Lot61 borrowed €465,000 to finance an acquisition of part of his business. October spoke to Australian founder Adam Craig about entrepreneurship, growth and the search for funding. The borrower’s story of Lot61.
The start of a new adventure
“Born in Sydney, raised in Brooklyn and roasting in Amsterdam”, is the tagline of Lot61 and the story of Adam Craig. And that is just what he did. After spending 15 years in NYC, where he set up and ran 3 coffee bars, all recognized in the New York Times as ‘one of the best’, in 2013 Adam decided it was time for a new adventure.
Creating a coffee brand
“My wife and I decided to move to Europe, a big and exciting step, since I would essentially have to start over again. For starting a new business, we looked around in Amsterdam and decided on a location at the Kinkerstraat in ‘Oud West’ (area in Amsterdam). Here we opened the doors for our espresso bar and roastery. Back then in 2013, drinking specialty coffee at an espresso bar was still new for the Dutch and I had to get people excited. It turned out to be a great fit, the neighborhood was up and coming and was open to new concepts.”
Share the Joy of the Craft
“Lot61 is not only a local neighborhood cafe serving good coffee with professional and excited baristas with passion. We also have a roastery and sell our packaged beans. At the heart of LOT61 is a bunch of coffee professionals who are obsessed about bringing a consistent quality coffee beverage to their customers. We pride ourselves in providing the same level of service to larger groups such as Soho House, Hoxton and Kimpton, to corner kiosks such as Ikaria.”
Giving back to the community
“In 2020 we made some investments in structuring our business to maintain our underlying sustainable principles. As a small specialty coffee roaster we are inherently focused on giving back to the community. As the business grew year on year we thought it time to conduct circularity assessment, invested in upgrading logistics and process systems and became a certified B-corp. This gave us a clear pathway in the various directions that we can take as a company to grow and whilst up keeping the commitment to good business practices and impact. For us it means evaluating water usage at the coffee farms, how the farmers process the coffee and transportation of green beans around the country.”
“The biggest challenges we faced were the uncertainties and rules during the corona pandemic. We set up an e-commerce site, launched a subscription service for our coffee and ramped up our online shipping. We quickly realigned, adapted to the new situation which eventually exceeded expectations.
We found ourselves the “Go To” place for coffee, and are humbled to see the online support we’ve got from the community, it really helped to keep their staffing levels consistent and not need any government support.”
“I was always in favor of investing in the growth of our business and prepare for the next journey. To grow, I required funding to acquire shares of one of the shareholders. And for this, I needed funding. But the process of seeking funding was not second nature to me, I did not know what to expect. Until then I had always funded my businesses personally.
My initial approach was to reach out to our bank. They informed us that due to Corona that they were not lending money in the Horeca sector. I was advised to look at other platforms that would have a good fit and recommended October.”
October asked to meet online and get to know me and the business. It was a pretty cool discussion, they genuinely wanted to know about the business and myself. They are passionate about their platform and what they are doing, and they were genuinely interested in my business and not just my numbers. They gave me clear directions of what I needed to do to have my request approved, the due diligence of looking at financials and guiding me through the process.
I do like a bit of tech and enjoyed watching the financing project go live, even better to see all the people who chose to finance my project. It was fun to go through the process and see my project being launched and funded by more than 3,000 lenders. I really felt supported by the community for what I did and that was a cool thing. It feels like it’s one giant loyalty program.”
A bright future
Adam and his team’s creativity and passion have no boundaries. They are already supplying the industries finest restaurants, hotels and fashion brands. “We constantly come up with creative ideas to push the boundaries. We are expanding our brand one step at the time.”
Curious to find out all about the coffee of LOT61? Go to the LOT61 webshop and try out their coffee with 15% discount using the OCTOBER61