California-based coffee company Blue Bottle has secured another multimillion dollar round of funding. According to the Financial Times, the cult favorite roaster raised $70 million this week, adding multinational financial services corporation Fidelity Management to its list of investors — which also includes celebrities like U2 front man Bono and actor Jared Leto. Last January, the coffee company managed to secure $25.75 million in funding just two years after raising $20 million, which puts their grand total at just under $116 million so far. The company isn't done yet: Blue Bottle hopes to raise another $5 million from individual investors.
So far, Blue Bottle has used the money towards rapidly expanding its business. The chain recently acquired San Francisco's Tartine Bakery, and opened two cafes in Tokyo. There are plans to open a joint project with the bakery in a 15,800 square-foot warehouse in Brooklyn, as well as third location in Tokyo where Blue Bottle is proving to be very popular. The Financial Times writes that the company will most likely use the new round of funding to expand to other parts of Asia such as South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as well as up its presence in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
The speed and scale with which Blue Bottle has managed to obtain investment money and grown has "raised some eyebrows among some of San Francisco's coffee purists," notes the Financial Times. Some ex-Blue Bottle employees left to start their own independent coffee shops while complaining about the number of "management consultants now involved in the business." Is Blue Bottle trying to become the Chipotle of craft coffee shops?