The Hustle

Coffee, but for the 1%


Happy Tuesday, people. Congratulations: You’ve survived the madness of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Today:

Have a great day.

The coffee industry is brewing up a 3rd batch of buzzy beaneries

A number of craft-coffee startups are growing fast and raising big bucks to challenge Big Bean barons like Starbucks and Dunkin’.

And, as Fast Company reports, these craft-coffee companies are also brewing up some big business: The craft-coffee industry is expected to heat up from $35B in 2018 to $85B by 2025.

These so-called 3rd-wave coffee roasters offer bougie beans and prices that’re bound to burn some tongues: Blue Bottle sells its joe for as much as $16 a cup.

So, what does ‘3rd wave’ even mean?

According to the world’s condescending caffeine-oisseurs, there have already been 2 waves of coffee consumption.

The 1st wave of caffeine consumption was the instant-coffee revolution: Big brands like Folgers and Maxwell House made it possible for caffeine junkies to consume bean juice in the comfort of their own homes.

The 2nd wave of caffeine consumption was the explosion of on-the-go options: Coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts (now Dunkin’), Peet’s Coffee, and Tim Hortons built massive networks of easily accessible coffee shops.

The 3rd wave is taking a page out of beer’s playbook and transforming beloved, basic beverages from commodities into premium products by increasing variety and branding new brews as “craft.”

Which craft-coffee companies are brewing?

Some craft-coffee companies are now owned (or partially owned) by bigger businesses: Blue Bottle sold a majority stake to Nestlé for $425m.

Others, however, have chosen to remain independent and raise money from outside investors: Philz has raised $75m so far.

Here’s a rundown of some craft-coffee companies vying to become caffeine’s next kingpins:

Giving Tuesday

This year, The Hustle is celebrating Giving Tuesday by contributing to a cause that’s near and dear to my heart — Camp Kesem

For every new subscriber we add between today and midnight Friday, we’ll donate $1 to Camp Kesem. 

Camp Kesem supports more than 5M children through their flagship program: A network of 100% free summer camps for kids who have a parent affected by cancer. 

This great cause has also helped over 3K college students build their first “business” by leading local chapters at their university. It’s where both my wife and I started our careers and where countless others have worked to help these kids see brighter days.

Happy Giving Tuesday, y’all. We appreciate all of your continued support.

– Adam Ryan, President of The Hustle

So, want to support some kids? Click the button below to share The Hustle.

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New study questions environmental friendliness of reusable grocery bags

Our collective obsession with single-use plastic bags seems to be continuing unabated, with around 500B used each year and only 3 states having laws outright banning them. 

That has led to the rise of the reusable “bag for life,” a sturdier alternative that was supposed to discourage the flimsier, drain-clogging, and animal-killing alternative. 

But a new study questions whether these bags are any better because of their significantly higher plastic content. According to a report from Greenpeace and the UK’s Environmental Investigation Agency, the bags have become a significant factor in the “plastic footprint” of the largest UK supermarkets.

Save us, Sir David

Shoppers in the UK have increasingly become aware of the plastic problem, in no small part thanks to the BBC documentary series “Blue Planet II,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough. He urged viewers to lower their plastic footprints, with government officials saying they were “haunted” by the images from the series. 

This led to the UK Plastics Pact with the biggest British grocers such as Tesco, which pledged to replace traditional plastic bags with reusable or recyclable material. But instead of a drop in plastic consumption, the new study shows the opposite is happening. 

How to reverse course?

The answer may be in the pricing. The report urges British supermarkets to raise the cost of the sturdy bags up to at least 70 pence — equivalent to 90 cents — apiece. Sales of the bags fell 90% in neighboring Ireland when grocers there raised prices.


How a parenting dilemma led to $254m in funding

Two years ago, CEO and co-founder of Divvy, Blake Murray, was in a parenting pinch. 

He wanted to give his kids money to spend on things like ice cream, but the thought of handing a child a credit card scared the sprinkles off him. 

Blake wanted a card without a balance that would let him fund and monitor his kids’ spending — without worrying about it falling into the wrong hands.

And like that, Divvy was born. 

Since January 2018, the company’s grown 8000%, secured $254m in funding, and has billion dollar companies as clients.


