American coffee chain, Starbucks Corporation has announced $100 million investment in Valor Siren Ventures (VSV) I L.P, a new venture fund from private equity investment firm Valor Equity Partners. The fund will serve as a growth driver for the next generation of food and retail start-up technology companies.
Managed by Valor Equity Partners, the new fund will 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 talent with an innovation agenda accelerated by external relationships.
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 president and CEO, Kevin Johnson, Starbucks is growing with focus and discipline, embracing new ideas and innovations that are relevant to Starbucks customers, inspiring to its partners and meaningful to the business.
“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 towards 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 start-ups, but also for Starbucks, as we build an enduring company for decades to come.”
“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,” added Antonio J. Gracias, Valor’s founder, managing partner and chief investment officer.