Private investment firm, RSE Ventures, will reportedly acquire a significant minority stake in the New York-based coffee shop chain is it seeks to double its US store numbers
The new investment, reported to be worth $19.5m in Bloomberg
, will drive the Melbourne-influenced specialty coffee chain’s plans to expand from 30 stores in six US cities to 60 sites across the country.
Founded in 2013, the artisan coffee shop chain currently operates in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, San Francisco and Los Angeles and has announced plans to open its first stores in Boston and Austin, Texas.
Hinting the coffee shop’s ambitions to expand beyond the US, Bluestone Lane founder and CEO, Nick Stone, said the “transformative” investment represented “an incredible opportunity to build a global lifestyle and hospitality brand.”
Allegra notes Bluestone Lane as being among a new crop of ‘5th Wave
’ operators, delivering hyper-professional, boutique coffee shop concepts at scale. With the exception of Nestlé-owned Bluebottle, which has opened sites in Japan, none have yet achieved global scale, with Bluestone Lane one of the first to strongly suggest it will do so.
Founded in 2012 by US entrepreneurs Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, RSE Ventures has built a portfolio of sports, media and consumer lifestyle brands, which include Asian fusion restaurant chain, Momofuku and artisan bakery group, Milk Bar. Billionaire Ross is also a major shareholder in boutique fitness chains, Equinox and SoulCycle, which Bluestone Lane has already collaborated with in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In a press statement the private investment firm said it would leverage its strategic resources to bolster Bluestone Lane’s presence as a premium lifestyle brand.
"Bluestone Lane is more than quality coffee with a side of Australian charm. It's a lifestyle of human connection and wellness," said RSE Ventures co-founder Matt Higgins, who also announced he will be joining the coffee chain's board.
RSE Ventures is likely seeking to capitalise on a growing consumer trend toward boutique, experience-led offerings and away from ‘cookie cutter’ branded coffee shop chains. Allegra research shows consumers in established coffee shop markets, especially millennials, are increasingly demanding more tailored experiences offering a combination of artisan coffee, innovative digital engagement and a focus on healthy living.
In 2016, Bluestone Lane became one of the first coffee shop chains to go completely cashless, later crediting the move with speeding up till queues, reducing vehicle movements and increasing staff efficiency.
Commenting on the new investment, Allegra CEO and founder, Jeffrey Young, said Bluestone Lane was “one of the best examples of a hugely successful 5th
Wave hospitality chain.”
“Bluestone Lane has gained significant traction with a highly sophisticated and trend-conscious US consumer base. There is no doubt this concept is poised for very strong and profitable growth over the next few years.”