Welcome to Halo … the world’s best coffee, in a way that’s best for the world.

March 7, 2017

I love it when people who talk about ideas, actually go ahead and make them happen. A couple of years ago a friend of mine, Brett King, an Aussie consultant who wrote the seminal book Bank 2.0 on the digitisation of banking, went off to NYC and made his vision happen, with an incredible start-up called Moven.

Now, Nils Leonard, a high-flying creative from the world of advertising has thrown in his prestigious job as chairman and chief creative officer of Grey London, to launch a new brand, Halo.

He enters the gourmet coffee business, with the first fully compostable coffee capsule (how long have we loved Nespresso, but complained about the non-recyclable pod?). In typical advertising gusto, he frames it as “the world’s best coffee in a way that’s best for the world.”

Nils is a guy with passion – for better coffee, for sustainability, and of course, for brands. What better way than to find an anomaly in a premium market, and close it.

Looking up on your way home in Euston station tonight, you might even catch the brand’s first ad on the station’s giant digital screens. The work graphically illustrates the startling fact that 13,500 capsules are put into landfill every minute. An online version expands on the message.

“The best brands are the ones you can imagine launching any product and you would know how it would feel – like if Audi launched a vacuum cleaner. We wanted Halo to feel good. It’s super simple and behaves like a premium brand. After 20 years of looking after everyone else’s brand, it’s terrifying creating your own.”

Already the Halo team is looking ahead to other possible coffee-related product innovations, including more energy-efficient coffee machines, which are based on technology that is over 20 years old. Nils added that future Halo branded products might not necessarily be coffee-related.

He said, “In advertising, there is a lot of talk about IP, but it tends to mean thinking up a new product that people wouldn’t give a s**t about. In our game we get close to clients and we see what’s needed. There wasn’t an amazing coffee capsule, and [existing capsules] are killing the planet. We’ve solved those problems.”

Halo capsules are compatible with popular Nespresso coffee machines, but at $12 for 10, they cost up to three times as much as their mainstream rival. The premium prices reflect the premium coffee they contain, including Kopi Luwak Diamond beans, which have not previously been available in capsule form.

Nils met his Halo co-founders, David Foster and Richard Hardwick, through a former colleague at Grey. He said, “They were making the most amazing coffee at events, and they showed me an early version of the Halo. I’d read about the problem and we worked together to innovate on the pod.”

The fourth partner in Halo is Andrew Richardson, who was previously a business director at Nespresso. The four men are backed by a small group of investors.

Halo has signed deals with three hotel chains, and is available to buy online at halo.coffee, either as a single purchase or on a subscription model. It can be shipped anywhere in the world, and there is also a K-Cup version ready for the USA.

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