Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Jay z and Serena Williams invest in coffee business

Rapper-turned-mogul Jay-Z and tennis star Serene Williams are among the two celebrities who have thrown their weight behind Indonesian coffee chain Kopi Kenangan’s expansion plans, pumping in an undisclosed amount into the second round of the start-up’s Series A funding.

Founded in 2017 by school friends Edward Tirtanata, James Prananto and Cynthia Chaerunnisa, Kopi Kenangan raised US$20 million from Sequoia India in June. Last year, Kopi Kenangan pulled in US$8 million in seed funding from Alpha JWC. Series A funding is the name given to a company’s first significant funding from investors to grow the business.

The latest round of investments come courtesy of Williams-backed Serena Ventures and Arrive, an arm of entertainment company Roc Nation, which was founded by billionaire singer Jay-Z.

Basketball star Caris LeVert and Jonathan Neman, CEO of Sweetgreen, a start-up connecting food growers and consumers, have also injected cash into the Jakarta-based grab-and-go coffee chain.

“Kopi Kenangan has the vision to take [the brand] internationally on the global stage. That is why we decided to find investors that could help us with such brand-building,” the firm’s CEO Tirtanata told The Jakarta Post.

The beverage chain, which operates over 200 stores in 18 cities across the archipelago, has ambitious plans to add more than 1,000 new outlets over the next two years and expand across Southeast Asia.

It has been described as unabashedly “local” by American online publisher TechCrunch, which earlier this year described how its top-selling drink was “Es Kopi Kenangan Mantan”, a sweetened coffee with milk that uses palm sugar.

Kopi Kenangan, which sources ingredients and milk from local farmers, also expanded its online presence this year by launching an app that enables customers to pre-order to avoid queues in outlets.