Frozen coffee startup Cometeer raises $35M Series B and launches its product in earnest

Gloucester, Massachusetts-based Cometeer has been around for nine years. In that time, the company has built up a mad scientist’s lair worth of coffee scientists, equipment and processes to jolt some fresh life into the industry. Based out of a former frozen seafood facility, the company has created a multimillion-dollar proprietary production line to turn beans into flash-frozen little “pucks”, sealed in capsules to keep their flavor intact. The 10x strength brew is then ready to use.

Pick beans. Roast them. Grind them. Add water. Drink. Coffee really doesn’t have to be complicated, but every year a dozen new startups come jittering along to try to find new and innovative ways to inject some flavor and caffeine into the drab, meaningless existence of a technology journalist. Most of those startups are safely ignored, because the vast majority of them will be gone by the time you think of writing a “where are they now” round-up at the end of the year. Still, when a fistful of investors pump a total of $100 million into an upstart, you’d best believe that even the most under-caffeinated reporter begrudgingly shoves some toothpicks to prop open their eyelids, and pays attention.

The previous round was $50 million, closing in April of 2020. In the current round of financing, the company harvested $35 million from D1 Capital, Elephant, Tao Capital, Addition Ventures, Avenir, Greycroft Partners and TQ Ventures, along with a number of coffee-expert angel investors. The company declined to disclose the valuation of the funding round.

To brew the pods, you “melt” the puck by dropping it in a cup of hot or cold water, wait a bit, and you’ve got a fresh cup of joe on the go. The only thing you need is some water, and a way of heating the water, if it’s hot coffee your little heart desires. The capsules stay fresh for up to three years if you keep them in the freezer, and will survive for about three days in the refrigerator.

Frozen Cometeer Capsule

The Cometeer capsules are flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen to preserve the flavor. In your freezer, they stay fresh for about three years. Image Credits: Cometeer

As for the coffee itself, the magic starts with the beans:

“Our roasting partners are the backbone of Cometeer. Equally as important as superior tasting roasts, considerations amongst our roasters is their support of coffee farmers, and commitment to direct trade purchasing at equitable prices multiple times the fair trade minimum,” explains Cometeer’s co-founder and CEO Matt Roberts. “We are focused on building out a diverse group of roasting partners with unique backgrounds, sourcing techniques and roasting styles. Alongside these partners, we look to support the de-commoditization of the coffee industry.”

Cometeer has seen extreme growth over the past couple of years, growing from 12 to 120 employees since its previous round of funding. For now, the company is focusing on its direct-to-consumer play.

“While we are focused on direct to consumer right now, we are trialing on-premise with George Howell’s café in Boston and are piloting B2B coffee solutions with focus on corporate gifting,” explains Roberts.

The company shut down its wait-list today, making the coffee available for anyone who has a credit card and a hankering for a new frontier in Java technology. The capsules are two-buck-pucks, with a price tag of around $2.00 each — the base shipment is 32 capsules for $64.

Update: An earlier caption suggested that the capsules stay fresh for 3 months. That was a typo, and has been corrected to the correct freshness duration: 3 years.