Were the company’s supply chain capabilities a source of competitive advantage

11/12/21, 1 1:41 AM A year ago, this company had 750 customers. Today it has 6,000 – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/business/bottomless-cof fee-subscription-boom/index.html 1/3

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S an F ra n cis c o ( C N N B usin ess ) — S ub sc rip tio n s e rv ic e s c a n b ea r a r e se m bla n ce t o t h e s to ry o f G old ilo cks: S om etim es y o u e n d u p w it h w ay t o o m uch o f w hat

yo u o rd ere d , r is k in g s p oila g e. O th er t im es, y o u r u n o ut f a ste r t h an p la n ned . T h e a n sw er, a cco rd in g t o o n e c o m pany, is a s c a le .

S eattle u p sta rt B otto m le ss s e t o ut t o n ail t h at ” ju st r ig ht” a sp ect b y c re atin g a c o ee s u b sc rip tio n c o m pany t h at m ake s t h e r e o rd erin g p ro ce ss a u to m atic

a n d d ete rm in es t h e id ea l d ay fo r t h e n ext b ag o f b ea n s t o la n d a t y o ur d oors te p , b y u sin g a s m art s c a le t o t e ll w hen y o u’r e s ta rtin g t o r u n lo w .

“W e w ere o b se ss e d w it h t h is q uestio n o f, ‘W hat if t h e s u p plie r k n ew e xa ctly w hen y o u n eed ed s o m eth in g a n d w hen w as t h e r ig ht t im e t o s h ip t o y o u?'”

B otto m le ss c o -fo un d er L ia n a H erre ra t o ld C N N B usin ess .

C usto m ers p la ce t h eir b ag o f c o ee o n to t h e W i- F i- e n ab le d s c a le a ft e r e a ch u se , a n d t h e a lg orit h m s o n t h e b acke n d a n aly ze c o n su m ptio n a ctiv it y a n d

th en la ye r in lo g is tic a l d ata f r o m d oze n s o f r o aste rs a n d th e U S P osta l S erv ic e . T h e s u b sc rip tio n s e rv ic e in clu d es t h e s c a le a n d s ta rts a t $ 5 .9 9 p er m on th

w it h c o ees t h at r a n g e f r o m $ 12 t o $ 20 .

It ‘s a n a p pro ach t h at h as s e rv e d B otto m le ss w ell – – e sp ecia lly a s it s b usin ess h as b allo on ed d urin g t h e p an d em ic . M ore A m eric a n s a re h ole d u p a t h om e,

re su lt in g in sk yro cke tin g e -c o m merc e p urc h ase s a n d in cre asin g d em an d fo r d eliv e ry -b ase d s e rv ic e s s u ch a s s u b sc rip tio n b oxe s .

A s o f t h is w eek, B otto m le ss c o un te d 6 ,0 00 a ctiv e c u sto m ers . T h is t im e la st y e a r, t h at n um ber w as 7 5 0.

“M ore p eo p le a re c h an g in g t h eir h ab it s t o b uy o n lin e,” H erre ra s a id , n otin g t h at s h e e xp ecte d t h e t r e n d w ould t a ke a fe w m ore y e a rs t o t e ase o ut. ” It ‘s

b een a cce le ra te d ju st in t h ese fe w m on th s.”

T h e c o m pany h as c o m e a lo n g w ay s in ce it s in ce p tio n in 2 0 16 w hen H erre ra a n d c o -fo un d er M ic h ael

M aye r – – n eit h er o f w hom h ad b ackg ro un d s in h ard w are d eve lo p m en t – – c o n ce p tu ali z e d a n d in ve n te d

th e s m art s c a le t h at w ould s e rv e a s B otto m le ss ‘ b ackb on e. In t r u e s ta rtu p f a sh io n , t h e d uo

b oots tr a p ped t h e fi rm a n d s p en t t h e e a rly d ays h an d -s o ld erin g 3 D -p rin te d s c a le s in t h eir t in y

a p artm en t. T h ey p artn ere d w it h s o m e r o aste rs a n d s ig ned u p a c o up le h un d re d c u sto m ers .

H erre ra a p plie d h er le ss o n s-le a rn ed f r o m h er o w n h um ble b eg in nin g s. S he e m ig ra te d f r o m P eru a t t h e a g e o f 1 8 a n d d id n’t s p ea k a ny E ng li s h a t t h at t im e.

S he h eld a v a rie ty o f jo b s u n til s h e w as a b le t o a tte n d u n iv e rs it y in P ortla n d , O re g on .

“G ro w in g u p , I s a w m y p are n ts w ork in g v e ry h ard ,” s h e s a id . ” I n eve r b elie ve d t h ere w as a n a lt e rn ativ e r o ute t o s u cce ss o th er t h an h ard w ork . T h is s e rv e d

m e w ell in b uild in g m y c a re er.”

