Starbucks launches a new $100 venture fund targeting retail and food tech startups
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, is making a big bet on food and retail technology startups with a new $100 million venture fund called Valor Siren Ventures Fund. The fund will be managed by Valor Equity Partners and serve as a growth driver for the next generation of companies developing new technologies and products for the food and retail industry. The fund will also focus on new ideas and technologies that are relevant to customers, inspiring to partners (employees), and meaningful to the Starbucks business.
The Starbucks $100 million cornerstone commitment to VSV is the first of its kind for the company, and the new fund will seek to raise an additional $300 million in the coming months from other strategic partners and key institutional investors. Separately, Starbucks will also explore direct commercial arrangements with these start-ups. Under the leadership of Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and ceo, the company is growing with focus and discipline, embracing new ideas and innovations that are relevant to Starbucks customers, inspiring to its partners, and meaningful to its business.
The the new fund will also identify and invest in companies that are developing technologies, products, and solutions relating to food or retail. These verticals are increasingly relevant to Starbucks as it seeks to support its world-class talent with an innovation agenda accelerated by external relationships.
“We believe that innovative ideas are fuel for the future, and we continue to build on this heritage inside our company across beverage, experiential retail, and our digital flywheel,” said Johnson. “At the same time, and with an eye toward accelerating our innovation agenda, we are inspired by, and want to support the creative, entrepreneurial businesses of tomorrow with whom we may explore commercial relationships down the road. This new partnership with Valor presents exciting opportunities, not only for these startups, but also for Starbucks, as we build an enduring company for decades to come.”
Antonio J. Gracias, Valor’s Founder, Managing Partner, and Chief Investment Officer, said, “as experienced investors in food and retail technology, we are thrilled to partner with Starbucks, one of the most iconic and forward-thinking global brands. Under our partner Jon Shulkin’s leadership, we are incredibly excited to partner with Starbucks to drive innovation in the food and retail industries.”
Over its 20-year history, Valor’s team has worked with companies, principally in the consumer, engineered products, and services sectors. Examples of Valor’s investments in the food and retail technology space include goPuff, Fooda and Sizzling Platter, to name a few. Valor combines extensive entrepreneurial experience with operational and technical expertise to accelerate growth.