Former Xavier University (Louisiana) students unexpectedly tapped into a multi-billion-dollar coffee industry.

It would all begin with an investment in Tesla. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that friends-turned-co-founders Leonard Lightfoot, Jamin Butler, Branden Cole, Gino Jones, and Christopher Bolden made the investment in the automotive company after taking a trip to Detroit, MI’s Motown Museum in 2015.

During their visit, they learned about the parents of Berry Gordy, who started an investment fund that was supported by family members. Gordy took a low interest loan through the fund, which was a catalyst to the launch of the Motown record label.

The friends adopted a similar business model, pooling their money to invest in the stock market, and it paid off.

“We were early investors in Tesla,” Lightoot said, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle in Atlanta, GA.

Entrepreneurs In The Making

From there they were looking to become entrepreneurs, although they were not initially sure which industry to target. However, during a conference call to brainstorm, they realized three of them were already sipping on coffee. They jokingly tossed around the idea of coffee, and it later became a tangible goal after they looked further into the promise of the industry. Coffee was valued at $127 billion in 2022 and had a 4.7% compound annal growth rate, according to Coherent Market Insights’ latest report.

The Black Coffee Co.

In 2018, The Black Coffee Co. was created after three years of meetings, conference calls, and growing their investment fund. Its first product was a “Woke” coffee mug. It was not until the founders attracted the attention of Killer Mike and later participated in the rapper’s Atlanta pop-up event on Juneteenth 2020 that the opportunity to open a coffee shop came through.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the friends received an Instagram message from Killer Mike following their success at the pop-up. He offered them a chance to open a storefront to sell their coffee in Lakewood Heights, Atlanta. The founders contributed $10,000 collectively to turn the business pitch into a reality.

“We spent the next nine months building it out,” Lightfoot told the outlet.

In 2021, The Black Coffee Co.’s storefront was open, offering specialty coffee, loose leaf tea, and fresh-baked pastries. A portion of profits are donated to its educational fund aiding local minority youth, the company website mentions.

Success Of Business

What’s more, the business is fairing well. Its revenue has surged from approximately $74,000 in 2021 to surpass $277,000 the following year.

By the close of 2024, the founders are looking to reach $1.2 million in sales.

Additionally, they hope to expand their team and the business with the addition of a coffee truck. They have received financial boosts from the BeyGOOD Foundation ($10,000); Amazon ($10,000); and InvestATL ($20,000).

“We are trying to expand operations and reach,” Lightfoot explained to the outlet.