On Wednesday, Seesaw Coffee announced it completed its A + round of financing, bagging over 100 million yuan, with HeyTea as a new investor, followed by Hongyi Baifu, an old shareholder. This is the first time HeyTea has invested in a coffee brand.
HeyTea said that this capital cooperation was only the starting point of its expansion, and it would try its best to learn from and support Seesaw in the future. Investing in Seesaw will also help the milk tea brand stabilize its competitiveness in the middle and high-end tea fields.
Seesaw said this round of funds would be used for setting new stores, expanding the supply chain, and improving at a digital level nationwide.
Founded in Shanghai in 2012, Seesaw is a local boutique coffee brand, and the first domestic coffee brand to build its own supply chain. At present, Seesaw’s management team includes senior practitioners from top catering platforms such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, as well as post-90s young talents covering new-style tea, brand marketing and new retail.
Seesaw currently has 35 stores in China, mainly distributed in Shanghai, followed by Beijing and Hangzhou. Roughly 25 kinds of products are sold in each location, with a price range of 28 to 48 yuan.
Seesaw stores have seen continuous growth in the past 12 months, mainly owing to its over 1.5 million members and fans. The repurchase rate of creative coffee is as high as 40%.
On July 19th, rumors had it that HeyTea may acquire Lelecha, a popular milk tea brand. Yet, Nie Yunchen, the founder of HeyTea, responded he had abandoned the acquisition after deeply researching Lelecha’s business data and operation status.
According to the White Paper on China’s Freshly Ground Coffee Industry – released in April this year – the country’s coffee culture mainly permeates first-and second-tier cities, but coffee has gradually changed from “fashionable drinks” to “daily drinks” for most young people. This has prompted more and more coffee brands to seize the consumer market.
Hong Kong-listed Nayuki’s Tea, for instance, has launched a fine coffee product in its new store “Nayuki PRO” in November 2020.
Coffee brands are also receiving financing from tech giants. For example, Tencent invested in Algebraist Coffee in early July. Bytedance participated in the new round of financing of Manner in June. The online company Saturnbird Coffee announced the completion of 100 million of financing, making its market value rise to 4.5 billion yuan.