R ela te d A rtic le : T his 9 5-y e ar- o ld fl avo re d

sy ru p c o m pan y f o und a s w eet s p ot d urin g

th e p an d em ic : Y o ur k it c h en 11/12/21, 1 1:41 AM A year ago, this company had 750 customers. T oday it has 6,000 – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/business/bottomless-cof fee-subscription-boom/index.html 2/3

Aft e r s o m e e a rly s ta g e s u cce ss , B otto m le ss la n d ed in t h e W in te r 2 0 19 c o h ort a t Y C om bin ato r, t h e le g en d ary S ilic o n V a lle y s ta rtu p a cce le ra to r, w here t h e

co m pany r e ce iv e d v e n tu re c a p it a l b ackin g , b usin ess c o n nectio n s a n d m en to rs h ip .

G on e w ere t h e d ays o f h an d m ad e s c a le s a s B otto m le ss c o n d ucte d it s fi rs t m an ufa ctu rin g r u n e a rlie r t h is y e a r.

T h e t im in g w ould p ro ve s ig nifi c a n t a s B otto m le ss ‘ b usin ess e xp erie n ce d a b ig -tim e b oom s h ortly t h ere a ft e r. T h e a t- h om e c u p o f J o e h as le ve le d u p a s

co n su m ers sh if t e d t h eir s p ecia lt y c o ee s h op r it u als t o t h eir r e sid en ce s .

W hat h as r e su lt e d is a ” p re m iu m iz a tio n ” o f c o ee p urc h ase s a t r e ta il a n d g ro ce ry s to re s, s a id J im W ats o n , s e n io r a n aly s t fo r b eve ra g es r e se a rc h a t

R ab ob an k. P eo p le a re s p en d in g m ore fo r w hole b ea n c o ee a n d p ric ie r g ro un d s, h e s a id .

W hile g ro ce ry s to re s t y p ic a lly d o h ave a s o lid s e le ctio n o f p re m iu m a n d s p ecia lt y c o ees, t h ey t e n d t o b e f r o m t h e n atio n al o r g lo b al b ra n d s.

“P ro b ab ly o n e o f t h e b ig gest o p portu n it ie s o ut t h ere is t o t a p in to lo ca l r o aste rs ,” h e s a id . ” I t h in k t h at’s o n e o f t h e r e aso n s w hy a c o m pany li k e B otto m le ss

a n d s o m e o f t h e o th ers r e a lly d o w ell b eca u se t h e g ro ce rie s a re n ‘t m eetin g t h at [ lo ca l r o aste r] n eed a ll t h at w ell. “

T h e t r e n d s a re w ork in g in B otto m le ss ‘ f a vo r; h ow eve r, t h e d ra stic e co n om ic s h if t s in t h e e a rly p art o f t h e p an d em ic w re a ke d h avo c o n t h e fi n ely t u n ed

sy s te m .

Som e r o aste rs e xp erie n ce d h ig her t u rn ove r a ft e r s ta rk d ro p -o s in s a le s d urin g t h e s p rin g , s o n ew e m plo ye es h ad t o b e r e tr a in ed o n t h e B otto m le ss

p ro ce ss . W hen t h e U SPS t im elin es g ot k n ocke d o ut o f w hack, H erre ra a n d M aye r h ad t o r e b uil d t h eir m ach in e le a rn in g m od els . S om e e xis tin g c u sto m ers ,

a ft e r s u erin g a jo b lo ss , h ave t r a d ed d ow n in t h eir B otto m le ss s u b sc rip tio n .

N ow n ea rly e ig ht m on th s in to t h e p an d em ic , t h ose a sp ects h ave s ta b iliz e d a n d B otto m le ss is s e ein g s te a d y g ro w th in b oth s a le s a n d n ew c u sto m ers , s h e

sa id . T h e a ctiv it y is f u elin g o p tim is m fo r a f u tu re w here B otto m le ss c o uld e xp an d it s t e ch nolo g y in to o th er p ro d uct c a te g orie s s u ch a s p et fo o d a n d

p ers o n al c a re .

B ut fo r n ow , t h e c o m pany r e m ain s fo cu se d o n c o ee.

“W e s till t h in k w e h ave n ‘t e ve n s c ra tc h ed t h e s u rfa ce t o w here w e c a n g o o n c o ee a lo n e,” s h e s a id .

A b ag o f c o ee f r o m H ig hw ir e C o ee R oaster s o n a B otto mle ss s m art s c a le .

U S

W orld

S earc h C N N… 11/12/21, 1 1:41 AM A year ago, this company had 750 customers. T oday it has 6,000 – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/business/bottomless-cof fee-subscription-boom/index.html 3/3

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lic e n se d f o r u se t o S & P O pco , L LC a n d C N N . S ta n d ard & P oor’s a n d S & P a re r e g is te re d t r a d em ark s o f S ta n d ard & P oor’s F in an cia l S erv ic e s L LC a n d D ow J o n es is

a r e g is te re d t r a d em ark o f D ow J o n es T ra d em ark H old in g s L LC . A ll c o n te n t o f t h e D ow J o n es b ra n d ed in d ic e s C op yrig ht S & P D ow J o n es In d ic e s L LC 2 0 18 a n d /o r

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