Running out of coffee at home can be a real pain. I remember waking up one Saturday morning and the coffee jar was empty so I had to go out to a local corner shop and buy a sub-standard, overpriced bag of big-brand coffee. I’d known for a while that coffee tastes better when it is freshly roasted and that coffee in the supermarket has often been sat on the shelves for months going stale.
I was thinking at the time about what new business to start. My business partner and I had made the tough decision to sell Crashpadder to a San Francisco rival that was dominating the market and doing it better. My wife gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. She told me not to think like an investor but to focus on something I really love. For me nothing beats a coffee made with good quality, freshly roasted beans. A lot of people are only just waking up to this – the boom in the speciality coffee scene is testament to that. And yet we still have over 60% of the UK population drinking nasty instant coffee.
I started Pact from my kitchen in September 2012 to solve this problem. I set out building a website, Tweeting a lot and grinding, packing and shipping every single bag of coffee. I drew the logos on in felt tip, sealed the bags with hair straighteners and queued up at my local post office to send them out.
When you are working on something you are passionate about it helps you focus. Pact was, and still is, driven by a passion and love of coffee, of flavour, of delighting customers. Initially I saw Pact as a way for people to never to run out of coffee but I soon realised the greater opportunity is in helping people to upgrade. We want everyone to start drinking a better cup of coffee.
I’ve been lucky enough to find investors that share that vision – the likes of MMC Ventures, Connect Ventures, Active LLP, Taavet Hinrikus, Ian Hogarth, Robin Klein and Rowan Gormley. MMC Ventures supported our Series A round of £2 million last summer and since then we have been able to accelerate growth and bring more people to our fantastic team.
Things are going well. We are working really hard to create a completely flexible and frictionless experience that can adapt to anyone’s personal coffee drinking habit. We take the time to understand how often they need a shipment and make it easy to pause deliveries, manually change shipment dates or ASAP coffee to arrive the next day.
We are sourcing some of the best coffee from amazing farmers around the world, paying them a fair rate and delivering it freshly roasted right to people’s doors across the UK. Just thinking of the smiles we generate from that first taste make it a very rewarding job.