Supercharged investment shakes up Blume’s superfood lattes

How CEO Karen Danudjaja surpassed her goal in tough economic conditions.

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If your only mode of getting energized in the morning comes from a cup (or three) of coffee, Vancouver-based superfood latte company Blume has just the wake-up call you need. The health and wellness brand, found at or in North American stores such as Whole Foods and Indigo, specializes in offering warm-beverage alternatives that boast plenty of body-and-mind benefits.

With a range of products meant to help provide energy, boost focus, aid in de-stressing and improve both digestion and skin health, Blume packs its elixir blends with ingredients such as matcha, turmeric and spirulina.

The concept was created by Karen Danudjaja, co-founder and CEO, who started noticing symptoms of decreased health that appeared to be connected to too much coffee. When her sleep, digestion and hormones suffered, her answer was to develop a product that tasted great and also promoted wellness. “You can now give your coffee a tasty superfood boost or swap it entirely for your favourite latte flavour that doesn’t compromise your wellness goals,” says Danudjaja.

And with a recently acquired $2 million investment – surpassing Danudjaja’s initial goal of $1.25 million – Blume is on track to reach an even wider health-conscious audience.

“To determine our investment goal, we built a budget that outlined our required cash flow for key hires as well as marketing initiatives for the next 12-24 months,” says Danudjaja. “Blume was cash positive, so we felt we didn’t need too much of an outside investment, but rather, we were looking for strategic capital.”

But in under just five weeks, and after receiving advice that lean times were coming and the company should raise capital when the opportunity was there, Danudjaja elected to add on to the investment. “This raise takes us 24-36 months and gives us a longer road map to further Blume’s journey,” she says.

Danudjaja tapped her connections when sourcing partnerships, and once introductions were made, she devoted her attention to creating impactful pitch decks and building meaningful relationships, while taking a step back from day-to-day business tasks.

Blume’s pitch deck gave investors a topline overview of the company, answered frequently asked questions, provided insight into areas of concern and displayed Blume’s growth year over year, proven traction and market fit. “Due to uncertain economic conditions, I set a lower minimum cheque size, which I believe helped champion participation from incredible investors,” says Danudjaja.

But the process wasn’t as simple as creating a winning pitch deck, according to Danudjaja. “We learned that people were looking to diversify themselves away from CPG and DTC brands – many investors weren’t looking to invest at all because of economic conditions,” she says. “I presented the brand as a de-risked investment, highlighting our diversified channel strategy, strong economic units and how far we’ve come being a bootstrapped company since 2017.”

Willingness to meet challenges head-on is what Danudjaja credits as an important aspect of furthering her business. “My biggest piece of advice for other businesses looking to secure investments is to take every meeting and opportunity,” she says. “I entered each meeting with positive energy, an open mind and readiness to pitch. I put myself out there.”

When it comes to financials, Danudjaja advises businesses to know their numbers, and truly understand them from the investors’ point of view. “It was important to find strategic, supportive capital and work with investors that wanted to be a part of Blume’s journey – not just the overall growth,” she says.

With the investments from partners such as Judy Brooks (SmartSweets & Blo Blow Dry Bar), Ethan Song (Frank & Oak), Jerin Mece (Nude Vodka), Mike Fata (Manitoba Harvest), Fulmer & Co and The51, Danudjaja has secured capital that both aligns with the company’s values and advances women in business. “With less than three percent of funding going to female-led businesses, we’re proud to have secured capital from a group of investors that is nearly 50 percent women and includes notable CPG leaders,” she says.

These investments mean Blume will further expand into the U.S., hire more team members and host community-building events – something Danudjaja says is at the heart of the company.

“We want to create unique experiences that thoughtfully tell our brand story and create wellness rituals that our customers can’t live without. We’ll utilize some of this new capital to build a strong leadership team that will guide us along this experiential channel,” she says.