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UK specialty coffee chain BEAR seeking to raise £2m to fuel outlet growth

The seven-store coffee chain says crowdfunding will enable it to open 22 new sites over the next five years and maintain its positive sales growth

BEAR achieved 39% year-on-year revenue growth in the 12 months ending 31 March 2024 | Photo credit: BEAR


UK specialty coffee chain and bar concept BEAR is seeking to raise £2m ($2.5m) in its first crowdfunding campaign to kickstart outlet growth across the country. 

Founded in 2016 by Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley, BEAR now operates seven outlets across the Midlands and Cheshire and plans to open 22 new stores over the next five years. 

The business, which also serves direct to consumers via an online store and an at-home coffee subscription service, achieved 39% year-on-year revenue growth in the 12 months ending 31 March 2024 – exceeding £5m ($6.4m) in annual revenue run rate for the first time.  

BEAR has generated £15m ($19.1m) in revenue to date and forecasts five-fold sales growth by 2029. 

“Over the past eight years, we have cultivated a fiercely loyal and engaged audience, expanded our online presence, and continuously evolved the brand to meet the needs of the communities that are local to our stores. This crowdfunding campaign offers loyal guests, dedicated team members, and coffee enthusiasts across the UK and Europe a unique opportunity to own a part of BEAR and share in its future success,” said Craig Bunting, co-founder, BEAR. 

In 2022, BEAR raised investment from family coffee company Clark Group, which also counts London-based boutique hospitality group Grind among its investment portfolio. 

BEAR is the latest UK specialty coffee business to turn to external investment to realise its growth ambitions.  

In March 2023, Grind completed a £15m ($17.1m) investment round to open new stores and scale its ready-to-drink business. Specialty coffee roaster Origin Coffee sold a minority stake in its business for the first time in October 2023, securing £3.1m ($3.8m) to scale its digital, direct-to-consumer, retail and wholesale channels. 

In December 2023, WatchHouse completed a £7.9m ($10m) funding round to scale its UK and US store footprint, before raising a further £7.2m ($9m) via crowdfunding in May 2024. 

Specialty coffee roasters and café chains 92 Degrees and Redemption Roasters have also received new capital within the last six months, with EL&N and Black Sheep Coffee among those currently raising funds to accelerate outlet expansion. 

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