Did you just say $25 million? Excuse us for spitting out our cold-brewed coffee.
According to a report by Kara Swisher of Re/Code, Blue Bottle Coffee, the Oakland-based hipster coffee company turned tech darling, just raised $25.27 million for future projects in a matter of months.
The fundraising was reportedly fueled by investor heavyweights including Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and Google Ventures, with significant funds coming from “a group of mutual funds and investment vehicles” organized by Morgan Stanley Investment Management, according to the New York Times' DealBook.
While the 12-year-old company has been no stranger to success (lines have been wrapped around its doors for years), the impressive gain has set Blue Bottle up for years to come.
Company founder James Freeman told Re/Code the company plans to use the funds to “expand retail operations, improve internal training programs and further develop its quality control department.”
Compared to coffee giants like Starbucks, the company is still small. (The micro-roaster has just 11 locations -- including a kiosk -- throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.) But, as Business Insider noted, since it opened its first location in 2005, the company's revenue has increased about 50 percent annually.
“We want to build our company, but also have the artisanship of it remain intact,” Freeman told Re/Code. “There is a growing interest and enthusiasm for specialty coffee, so we also want people to feel like it is also accessible.”
The Blue Bottle quality code is strict. The company only sells coffee that was roasted within the last 48 hours and is famous for its Japanese-style siphon coffee technique.
But can the quality continue with growth? Freeman hopes so, but won't sacrifice the former for that latter.
“Could we be the first 20-store chain, or 50- or 100-store chain that doesn’t suck?” said Freeman to the New York Times. “What’s important to me is that the coffee gets better every year.”