Amsterdam-based Kumasi Drinks, a soft drink company that prevents food waste and fights poverty, announced on Thursday that it has raised an undisclosed amount in a Seed round of funding.
Unknown Group founders Edward de Jager and Hendrik Halbe invested in the Dutch startup through Impact Tech Ventures, an investment fund that has received the Seed Capital facility of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, de Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RvO). RvO is a government agency which operates under the supervision of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
Unknown Group’s emphasis on impact measurement and global reach excited Kumasi Drinks co-founder Lars Gierveld. He stated, “We’re thrilled to have a professional investor like Unknown join the Kumasi movement!”
How was Kumasi born?
Three people conceived the idea for Kumasi Drinks while filming a TV show in Ghana’s Ashanti region in 2022. The name of the company comes from the city of Kumasi, which is located in Ghana.
The small number of companies that control the vast majority of the cocoa market set the rules for the sector. The cocoa farmers who depend on sales are impoverished because they only receive a small percentage of their sales. Farmers are only able to receive a larger portion if they work with multiple middlemen in their supply chain. Consequently, Schultz realized that many farmers lived in poverty and were essentially controlled by these large corporations.
To change the common situation of lacking access to cocoa fruit juice, Kumasi Drinks was founded. They started by gathering juice from nearby cocoa fruit along with a group of farmers from the Ashanti region’s capital of Kumasi.
Kumasi Drinks sold their beverages to over 1000 locations in six different countries within two years of their initial sale in January 2021.
The Netherlands has agreements with both Albert Heijn — a leading grocery store — and Hema, a department store, to sell Kumasi beverages.
Rogier Powers, one of the company’s co-founders, stated that retailers are looking to make their catalogs more aligned with their customers’ mindset and values. Powers added that many retailers have contacted them since DrinkBox was launched with the desire to include healthy drinks that are also environmentally friendly.
Kumasi Drinks – less food waste, less income waste
The cocoa fruit’s juicy middle tastes like a mixture of mango, white peaches and lychees. Although the chocolate industry is interested in the cocoa plant’s seeds, or cocoa beans, the industry, it’s healthy and delicious.
Kumasi claims it develops a range of healthy, delicious and natural soft drinks. These contain no additives and are made purely from water and juice. There are two varieties: Sappi, which is a quencher, and Gassi, which is tantalizing. Both juices contain magnesium, zinc, potassium and Vitamin B1. Additionally, extra cocoa juice is used to create these drinks.
By working with a technical partner in Ghana, the company immediately pays extra income to cocoa farmers. This is because they purchase juice from the farmers using the byproducts of their cocoa producing process— pulp and juice — that they would have typically discarded.
Kumasi Drinks co-founder Rogier Power says the company will use the raised funds to expand their international presence and develop additional products in line with their company ethos. ‘We have a lot of ideas on how we can help more farmers and grow our product range,’ said Power.
With the funds from Kuma Capital, Kumasi will open a specialty drinks bar at Titaan, Unknown Group’s new innovation hub. Titaan is an 13,000 m² hub scheduled to open in early 2023 that will house startups and scale-ups dedicated to creating a better world.