During the company’s annual investor meeting, Starbucks Coffee today announced the launch of Valor Siren Ventures L.P. (VSV), a new $100 million fund to support “the next generation of food and retail start-up companies.”
Starbucks will partner with Valor Equity Partners on the new fund, the first of its kind for the coffee giant. VSV will “identify and invest in companies that are developing technologies, products, and solutions relating to food and retail,” according to a press release. The fund will seek to raise an additional $300 million from strategic partners and institutional investors in the coming months.
“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 Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a statement. “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.”
Chicago-based Valor Equity Partners has previously invested in technology driven companies such as restaurant POS platform Chowly and robotics developer ROAM.
Starbucks has previously acquired brands like organic beverage maker Evolution Fresh and tea maker Teavana.
Starbucks also used the annual meeting to announce it will begin testing both recyclable and compostable cups at stores in New York, Seattle, London and Vancouver, British Columbia over the next year.
The company is also focusing on store redesign, according to a press release. Starbucks will begin “modernizing the customer experience” across all touchpoints beginning this summer in New York City. COO Roz Brewer suggested the changes will be influenced by an expansion of the brand’s delivery and loyalty rewards programs.
“I don’t want anyone to walk away today thinking this is about furniture or a new renovation strategy,” said Brewer. “Reimagining the [store] is about listening to our customers, so we can better position our business now and for the future.”