Interview – Stephen Rapoport on Yourgrind (now Pact Coffee)
We interview Stephen Rapoport from yourgrind.com (now Pactcoffee.com) – the exciting new startup delivering fresh coffee directly to your doorstep.
1. Firstly could you tell us a bit about yourself and yourgrind.com?
Sure! I started YourGrind.com as a personal indulgence, following the sale of my last startup last year. I wanted to run a business around a passion, and YourGrind was the result. It’s not just about selling the best coffee money can buy, but about making fresh roasted coffee accessible to the public.
2. How did you come up with the idea for yourgrind.com?
I had lunch with Paul Graham a while ago, and he told me to start a business that solved my own problems, which is what I did. I hate having to shlep for incredible coffee, and hate running out. YourGrind means I never run out of coffee that I love.
3. How many active subscribers does yourgrind currently have?
We’re a new business, so the figure is changing every day. We broke 1,000 a couple of weeks back, but we were at 100 in February. I hope we’ll have added another zero or two by the end of the year!
4. You are operating in a similar operational model to graze.com. Do you know any of the guys there or do you see them as possible competition (They currently have a small tea offering)?
Not Graze, no. We love those guys and use the service for the office, but they’re healthy snack guys, not coffee guys.
5. Do you use eco-friendly materials in your packaging?
Where ever possible, but it’s not simple and we have some way to go. As a small business we have to rely on stock packaging. Recycled/recyclable options are depressingly sparse as we have a lot of size constraints with Royal Mail. Once we have our own custom packs (watch this space) we’ll have a lot more opportunities for environmentally friendly packaging and inks.
6. You are obviously a small team at the moment. Who was responsible for the website and what user experience inputs did you use to design it?
Our site development is done in house. Our Head of Product & Community, James, stays in very close contact with our users, responding to every customer service query personally. This means he understands the user needs in incredible depth and is able to feed them back to our Developers.
7. Did you identify a specific need for users to be able to optimised a mobile-optimised version of the site or did you just build it responsively by default?
Responsive by default, as an interim solution to lacking native apps.
8. I give you credit for trimming the sign up and account pages back to their most important components. How hard was it to resist the temptation to add more features like more flexible deliver dates or additional products?
Not too hard. As with all startups we’re born out of scarcity (of cash, resource, data) which really helps to focus attention on what matters!
9. What to you is the most important or valuable part of the service you offer?
Great question. It’s a toss up between the quality of our coffee, and the reliability of our operations. You can tap ‘Ship ASAP’ on your smartphone at 12:59pm and have coffee on your doorstep the following morning. We’re working to push that back to 5pm or later. My dream is for same-day delivery at no extra cost, though that could be a little way off.
Extra reading: You can read my initial review of the end to end user experience of yourgrind.com to get a ‘flavour’ of what it’s about.