James Freeman raised another $70 million for Blue Bottle coffee chain


Blue Bottle's James Freeman No appetite for a contentious dispute. - NIALLKENNEDY FLICKR

Blue Bottle, a California based coffee maker and retailer founded by CEO James Freeman, has closed a new $70 million round of funding led by Fidelity. Blue Bottle did not give its valuation.

In 2012, Blue Bottle raised $20 million from tech venture capitalists Index Ventures and True Ventures, Morgan Stanley, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Founders of Instagram and the founder of Twitter, and celebrities such as U2’s Bono, actor Jared Leto, and pro skateboarder Tony Hawk.

This round of funding has added to its growing list of backers the unit of one of the largest fund managers in the US, hedge fund Tetragon Financial Group via Fidelity Management and Research.

James Freeman, Blue Bottle’s founder and chief executive, told Financial Times that unlike many so-called third-wave coffee companies that are distributing their beans wholesale, he was focusing on the company’s own retail stores. “Retail is expensive but retail is rewarding if you get it right, ” he said.

The Blue Bottle coffee chain has locations in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and recently expanded to Tokyo.

In April, Blue Bottle acquired Tartine Bakery, which has its own cult following in the Bay Area, to help it to expand into other markets.


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