Helping marginalized coffee farmers to access higher incomes in Peru
Initially, the co-founders of Cafe Compadre took an engineering approach to help marginalized coffee farmers access higher incomes in Peru. With their technical background, José Uechi and Juan Pablo Pérez developed a solar-powered coffee roaster to help coffee farmers take greater ownership of the coffee production process. By equipping farmers to roast their coffee beans, farmers would be able to access the higher prices that are paid for roasted coffee versus parchment coffee.
As the enterprise grew its customer base, its business model evolved. Compadre started to purchase raw coffee beans in addition to the roasted coffee produced using its solar stations in order to meet the demand that exceeds its solar capabilities at the moment. Through this model, Compadre is able to pay its farmers at least 40-70% higher than the average price paid to farmers by traditional commercial coffee buyers. Compadre has built a direct-to-consumer brand that is responsible for 80% of its sales.
As part of the portfolio, NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will support Compadre with its sola tech, ensuring increased incomes for suppliers, and improving its business tech infrastructure.
Café Compadre joined the NESsT portfolio in 2016 and was incubated as a start-up by UTEC Ventures, a prestigious program from the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC).
NESsT originally invested in Café Compadre to support its growth as it sought to validate its technology and business model. In its first year in the portfolio, NESsT supported Café Compadre in the technical and functional validation of its coffee roaster. NESsT also advised the enterprise on the design and execution of its business model. Café Compadre decided that it would develop and manage the entire value chain of the coffee; from purchasing the roasted coffee beans from the farmers to processing to packaging to sales. This resulted in higher margins which it could then pass onto the coffee producers.