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Chye Seng Huat Hardware founder’s coffee tech firm raises US$1.27M in pre-Series A led by Razer

morning coffee machine

Coffee technology company Morning has recently closed its pre-Series A funding round at US$1.27 million led by zVentures, the corporate venture arm of Razer.

Other notable investors include Singapore-based F&B group The Lo & Behold Group as well as founders of Zendesk-acquired award-winning chat widget, Zopim.

According to the company, this new injection of funds will go towards strengthening its international expansion.

“We’re very excited to have Razer onboard. Both Morning and Razer share a vision for using technology to enable and elevate experiences, and a deep respect for sustainability and environment. We endeavour to draw from Razer’s expertise in hardware and technology to refine and perfect the Morning Machine and ecosystem for our customers,” said Leon Foo, co-founder of Morning.

“zVentures identifies early- stage startups that lend value to the Razer ecosystem and helps nurture them into brands that our customers will appreciate. Coffee is a big part of our everyday lives and we believe that Morning raises the bar for home coffee appreciation through the strategic application of technology,” added Cho Weihao, Investment Director at Razer.



A successful Kickstarter project

Leon Foo and Andre Chanco, co-founders of Morning
Leon Foo (left) and Andre Chanco (right), co-founders of Morning / Image Credit: Morning

Morning was founded by Leon Foo and Andre Chanco back in 2018.

Prior to Morning, Foo is already a veteran in the coffee industry and has been running his own coffee empire. He is the man behind cafes like Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Papa Palheta, and his company also purveys, roasts and distributes coffee in Singapore and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Chanco kickstarted his journey with coffee by learning the ropes at Papa Palheta. He returned to Manila in 2013 to open pioneering specialty roaster called Yardstick Coffee.

The duo came together and wanted to turn the spotlight on the coffee capsule landscape to prove that convenience and quality can coexist.

They went on to launch an online marketplace featuring coffee capsules from the world’s most celebrated specialty coffee roasters.

The market demand for coffee capsules is expected to grow beyond US$41 billion by 2021. Alongside a boom in artisanal coffee, we noticed that specialty coffee roasters are increasingly putting their coffees into capsules.

While roasters usually specialise in selling beans to cafes in a B2B forma, capsules — which follows a B2C retail model — are a very different market. It can be logistically challenging for coffee lovers to locate and purchase these elusive capsules. Hence, we saw the opportunity to create the Morning Marketplace to aggregate capsules in one place.

– Andre Chanco, co-founder of Morning

Foo added that capsules are also much easier to work with compared to whole bean coffee. They travel better, have a much longer shelf life, and they also allow roasters to have control over parameters such as grind size and grammage.

They later created the Morning Machine, which is a specialty coffee capsule machine that uses precision-brewing technology and IoT capabilities to elevate the home brewing experience.

Control settings on Morning’s app / Image Credit: Morning

This means that partner roasters can easily set precise recipes and brew ratios.

Morning Machine was first introduced on Kickstarter last year, which quickly reached its fundraising targets in 48 hours.

It subsequently sold out its first production run of 1,000 units within six months and have accumulated another 1,300 units in back orders for their second production run arriving in August. 

In addition, they have also secured distributors in countries like Hong Kong, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Morning’s future plans

The founders said that their long-term vision for Morning is for it to become the go-to brand for all things home coffee brewing.

“Whether it is to shop for the latest coffees and accessories or to learn how to make better coffee at home, Morning should be the trusted brand or resource.”

They also have plans to develop additional hardware or peripherals to complement the Morning ecosystem, as well as existing users and roasters.

Capsule selection on Morning Marketplace / Image Credit: Morning

They are also looking at beefing up their curated selection of coffees and roasters on the Morning Marketplace, and exploring collaborations with bigger lifestyle and hospitality brands.

Ultimately, they also want to venture into retail distribution across the world.

Featured Image Credit: Morning

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