Coffee chain Blue Bottle lands $20M investment

Blue Bottle Coffee Co. has raised $20 million in investments and named a new CEO, prompting speculation about what the Bay Area chain known for its slow pours and long lines has in store for coffee lovers.

True Ventures and Index Ventures bought the controlling stake, which was disclosed on an SEC filing. The filing lists venture capitalist Bryan Meehan as the new president and chief executive officer. Blue Bottle founder James Freeman is listed as the director, as are Mike Volpi of Index Ventures and Tony Conrad of True Ventures.

True Ventures announced the bankroll on its blog, which also mentions Meehan’s previous investments in organic supermarket chain Fresh & Wild (acquired by Whole Foods) and luxury natural skincare company Nude Skincare.

Volpi of Index Ventures is a former top exec at Cisco and once led online TV startup Joost. Another fun fact: Om Malik of True Ventures is a tech writer and founder of San Francisco tech media site GigaOM.

While Blue Bottle stayed quiet Tuesday, Twitter and blogs were alight with curiosity about the investment and possible expansion of the Oakland-grown company, which has six locations in San Francisco and Oakland, not including about a half dozen farmers market locations. It has another four stores in New York.

Wired reports that the new funding is more than four times the 2008 investment Blue Bottle took from the VC firm Kohlberg Ventures, which totaled less than $5 million.

Will the investment put the slow-roast, expertly-poured, savor-each-sip coffee company in every food court and on every city block?

Look out Starbucks.

Heather Somerville Heather Somerville (193 Posts)

Heather Somerville reports on consumer affairs, retail and technology for the Bay Area News Group. She lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys rock climbing, yoga and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge.