breakfast’ where we met and drank capsules with some of our fans around the world. It was an incredible experience and I am so grateful for their support. ”
Since its official launch in mid-2021, the brand has sold 4,000 IoT-equipped morning machines in nearly 30 countries. Last year, it also won a Red Dot Product Design Award, as well as launching a limited edition machine color in partnership with local design brand Beyond The Vines.
Overcome business challenges
According to Lyon, one of the biggest business challenges is navigating the logistics and supply chain space in the post-pandemic era.
However, with the steady growth of his team and their accumulated experience, they have since built up trust with their suppliers and are able to anticipate and adapt to changing developments.
“From the public’s perspective, the pandemic has helped make us more relevant. Global home coffee consumption has increased exponentially and customers are increasingly investing in better home coffee solutions, and we have certainly benefited from this behavior. ”
In addition, fundraising was also a constant challenge in the morning.
“[It’s hard to find] The right suitable investor for an ecosystem business model with ambitions as global as ours. We were incredibly fortunate to have Razer, one of the world’s leading brands of modern gaming consoles, and East Ventures, one of the largest venture capital funds in Asia, sharing our vision as key investors. ”
Despite these challenges, Leon remains optimistic about Singapore’s coffee scene, describing it as “extremely lively” and “active”.
As it is a bustling cosmopolitan city, quality coffee is a staple in the ordinary Singapore lifestyle. Every Singapore strives to be a homeowner and every home needs a coffee machine – which really allowed us to find an audience here in our local market. However, this same behavior is constantly present all over the world, which we keep in mind.
– Leon Fu, co-founder of Morning
Its ultimate goal is to make Morning a household name, creating a “global ecosystem” that makes the best coffee accessible to a wider community and stimulates interest and appreciation for specialty coffees and grills.
Photo credit on display: Morning