Kenyan-born Harvard graduate gets Sh. 44 million funding from US Shark Tank investors

Margaret Nyamumbo, Kenyan founder of Kahawa 1893
Margaret Nyamumbo, a Kenyan living in California, United States won the hearts of ‘shark’ investors and fans who watch the Shark Tank Reality TV show, with her story.

Margaret Nyamumbo is the proprietor behind Kahawa 1893 Coffee, a company that exports African Coffee, planted and harvested by women, to the United States.

She made a successful appearance on the American reality TV show ‘Shark Tank’ and pitched her idea to 5 potential investors (sharks).

They included Mark Cuban, Emma Grede, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner.

Eventually, Margaret walked away from Season 14, Episode 14 of the show having bagged an investor of Sh. 44 million ($350,000) for 8% equity of her firm.

Beyond the money, Nyamumbo’s heartfelt story touched the lives of many. She is a third-generation coffee farmer, her family having started growing coffee on colonial farms as early as 1893.

Nyamumbo said she grew up on her grandfather’s coffee farm in Kenya. She is passionate about sharing the coffee produced by Kenyan farmers, who are primarily women.

“In fact, 90% of the labour and coffee come from women, but so many are not compensated because they do not own the land,” she said.

Nyamumbo revealed that after finishing high school, she won a scholarship to the US for a finance degree in MBA at Harvard University.

“I didn’t know anyone in the US. ” I had $200 in my pockets when I arrived here,” she recalled.

“My parent’s didn’t have enough money for a ticket, so my village fundraiser to get me here,” Margaret tearfully stated.

After Harvard, she went on to work at Wallstreet before deciding to venture into the coffee business in 2017.

Nyamumbo returned home with a vision to bring Kenyan coffee to the world in a way that benefits women farmers the most. She founded Kahawa 1893.

Through her company, Margaret Nyamumbo revealed she looks to empower women coffee farmers by sourcing directly from them. Farmers from Africa will also be tipped by customers, as a means of additional compensation for their hard work.

 “On the back of the coffee bag, there’s a QR code that the customer scans and it takes them to a landing page, where they can enter the information and leave a tip,” she explained.

Her coffee product became the first African coffee brand to be sold at Trader’s Joe in 2021 and has become available at 768+ outlet stores in California and other states following several deals she’s signed.

Kahawa 1893 sources its coffee from farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Congo. The brand sells the following varieties: Safari Blend, Kenyan Single Origin, Serengeti Blend, Ethiopian Blend, Roaster’s Choice and more.

“Oh, that’s good coffee,” remarked Robbert Herjavec, one of the sharks whose estimated net worth is $200 million.

“I am a tea girl but that’s a good cup of coffee,” stated Emma Grede, the shark Nyamumbo decided to pick on. Her estimated net worth is $360 million.

“I’m gonna give you a 9/10 on your coffee. And I’m very very particular about my coffee,” another stated.

Nyamumbo’s personal experience and passion for creating change within the coffee industry have driven her to create a unique and innovative business model that aims to create a coffee revolution.

READ: Leah Wambui: Form Four leaver who built over 200 houses worth hundreds of millions

Admiring Kenyans on Twitter have commended Margaret for her confidence and sales skills.

Her success on Shark Tank has brought positive attention to her company and its mission to empower and compensate women farmers fairly.

Kahawa 1893 varieties sell for $16.99 – $19.99 per packet. In 2022, Margaret noted that their sales were $2 million. She made a profit of $150k from her sales.

In 2023, she divulged that sales have skyrocketed and are at $1.3 million. She projects annual sales of $4 million at the end of 2023.

85% of her business comes from grocery stores and wholesale, while 15% of the sales come from consumers.

Emma Grede, a British businesswoman and shark investor decided to swim with Nyamumbo’s pitch. She will invest $350k in Margaret’s firm and have an 8% shareholding.

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Joshua Kalata

Joshua Kalata

Actuary and Blogger

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