Fantine is the Pitch For Purpose competition Winner! The Colombian startup is creating a blockchain-enabled marketplace that delivers unprecedented levels of transparency to the coffee crop value chain.
Currently, even though there are widely varying levels of quality among beans, coffee is primarily bought and sold as a commodity crop—meaning its sale value is tied to international futures markets like the NYSE, and is not reflective of an individual farmer’s true costs of production.
This is a major problem for coffee growers, who experience widely varying agroclimatic conditions that can drastically affect their real costs on the ground, but who still remain bound as sellers to the pricing volatility of far-flung international commodities markets. This means farmers can be forced to sell their beans at a loss, which is unsustainable in many developing economies where crop subsidies and insurance are not as prevalent to help protect growers. Currently, coffee farmers earn on average less than 5% of the value that end-consumers pay for each cup of coffee—this is simply unfair, especially to the growers of the highest quality beans.
There is also a huge disparity today between the coffee crop commodity pricing index versus the consumer prices of a cappuccino in the rich world: while your specialty espresso brew is more expensive than ever, global market prices of Arabica coffee beans are at their lowest point in more than 15 years. As a consequence, more than 25 million coffee farmers are feeling the pricing pinch.
Founded by Laura Amado, Fantine is a Colombian startup allowing farmers to transact directly with roasters and buyers, as well as to set prices for their coffee beans based on their real production costs. Fantine’s blockchain-based marketplace offers a new pricing index that is fair, open, and auditable through data stored in the blockchain ledger. This empowers coffee growers to break free from the top-down speculative pricing of traditional commodities markets by connecting growers directly with roasters and buyers, as well as removes some of the import/export middlemen who create unnecessary costs and market complexities without adding real value to the consumer.
As a Colombian startup, Fantine is piloting their marketplace first in Colombia, where more than 500,000 farmers rely on coffee production as their livelihood. The need for this solution is critically important for Colombia in particular, where coffee is often the only viable crop option for rural people to escape the entrapments of illegal crop markets and guerilla groups.
Through Fantine, farmers and roasters are creating better value throughout the entire marketplace of the coffee industry, allowing consumers to feel better about guzzling their beloved caffeinated beverages, while simultaneously creating more equity and fairness for the growers in the value chain.
Congratulations to Founder Laura Amado and the Fantine team for winning the first ever 2019 Pitch For Purpose competition!
Fatine will receive up to three full fellowship for co-Founders to participate in any Founder Institute program worldwide, as well as personal Office Hours from top entrepreneurs across the Founder Institute global network.
Next, Fantine will also be invited to pitch onstage at their choice of upcoming technology conference event from our partner organization, 4YFN, in either Shanghai 2019; Los Angeles 2019; or Barcelona 2020.
* * *
Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.
See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey.