Founded in 2020 by Costa Rican-born entrepreneur Maricel Saenz, Compound Foods is a foodtech that is revolutionizing the coffee production industry. After seeing how climate change was affecting coffee production around the world, Saenz decided to look into sustainable ways of creating the same product.
“Temperatures are rising and, combined with erratic rains, are leading to lower crop yield,” said Saenz. “The same crop can’t grow in the same place anymore, or it will be a lower quality product. Farmers in Costa Rica are having to sell their land or go higher up the mountain. Experts predict that 50% of farmland will be unsuitable in the next couple of decades.”
Coffee is the fifth-most polluting crop, requiring 140 liters of water along the coffee growth chain to produce one cup of coffee. With her background in biotechnology – having co-founded and led a biotech business previously –, Saenz and her team discovered a way to use synthetic biology to create coffee without the beans.
“We simply recreate what happens at the coffee farm in the lab — through food science and fermentation technology, we use sustainably grown microbes to produce a coffee with sweeter tones, brighter acidity, and more nuanced aromas than anything on store shelves today,” said Saenz in the company’s blog.
With the new funding, Compound Foods aims to improve the formulation and scale up the brand as the company works toward a soft launch by the end of the year. The company is also hiring coffee lovers to help build out its technology and to expand its marketing, product, and business teams.
We recently invested in Compound Foods and are excited to continue supporting Saenz in this new venture as we have in the past.
“It’s undeniable that the world is experiencing the serious consequences of the way we’ve been consuming. Maricel and her team are helping to break that cycle with Compound Foods. We’re excited to support Maricel and her team to help build a cleaner, more sustainable future for coffee,” said Nathan Lustig, Managing Partner at Magma Partners.