San Francisco Alumni Club Monthly Spotlight: Cafe X
The San Francisco Alumni Club’s spotlight on Babson businesses continues. Check back and read about more Babson startups! The following post is from Christa Ferguson M’15.
The TechCrunch Disrupt conference brought Henry Hu and Jack Sun to San Francisco for partner meetings in addition to a little downtime to meet our roving entrepreneurial reporter for a conventional coffee, made by human hands. Their business, Cafe X, is revolutionizing the way we get our coffee. Rather than waiting in line – you order your coffee through their app and download it from a pod with a robotic arm inside making your coffee. This is efficient and not to mention really cool! Are we living in the future? The Hong Kong Science Park has the first prototype…apparently they are living in the future!
Founder’s Names, ages and graduation years:
Henry Hu, 21, 2012-2014
Jack Sun, 24, 2010-2014
Sebastian Gomez Puerto, 30, 2012-2014
Title of each founder:
Henry – Cofounder & CEO
Jack – Cofounder & CFO
Sebastian – Cofounder & Head of Business Development (Cafe X Miami)
Industry: Food & Drink
What do you sell: Specialty coffee ordered through an app and picked up at a fully automated Robotic Cafe.
What is your value proposition?:
People today often wait 10-15 minutes every day for coffee. We can provide more fresh and consistent coffee quality about 60x the speed, or 10 seconds. We provide fresh, premium coffee drinks to customers 60x faster than traditional cafes. Order pickup scheduling with arrival detection, one-tap ordering and invisible payments through our app reduces café wait time from 10 minutes to 10 seconds.
Company Headquarters: Hong Kong
Where did your company name come from?: The X in Cafe X represents our highly unconventional approach so solving a. It’s difficult to walk around any city without coming across many places that already sell coffee. Not a single one of these places provide the experience that Cafe X does.
2014 Revenue: Nothing significant yet. We’ve spent the past 7 months designing and building a fully functional hardware and software prototype.
Number of Employees: 20
Year Founded: 2014
Where did you meet your partners and tell us the story of how and when you decided to work together? Henry and Sebastian met each other through the Babson Auto Group. We worked together to organize a winter driving clinic with Toyota, teaching the Babson community how to safely drive in winter road conditions. Jack went to same high school as Henry and worked together to produce a charity fashion show that raised millions of Hong Kong Dollars. He joined Cafe X to contribute his manufacturing expertise and resources coming from his family business.
What was your first job:
Henry: Reviewed consumer electronics sent to me for free on YouTube and made money through ads.
Jack: Customer relations and business strategy dad’s manufacturing company.
Sebastian: Marketing specialist for Ford Motor Company
Source of startup capital: Family, friends and angel investors
Why did you start this business: Spending a lot of time waiting in lines at cafes was a real pain point we couldn’t find anyone else doing something significant to solve this problem. Our long-term goal is to accelerate the adoption of automation technology in food & drink service. It’s critical for us to prove that this technology can actually yield a better experience and better quality products. Our Robotic Cafe does this.
Exit Strategy: Currently none. Of course possible acquisition by existing big players in food, drink, service space.
If you are hiring, what skills are you seeking and where should Babson Students/Alums Apply: Urgently need to setup our business development and operations team in San Fransisco. We will be joining Jason Calacanis’ (3rd investor in Uber) LAUNCH Incubator from November to March and will do an unveiling event at the LAUNCH Festival in March. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Toughest part about being an entrepreneur: Having no life except work and being responsible for everything that goes wrong. But worth it!
Key Business goals yet to achieve: Open 100 Robotic Cafe locations spread between the US, Hong Kong and Singapore in 2016 and to be the 1st cafe to open on our Mars colony in the future.
5-year plan: Continue installing more Robotic Cafés around the world. Starting off with the Bay Area, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore. Will introduce new items to the menu and new features to the app.
Whom do you most admire and why:
Henry: Elon Musk – Works on solving extremely difficult problems
Jack: Elon Musk – Risk taking
Sebastian: 93 year old grandfather. He can still ride a Harley Davidsson motorcycle and knows how to enjoy life.
Company you most admire and why:
Henry: SpaceX – As Elon said, their technology is essentially creating insurance for humanity by making humans a multi-planetary species.
Jack: Tesla – Revolutionizing the car industry
Sebastian: Virgin Group – Finding a problem and solving it in an unconventional way
What do you do for fun:
Henry: Fly drones and aerial photography. It’s incredible to see the world from angles that haven’t been seen before. Flying long distance and exploring is really awesome.
Sebastian: Paddleboarding in Miami. Just saved a dog that fell off a boat last week.
Favorite place to eat:
Henry: Eatsa in San Francisco
Jack: Tsui Wah Restaurant in Hong Kong
Sebastian: Kansas Grill in Argentina
What is the last book you read:
Henry: The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz
Jack: Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Sebastian: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Most influential person at Babson:
Henry: Kevin Colleran
Jack: Michael Mozill
Sebastian: Joe Pons
Favorite Babson Memory:
Henry: Summer Venture Program 2014
Jack: Summer Venture Program 2014
Sebastian: Graduation commencement speech