Starbucks pumps US$100m into venture fund for food and retail start-ups

Starbucks Corporation has funded US$100 million into a new investment company Valor Equity Partners, in a bid to identify and invest in companies that are developing technologies, products, and solutions relating to food or retail.

This comes as Starbucks looks to support its talent with an innovation agenda accelerated by external relationships. The new fund also looks to raise an additional US$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 looks to grow with focus and discipline, embracing new ideas and innovations that are relevant to Starbucks customers, inspiring to its partners, and meaningful to its business.

Johnson said that the team aims to build on innovative ideas across beverage, experiential retail, and its digital flywheel. “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," he added.

Antonio J. Gracias, Valor’s founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer said that as experienced investors in food and retail technology, the team is "thrilled" to partner with Starbucks. "Under our partner Jon Shulkin’s leadership, we are incredibly excited to partner with Starbucks to drive innovation in the food and retail industries," he added.

Over its 20-year history, Valor’s team has worked with companies, principally in the consumer, engineered products, and services sectors. Some of its investments in the food and retail technology space include goPuff, Fooda and Sizzling Platter, to name a few. Valor combines entrepreneurial experience with operational and technical expertise to accelerate growth.

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