Spinn Raises $20M For a More Sustainable Home-Brewed Coffee

Bernard Mendez
Bernard Mendez is an editorial intern at dot.LA. He attends UCLA, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Mendez was previously an editor at the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA.

One Los Angeles-based coffee startup is hoping to put a new spin on at-home coffee making.

Spinn makes a coffee brewing machine that uses a unique "centrifuge process" and offers coffees from a variety of vendors — without relying on wasteful packaging that its competitors use.

Spinn was able to capitalize on lockdowns that closed grocery stores and coffee shops. Small coffee vendors looked to Spinn's online marketplace to sell their coffee and consumers looked to Spinn's machines to brew coffee at home, said CEO Roderick de Rode.

The company has raised $20 million in a round of funding led by Spark Capital, Amazon's Alexa Fund and Bar 9 Ventures, it said Monday. The money will go toward fulfilling pre-orders the company has for its coffee machines and for hiring additional workers.

Founded in 2015, Spinn hopes to tap into a growing market for at-home coffee machines. Its machine is an all-in-one brewer that make a variety of coffee types — including espresso, americano, cold brew and drip coffee — through a unique "centrifuge" process. It can process around 1,500 types of coffee from around 500 vendors.

Competitors, including Nespresso and Keurig, also offer brewing machines and coffee marketplaces. But de Rode said Spinn's focus on sustainability sets it apart. Their machines don't require filters, reducing the amount of waste produced when brewing coffee.

As working conditions fluctuate between in-person and remote, Spinn is hoping to tailor both to consumers who continue to work remotely and to offices looking to buy coffee machines for returning workers, said de Rode.

To de Rode, consumer interest in coffee is moving in the same direction as wine — People are becoming more aware of the different types and origins of coffees, much like how people have become aware of the nuances in the types of wines, he said, giving Spinn more space to operate.

"Nowadays people know that there's a difference between a Cherot and a Pinot Noir," he said. "You see the same thing happening in coffee."

Spinn's machines are also connected to the internet, and can be controlled through Spinn's app or through Amazon's Alexa.


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SXSW Transportation Events Heavy on Hype Light on Details

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

SXSW Transportation Events Heavy on Hype Light on Details

It’s day two of the transportation events at SXSW and I don’t really get it. It’s my first time at the tech conference here in Austin, but so far, these panels don’t seem like they’re worth the carbon emissions of the plane ride to get here.

There’s a lot of talk about how autonomous vehicles are going to change the world.

There’s a lot of talk about how EVs are the future.

While I personally believe those are pretty safe predictions, there’s been a conspicuous lack of discussion about how we’ll get there and what it will cost.

Yesterday afternoon, Kyle Vogt, CEO of autonomous vehicle company Cruise, spoke with General Motors CEO Mary Barra. If you didn’t know any better, you’d have left that panel thinking that Cruise’s coming fleet of driverless cars could have the climate crisis pretty much wrapped up by 2025.

I’m not trying to discount how impressive the company’s tech is or how autonomous vehicles will revolutionize society. But scientists have shown that rideshare services increase congestion, and autonomous vehicles could potentially double carbon emissions in the United States, if the tech is implemented the wrong way. While Vogt may be keenly aware of these pitfalls, the discussion never ventured anywhere near the edge of these waters.

I also have yet to hear a substantive conversation about how we’re going to source the astronomical amounts of lithium and other metals necessary to power this transition. I haven’t heard anyone talk about how to decarbonize the mining process. Nobody has dared to bring up the millions of rideshare workers who will lose their jobs as autonomous vehicles expand their reach, save for when Vogt pointed out that the human was the most expensive part of Uber and Lyft’s business model.

These are, admittedly, hard questions, and I certainly don’t have answers for them. But it would be both more interesting and somewhat reassuring to watch these industry leaders debate or at least acknowledge them. I’m not asking for a 4-hour lecture on the optimal way to distribute federal funding, but my kingdom for a panel moderator who asks “Where do you see the biggest challenges?” or “What are you the most worried about?” or “How do we make sure this technology doesn’t worsen the inequality in this country?”

In a nearly full session this morning Shailen Bhatt, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, joked that his time slot on Transforming America’s Highways and Transportation Infrastructure was competing against Ryan Gosling interviewing Keanu Reeves.

Which is to say the people attending these panels care about transportation and emissions and infrastructure. They aren’t dumb and their time is valuable. They recognize the potential afforded by these technologies and the opportunity in Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. I think we’re ready for a slightly more nuanced discussion here.

FaZe Clan is Finally Embracing Women’s Esports Over a Decade After its Founding

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

FaZe Clan is Finally Embracing Women’s Esports Over a Decade After its Founding
Photo: FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan signed its first all-female esports team last week, and the five-woman team will begin competing this year in a spinoff of Riot Games’ “Valorant” pro league.

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