Kaffelogic is a Dunedin based business that manufactures benchtop coffee roasters for both the consumer and professional markets. They employ three fulltime staff and a contract manufacturer who employs an additional four staff. We asked founder John Robson a few questions to find out how Kaffelogic has been tracking since completing Soda's LIFT programme in 2020.

How did Soda help Kaffelogic grow?

Soda brought attention to our marketing problems that we were facing at the time. Our mentor, Andrea Hammond, brought another level of professionalism to our business. It was a great help overall.

What are your biggest business achievements?

Firstly, breaking into international markets this year. We have gone from selling mainly in New Zealand and Australia to now selling to 20 countries around the world. Secondly, we secured a major investment from a local Christchurch investor who is now a director and shareholder.

Has your Kaffelogic changed or grown since working with Soda?

Focusing on where we needed to dedicate our efforts and the importance of finding investment led to us securing A round funding in June 2021. This has now given us sufficient funding to provide us with a two-year runway to do the things we need to do.

How did Covid affect your business?

Whilst Covid prevented us visiting our markets, it actually gave us time to build stronger business. Covid also brought more focus to products like ours (roasting coffee at home), so we believe demand has increased as a result.

Where do you see Kaffelogic in five or ten-years’ time?

A market leading global brand in our category with several additional models and the software side of the business being a big part of our sales revenue. Introducing technology into our category is a big opportunity.

What has been your biggest challenge as a business founder?

Investment, without doubt!

Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?

If you have a product or service idea, make sure you prove and validate that it is suitable for your target market. New Zealand and Australia markets are ideal proving grounds, so start small but think big. Surround yourself with experts and listen to them. Work out your brand proposition but tailor this towards your first target market, as your brand proposition will change as you move from one market to another. And finally, adopt a ‘beach head’ philosophy to building your market base. Your ‘beach head’ should be the most accessible market you can attack and become the market leader within this sector. Use this market sector to then attack other markets that are influenced by your beach head market, and so on.

Outside of work, how do you relax or what do you enjoy doing?

Drinking coffee with my partner! Mountain biking, relaxing walks and travel (local at the moment). I have recently taken up furniture restoration as a hobby which I find very relaxing. Bringing something old and tired back to life is so satisfying!

Image: John Robson, Kaffelogic director and co-founder (pictured left) with Chris Hilder, CEO and co-founder with their benchtop coffee roaster.