Starbucks announced Wednesday (March 20) it is investing $100 million in the new Valor Siren Ventures fund, which aims to invest in the next generation of food and retail startup tech companies.
In a press release, Starbucks said the new fund, which is being managed by Valor Equity Partners, will identify and invest in companies developing technologies, products and solutions geared toward the food and/or retail markets. Those areas are becoming more important to Starbucks as the company seeks to drive growth by inking external relationships to drive innovation.
Starbucks said in the press release that the investment is the first of its kind for the company, and that the new fund is seeking $300 million in additional capital in the coming months from strategic partners and institutional investors. Starbucks also said it will explore direct commercial arrangements with the startups.
“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 Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks, in the press release. “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.”
The investment from Starbucks comes as the operator of coffee chains is opening up hundreds of locations each year in China, and hit a milestone by opening its 30,000th location in Shenzhen. The company launched its first store in Seattle in the 1970s. "The opening of Starbucks' 30,000th store is a proud moment for all Starbucks partners" said Johnson. "Over the past 48 years, we have worked to build a different kind of company based on a mission grounded in the human experience, the world’s finest coffees and a constant pursuit of doing good.”