BeanGenius - 'Discover Great Coffee. Smarter.'

BeanGenius - 'Discover Great Coffee. Smarter.' - student project


BeanGenius is like a 'Pandora' for coffee-lovers.

Using the brand recognition of the big players in specialty coffee, our intelligent 'recommendation engine' finds high-quality coffee bean alternatives sourced from award-winning independent coffee roasters. "BeanGenius. Discover Great Coffee. Smarter."


BeanGenius - 'Discover Great Coffee. Smarter.' - image 1 - student project

BeanGenius - 'Discover Great Coffee. Smarter.' - image 2 - student project


Biggest Holes in Startup Idea

  • Small sample size of audience validation group (17 people) not large enough to prove market opportunity of home-brew coffee lovers wanting to try alternatives to the dominating big brands.
  • Independent coffee roasters not wanting to sign a reseller agreement. Therefore not enabling the reselling of their product through BeanGenius.
  • Loading enough inventory to the database to provide interesting recommendation results
  • Resources required to sample/characterize the alternatives using the industry-wide coffee scale and match them to the big brands.


  1. Determine interest from home-brew coffee drinkers on trying carefully recommended coffee bean alternatives from independent roasters
  2. Determine interest from independent coffee roasters on having their beans sold on BeanGenius site.

MVP Solution
A simple landing page making it very clear what BeanGenius does. Including some big brand logos and encouraging people to click on the big brand logos to reveal carefully selected, independent roaster coffee alternatives.

Actionable Plan

  • Buy domain - done
  • Setup Google Analytics for measuring landing page activity - done
  • Select 2-3 big-name coffee brands, breakdown the flavor notes/tones of a few bean varieties, match them up with some local independent coffee roasters to provide alternatives - done
  • Put up landing page with clickable big brand logos - done
  • Measure the results - ongoing
  • Contact a selection of independent roasters and scope out interest of having their beans sold on BeanGenius site. - ongoing
  • *UPDATED - Began social media outreach plan to approach coffee enthusiasts, coffee groups, blogs etc. Have been retweeted by FoodRepublic etc with a following of over 16,000+*
  • *UPDATED - Have sold three bags of coffee through organic outreach and email collection through the site! Shopping cart has been taken offline again to increase inventory and get reseller agreements in place*


Success metrics

  1. Achieve decent site visit and CTR (click-through rate) / engagement with the recommendation engine at . *UPDATED - Don't worry too much on this, moreso how to achieve first 100 signups.*
  2. Achieve at least 6 out of 10 hit-rate with independent roasters agreeing to reselling their product online

Other items to consider / Food-for-thought

  • Research shows there are approximately 3,000 independent coffee roasters in the USA. Initial insight indicates only about 10% of them are selling their coffee beans online. Consider opportunity to offer branding, packaging, distribution, website, shopping cart etc free-of-charge to these local roasters. Opening up their ability to sell their beans online to anyone in the country. BeanGenius would take a cut on all sales.
  • Determine if the market size is bigger for people grinding coffee at home or using single-serve k-cups/pods in their machines at home or in the office.
  • Consider setting-up independent roasters with 'K-cups' for Keurig machines
  • 'Pods' for Starbucks new Verismo machine
  • Recyclable 'K-cups'
  • Explore subscription-based model for home delivery, examples include: Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club. *UPDATED - Will include to include subscription-based model to deliver carefully selected coffee on a monthly basis, which will be derived from the 'recommendation engine'*
John Duffield

Senior Marketing & Advertising professional