Hands full with coloured coffee berries.

Financing Almacena coffee platform: overcoming market barriers for a fairer future

February 21, 2023

Dimo Yanchev is CEO of Almacena Platform, a Dutch AgTech company that launched an online coffee marketplace, targeting the African market: “We enable sustainable and transparent supply chains with the goal to enrich the lives of coffee producers and consumers globally.” Invest International played an instrumental role at the start of Almacena by providing finance for the import of coffee and developing the platform, in line with the Agri-food strategy.

Coffee platform

“The idea came up when we found out supply chains for agricultural commodities like coffee, cocoa and tea are very long. There are a lot of intermediaries between the producer and end market. This creates a low price for producers, uncertainty about whether they will sell their products, and no possibility to stand out as a brand or build a relationship with buyers. Almacena is changing this model and helps producers overcome structural barriers to enable direct market access.”

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Men sitting on chairs at Coffee platform Almacena location.

Almacena is all about good quality coffee, creating a price advantage for coffee producers, development of relationships and a transparant value chain.

Transparant value chain

With their technology, Almacena creates connections between coffee producers and buyers which allows them to transact together. Dimo explains: “We have not just created an empty platform; we also provide all the elements in the chain: finance, logistics, storage, warehousing, insurance, shipping lines. We work with the same household names that are used by the best traders in the world. In this way we give producers the possibility to be an equal participant in international trade. And that makes them more visible in the end-market.”

Adding: “They get a mini webpage on our platform where they can showcase who they are, what they do and the products they have. At the other side of the chain, buyers can choose the coffee they like, ask for a sample and request a quote from a producer. They can order a few bags or full container loads. A ‘win-win’ for both sides. Good quality coffee, price advantage, development of relationships and a transparant value chain.”

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“Almacena changes the supply chain and helps producers overcome structural barriers to enable direct market access.”

Employment opportunities women

This kind of technology helps Almacena to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We work on addressing poverty and work towards decent work and economic growth goals, reducing inequalities and helping with responsible consumption. Producers on Almacena have been able to sell their product under their own brand to international buyers in US dollars and have gained 12 to 15 percent more compared to alternatives. In terms of gender equality, we actively promote women-only cooperatives and offer special rates of finance to stimulate professional employment opportunities for women.”

Financing Invest International

Invest International played an instrumental role at the start of Almacena by providing finance for the import of coffee and the development of its platform. Dimo recalls it wasn’t easy to find an investor: “Most financiers won’t give support until they see proof of success. Thankfully, we came across  Invest International who gave us the opportunity to showcase our model and make our first transactions, leading to the opportunity to develop the mobile application which is now Almacena Origin. For us, Invest International played a key role, was willing to take a risk and filled a gap.”

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Next fair steps

Looking ahead, Dimo sees more opportunities across other sectors: “We plan to build a global coffee marketplace in 2023 and enter into pilots in other verticals like cocoa by the end of the year. We want to expand to other regions too. The first new origin will be Colombia, to be opened this first quarter and we will follow up with other Central American origins. Next to expanding origins, we will be growing our presence in Europe and plan to approach the US market too. We have exciting technology developments that will further optimize the work of cooperatives and replace most of the paper processes from coffee cherry to exportable coffee.”

About Almacena Platform

Almacena Platform was founded by Dimo Yanchev and Karl Robijns, being an online B2B marketplace for agricultural products for both sellers and buyers. Since the launch in 2021 over 160 cooperatives with 300,000 farmers came onboard. Leading importers and roasters from 11 European countries are connected to the platform.

Almacena also has the AlmacenaOrigin app, a tool where the producers at origin can collect information about their farmers and the coffee that they purchase from them. With the collected data the end buyers of the coffee have full traceability to the single farmer who contributed to the production of the coffee beans. It is used in four African countries mapping data from over 18,000 smallholder coffee farmers.

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Anne Ligthelm Investment Manager
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