By rethinking the corporate card

Divvy distributes both virtual and physical corporate cards, so every employee — from the intern up to the CEO — can have their own with the funds they need to do their jobs, and here’s the kicker — you control exactly how they spend. 

Plus, there’s no end-of-the-month receipt scramble. The moment the card is charged, Divvy automatically categorizes and expenses from the right budget. At the end of the month, snappy reporting and forecasting dashboards then makes review a breeze.  

Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Divvy makes their living off credit card transaction fees, so you don’t pay an extra penny. 

Don’t band-aid your budget problem with more ‘expense tracking’ software. Solve the corporate card madness with Divvy — decision makers get $100 for watching a demo.

Divvy rep hotline this way →

All sizzle and no steak: Ranchers take aim at makers of alternative meats

As the fake meat industry continues to heat up, America’s cattle ranchers are fighting back. They want regulators to scrutinize the plant-based alternatives for potential health risks, The Wall Street Journal reports — and some are even referring to their new rivals’ products as dog food.

Their biggest beef? The labeling. The beef industry is lobbying for laws that would only permit the label “beef” or “meat” on products from live animals — not plant-based products or those derived from animal cells in labs. Label laws are now on the books in over a dozen states, with a federal bill introduced last month.

(Fake) Beef. It’s what’s for dinner

Sales of alternative meats grew 8% in the past 12 months while retail meat sales fell 0.4%. The plant-based industry now brings in nearly $1B in annual revenue — a 56% jump from 2015.

While plant-based meat still makes up just 1% of the entire meat market, beef producers know the steaks are high thanks to their friends in the milk business. Dairy farmers have been waging a losing battle with milk alternatives, as almond milk, soy milk, and other cow-milk alternatives have captured about 10% of that market. 

As ranchers sharpen their knives…

… the meatless patty makers have not cowered. Plant-based producers continue to tout their burgers as “healthier” alternatives, with a small “fraction of the environmental impact that comes from raising, transporting, and slaughtering cattle.”

Fast-food chains have become an interesting testing ground. The debut of Burger King’s “Impossible Whopper” this year contributed to the chain’s strongest quarterly sales gains since 2015. White Castle and others have also seen sizzling sales of plant-based offerings.

The Hustle says…

Oakland showed us some serious love at Hustle Con this week, so help us return the favor by stocking up on Oaklandish gear. Keep it local.

Quit coffee and start your day with Hydrant instead. This powdered mix has up to 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks and 25 calories or less per serving. The bonus caffeine pack also has 100mg of caffeine, and 200mg of l-theanine.* 

93% of women prefer men who “manscape.” This Christmas, give yourself the gift of a good trim with MANSCAPED grooming products.*

*This is a sponsored post.

International players anthem: The Athletic’s plan to dominate sports media involves expanding overseas

Since launching in 2016, The Athletic has earned ~$100m in funding and attracted more than 500k subscribers. But how can the site, which has touted itself as the home for hardcore sports fans, do something new for the masses that ESPN and other legacy media haven’t?

Co-founder and CEO Alex Mather says by going where other American companies have neglected: overseas. So far the strategy has involved hiring journalists to cover European soccer. 

But the international market is ripe for more disruption

The London-based streaming service DAZN has 8m subscribers, with 90% based outside of the US. ESPN’s streaming service ESPN+ has 3.5m subscribers.

“Premier league fans are in every country on earth,” Mather told The Hustle on Monday, following remarks he made during Hustle Con. “There are NBA fans in every country on the earth. So how do we find them and how do we bring them something premium?”

More highlights from Hustle Con… 

Family and business: When Kat Schneider, the founder of the vitamin company Ritual, met an investor while she was 4 months pregnant, she recalled him telling her to choose between starting a business or starting a family. “And in my mind, I was like ‘f-you. I’m going to do both,’” she says. “And I did.”

Want to be an entrepreneur? Get an engineering degree, not a business degree. “Science is really affecting every one of our industries,” says Michele Romanow, a serial entrepreneur and cast member of the CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

All right, all right, all right… now sleep: Calm CEO Michael Acton Smith says the top narrator for his popular sleep app is Matthew McConaughey. “The only thing the wife wants to do in bed these days is listen to Matthew.”

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