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How Coffee Pixels is Breaking into Japan’s Coffee Scene

Find out why Coffee Pixels will change the way you consume your daily coffee.

How Coffee Pixels is Breaking into Japan’s Coffee Scene

6 min read

How Coffee Pixels Got Their Start

When two brothers and their cousin needed a new challenge after running a successful coffee shop in Latvia, they began dreaming up Coffee Pixels. During his recent talk at Startup Cafe, Coffee Pixels co-founder Raivis shared that one of the most important things, in the beginning, was to get people tasting the product. While they started out with a very small batch (and later refined their recipe) they began taking their idea to the public as soon as possible. After all, you won’t know if people like it until they try it.

Now, the milk and Cascara bar recipes have been fine-tuned and hit the market. Raivis shared the plans for the future of Coffee Pixels. In addition to creating new flavors, they want to expand their presence in the EU, Japan, and enter the American market. During his Startup Cafe presentation, Raivis showed how unexpected outlets like gas stations are seeing steady sales, and how his team closely monitors the sales to understand the market response. It’s interesting to see in such detail how an initial order can turn into more shops within the same chain ordering a product, and how big of an impact that can have on a startup.

Another important tidbit that Raivis shared is how necessary it is to find great co-founders. He admits that conventional wisdom shuns the idea of working with family. However, it’s been a huge asset to Coffee Pixels. Since he and his cousins had already created one business together, they knew it would work. Additionally, each of the three co-founders has a unique skill set that allows them to work within their strengths. Within a founding team, it’s important to have practical, creative, business-minded, and emotionally aware team members to ensure that the startup doesn’t hit a wall because there are foundational skills missing. Coffee Pixels has that covered.

The Fukuoka Connection

Why, Latitude59 - of course! Each year, popular startup event gives Fukuoka the chance to connect with so many global startups. In 2017, Coffee Pixels entered several pitch contests at the event, and they were given the Fukuoka Award. Their next step was to learn how Fukuoka could help them crack into the Japanese market. Luckily, the GSC was there to guide the way.

By connecting Coffee Pixels with Seed Village (a popular Fukuoka coffee shop), the companies were able to team up and import the coffee bars into Japan. That’s one issue not many people consider. You can have a great startup idea, and an amazing product, but you have to work within the local laws and regulations of the market you want to enter. That can often cost a great deal of time and money. Not to mention how hard it is to find a local partner in many cases. For Coffee Pixels, they had a ready-made partner in the GSC, and were quickly connected to Seed Village’s founder.

The team decided to sell the coffee bars on Makuake, a newly launched crowdfunding platform. Since this April, Fukuoka city and Makuake have collaborated to support the domestic success of startups from Fukuoka city and overseas. This partnership meant that the Coffee Pixels marketing plan just made sense. At the time I wrote this article, the Coffee Pixels bars were already 208% funded on the platform. That’s before most people have even gotten the chance to try them. It’s a testament to having a good idea, a great team, and the drive to make it all work.

It Comes Down to Action

Attention to detail is everything, and it’s something that Coffee Pixels is incredible at doing. When I sat down to interview Raivis, the conversation wasn’t your standard pitch. He spoke with passion on the subjects of health, education, and his future interests. He asked me questions throughout and made sure I understood the basic scientific principles behind caffeine absorption and the future of the coffee market. In our short hour chat, I was able to learn so much about not just the how, but the why of Coffee Pixels. They’ve created a delicious product. I’m currently eating a bar right now. But it’s the drive and motivation to add more to people’s lives and create a healthier way for people to get energized that made me so excited to write about the company.

In last month’s article, I shared that Fukuoka is a startup community that takes action. This is great proof of how swift execution and a passion for good ideas can impact startups in big ways. While exploring the market and trying to find points-of-entry can be very time consuming, the support that Coffee Pixels received from Fukuoka made the process much smoother (not to mention faster). It just goes to show how taking that chance and entering that next pitch contest could open up an entirely new avenue for your startup.