Many professionals need their first jolt of Java to fully awake in the morning. But as Britons are waking up to the wealth of the coffee on offer, they’re also becoming more demanding customers – only the best will do. This taste for the best beans is something the founders of Black Sheep Coffee have leveraged since the independent coffee shop chain launched in 2013. Now, on the back of a £13m influx of capital, they’re going global.
Having originally only aimed at raising £10m, the Black Sheep Coffee leadership decided to up the final sum after more potential private investors than expected reached out. The angels who’ve put their money into the company includes Tellef Thorleifsson, CEO of private equity firm Norfund and co-founder of VC firm Northzone Fund that has invested in UK fintech scaleup MarketInvoice among others. Thorleifsson is renowned for being the first investor in Spotify.
The list of investors also included Bill Shultz, president of Coca-Cola Canada and board member at Coca-Cola Global; Tore Myrholt, chairman for the board at global startup generator and early-stage VC firm Antler and former chairman of McKinsey Consulting Group; and Jacob Schram, former CEO at CircleK, the Canadian convenience store chain.
The new £13m round brings the total money invested into Black Sheep Coffee to £25m. This also increases the company’s valuation from £96.2m to £109.2m.
The chain plans to use the money to increase its global appearance from 34 stores to 70 by the end of 2019. With already a presence in Manila, it plans to open an additional store in the Philippines and increase its global presence starting in the United Arab Emirates this summer as well as working its way through Asia, the US, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Black Sheep Coffee will also invest in the further development of its new e-commerce platform where customers can buy a range of products, including coffee beans, barista equipment and t-shirts.
So far the company’s annual income has increased by 56% from £8.5m to £13.3m between the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. But on the back of the investment and the subsequent initiatives, the scaleup aims to reach £25m in annual sales by the final quarter of 2019.
Commenting on the new investment, Gabriel Shohet and Eirik Holth, co-founders and co-CEOs of Black Sheep Coffee, said: “We started Black Sheep Coffee to challenge big corporate brands on their sustainable approach and rid the world of boring, average-tasting coffee. We have made a conscious effort to stay clear of institutional investors in order to keep our independence and long-term vision for the brand. As we continue to grow globally, we’ll continue to adhere to our core values: sourcing the best beans in the world, hire the best baristas in town, get rid of plastic, support our homeless communities, never fear competition, open right next door instead.”
It’s evident Black Sheep Coffee’s co-founders have got their thinking caps on. And with their ambitious aims in mind, it will be interesting to see how the global markets respond to their intentions.