Progeny is an artisanal coffee company offering single-origin coffee grown in Colombia and roasted in Berkeley, California. By working directly with 40 family-run farms, Progeny cuts out the middleman, doubling the income our farmers earn for their beans. I’m proud of the coffee we offer our customers, and I’m proud of the price we offer our suppliers. Along with a higher rate, we offer fixed pricing to farmers, who otherwise get caught in a fluctuating commodities market. We assume the risk, and they can focus on farming, which is what they do best. At Progeny, we offer free consulting to our farmers on their methods, and we pay for performance: coffee that scores higher is worth double.
Attracting loyal customers who enjoy Progeny coffee is the easy part. Our farmers grow incredible beans. What was most difficult was finding investors and advisors willing to back me, a Latina founder in Silicon Valley. I heard “no” after “no” after “no.” I had to work 100 times harder, and knock on 100 more doors. When I joined ICA’s Accelerator in 2019, I immediately gained access to financial and legal experts who are in my corner. I found an amazing community that supports women-owned and minority-owned companies.
The pro-bono advice and support I have received from Levi Booser has been indispensable. At the start of COVID, we lost our wholesale revenue almost overnight, as most of our clients were tech firms who offered our coffee to their workers. Levi encouraged us to push for direct-to-consumer online sales, and that made all the difference. The e-commerce capabilities we’ve built will be a big revenue stream for Progeny, even after we go back to selling wholesale to tech companies. The confidence I gained through the Accelerator, and the way I approach questions and challenges for my business, is a reflection of the experience I’ve had with ICA’s advisors.