Kenyan coffee entrepreneur bags Sh44m from US ‘Shark Tank’ show
A Kenyan entrepreneur who sells Kenyan coffee in the United States has gained fame and a Sh44 million investment in her business after impressing at an investment TV show.
Ms Margaret Nyamumbo, the founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893 –a firm that exports African coffee to America– has earned plaudits for the way she described her business and pitched for investment to famous business moguls in the reality TV show ‘Shark Tank’.
The episode aired on Saturday at 4am Kenyan time on ABC Television.
Ms Nyamumbo, who moved to the US to take an MBA at Havard Business School and later worked at Wall Street, founded the company in 2017.
She pitched to investors (who are called “sharks” in the show) who included Mark Cuban, Emma Grede, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner.
She told the “sharks” of the unique nature of her business: “Sharks, did you know that the best coffee in the world grows in Kenya? I would know. I grew up on my grandfather’s coffee farm in Kenya. We, Kenyans, are very proud of the coffee that grows on our soil. But there’s a catch: the farmers don’t always make enough for the delicious coffee that they produce. In fact, 90 percent of the labour in coffee comes from women but so many are not compensated because they don’t own the land. That’s why I created a new way to compensate the coffee farmers. At Kahawa 1893, we source our coffee directly from women farmers in Africa. But that’s not all; we go one step further: our customers can tip the coffee farmers and we match the tips.”
She told the panel that she is all about sharing the wealth and “brewing a coffee revolution”.
Received praise for its taste
The sample coffee that she presented to the “sharks” received praise for its taste.
Ms Nyamumbo further detailed to the panel her journey from Kenya to the US, detailing how she grew up on her grandfather’s farm in Kenya, how she won a scholarship to Harvard University, how the whole village had to fundraise to help her travel to the US, how she arrived there with just $200 and how she had gained a footing in the business. She currently lives in New York.
Noting that her business makes over $1 million in sales every year, Ms Nyamumbo wanted to sell a five percent stake in her business for $350,000 (Sh44 million).
Her idea captivated the sharks and, in the typical fashion of the show, they haggled with Ms Nyamumbo on the equity to acquire in the business and for how much.
After heated talks, it was Emma Grede who convinced Ms Nyamumbo to take the $350,000 she was seeking but for an eight percent stake in the business.
“Any brand that’s going to scale and do really well now has to be rooted in some kind of community,” Emma said.
According to Forbes, Emma’s net worth as of June 14, 2022, was $360 million (Sh45.3 billion).
Ms Nyamumbo’s presentation has drawn praise from various quarters. Kenyans on Twitter have commended her on her confidence and sales skills. Among them is Dennis Itumbi.
“Great presentation. The story is well told. The struggle is captured,” tweeted Mr Itumbi.
“Congratulations, Margaret. Awesome pitch,” wrote Kevian Muriithi.
“We are proud of you, girl. Kenya hoiyeee,” posted Katerina Amani.