Wakuli Raises 5.2 Million Euros with Icecat Capital as New Investor


Specialty coffee company Wakuli has raised EUR 5.2 million in a Series A round. The round consists of an issuance of new shares and a EUR 750k loan. In addition to Icecat Capital as the lead investor, current shareholders Rubio, ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund, and angel investor Arnoud Aalbersberg are also participating in this round. The loan comes from Rabobank’s startup and scale-up team.

Since 2023, Wakuli – primarily known for its online specialty coffee for home consumption – successfully opened six coffee bars in Amsterdam and one in Utrecht. Eight new openings are planned for this year, with this growth pace expected to continue during 2025. Through these outlets or coffee bars, Wakuli introduces specialty coffee to the mass market and quickly gains market share.

What is specialty coffee?

The term “specialty coffee” refers to the entire process that coffee beans undergo, from high-quality coffee from a single origin, through the farmer, to the barista. Coined in 1974 by Erna Knutsen, the term was later formalized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), which awarded the “specialty” designation to all coffees scoring at least 80%.

Decent farmer income

According to Wakuli, specialty coffee is the only way for farmers to achieve a decent income. “We invest in quality with our partners. This is a different philosophy than simply offering a small premium above the commodity price, as is customary with certifications like Fair Trade.”

Specialty coffee is often very expensive and therefore inaccessible to most people, especially for daily consumption. “We want high-quality, specialty coffee to be attractive to a larger group of people. We want to move away from the niche where specialty coffee has been for years. Because real impact through quality can only be achieved if many people come on board. That’s why we’re happy to help people get serious about specialty coffee at home,” says Lukas Grosfeld.

By entering into long-term partnerships with farmers and paying them more, Wakuli enables them to invest in their farms and thus build a more sustainable livelihood. Consumers benefit by gaining access to the highest quality coffee at an affordable price.


Wakuli’s growth strategy relies on the interplay between online and coffee bars, an omnichannel strategy. “Opening a new store adds around 15,000 new customers,” says Lukas Grosfeld. “Additionally, website visits and conversions from that region also increase, resulting in a further growth in online customers. Conversely, we can derive from online data which cities and neighborhoods are interesting for opening new locations.”

The success of this strategy is one of the reasons why Martijn Hoogeveen of Icecat Capital is leading this investment round. “I saw that it was immediately busy at the opening of the new location on Amtelveenseweg in Amsterdam. That’s not often seen with new concepts in the streetscape.” As a software and e-commerce investor, Martijn sees a trend where online-first or omnichannel brands outperform companies focusing solely on physical locations or exclusively on e-commerce. “Especially, with the increased customer acquisition costs in recent years, it’s wise to think more broadly about the customer journey and involve both physical locations and online marketplaces. Additionally, the social impact element and the good taste of specialty coffee resonate with a broader trend.”


Does Wakuli have international ambitions? “Certainly,” says Lukas Grosfeld, “we are currently selling online across-border and will also open coffee bars in neighboring countries in the coming years. It is important, however, to maintain focus on density. You won’t see us expanding into five countries simultaneously with only a few locations per country. We prefer to work region by region so that we truly gain significant market share and brand awareness.”

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