Flash Coffee to expand across Asia after raising $15 million more

12, Apr. 2021

A Flash Coffee barista preparing a latte. The company has digitalized the offline-dominated coffee industry with a consumer app that offers a streamlined pick-up feature. (Photo courtesy of Flash Coffee)
A Flash Coffee barista preparing a latte. The company has digitalized the offline-dominated coffee industry with a consumer app that offers a streamlined pick-up feature. (Photo courtesy of Flash Coffee)

SINGAPORE, NNA - Flash Coffee, a tech-enabled coffee startup, has raised $15 million in investments led by White Star Capital, to expand the brand in 10 markets across Asia, from Malaysia to Japan.

Backed by Berlin's venture capital company Rocket Internet, the Singapore-based chain also managed to garner the support of prominent investors such as Delivery Hero-backed DX Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Conny & Co in the Series A funding which has elevated its total capital to $20 million.

Launched in January 2020, Flash Coffee has proliferated to 50 locations across Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia quite quickly and attracted the attention of investors.

In its press release, Flash Coffee said it has "enjoyed strong traction" in these markets despite the pandemic, with most of the stores already achieving profitability and demonstrating the success of its app-supported business model.

Currently, Flash Coffee is opening at a rate of three new outlets each week. It will accelerate expansion to 10 store launches weekly till it hits the target of 300 additional outlets across Asia by the end of 2021.

CEO David Brunier and Sebastian Hannecker, who holds two positions as chief operations officer and chief financial officer, co-founded the company to make premium coffee accessible to Asia's rising middle class, said the press statement.

Brunier's previous experience as chief marketing officer of delivery company Foodpanda and Hannecker's work experience in Bain Consulting have helped shape Flash Coffee's disruptive grab-and-go business model, according to their statement.

This allows significant cost savings to be passed on to customers, it said. Our checks found Flash Coffee could be a dollar or two cheaper than rival's drinks. Its regular cappuccino is affordably priced at S$3.80.

Brunier said, "Our dream is to have a Flash Coffee every 500 meters in all major Asian cities."

"Strong investor support for our Series A round enables us to harness untapped potential in the region and replicate our success in seven new markets this year," he said.

They are Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

The company will build a regional HQ in Singapore and increase the staff strength of its regional tech hub in Jakarta to 50 people in order to fully leverage technology to improve customer experience, drive growth and boost operational efficiency.

Eric Martineau-Fortin, founder and managing partner at global investment firm White Star Capital, said, "We are pleased to support Flash Coffee in bringing its experience to millions of consumers across Asia. We believe that the brand's tech-enabled approach will drive its ability to provide high quality coffee and service at excellent value to address an underserved demand for affordable premium coffee in these rapidly expanding Asian markets."

Brendon Blacker, partner at DX Ventures, said he sees enormous potential for the business to attract a loyal customer following for its premium quality and highly innovative coffee menu.

The company has digitalized the offline-dominated coffee business with a consumer app that offers a streamlined pick-up feature, sophisticated loyalty program and personalized promotions.

Customers can use the app to order and pay online, pick up orders at its stores - which are easily identifiable because of their iconic yellow facade, or order delivery through major platforms in each market.

Its barista app is designed to improve operational efficiency at stores and enable performance-based incentives for baristas. This helps to boost good customer experience too.

Flash Coffee's coffee menu is curated by World Latte Art champion Arnon Thitiprasert. Using 100 percent Arabica beans, the range of beverages includes signatures such as Avo Latte, Nutella Latte and Lychee Espresso Soda.