The development comes less than a week after the 18-month-old company announced $150 million in Series B “plus” funding led by the giant asset manager BlackRock, which pumped $125 million into the company in a deal that values Luckin at $2.9 billion.
As TechCrunch reported last Wednesday, BlackRock also owns a nearly 7 percent stake in Starbucks, the nearly 50-year-old American coffee company that has taken over the world and now finds itself in a knock-down-drag-out battle with the Beijing-based upstart.
It’s hard to blame BlackRock for hedging its bets. While Starbucks now enjoys a market cap of nearly $94 billion and its stock has more than doubled over the last five years to a current $76 per share, Luckin has been growing like gangbusters, fueled by the more than $550 million it has raised to date, including a $200 million Series A round that it closed last July, and a $200 million Series B round that it announced in December.
Indeed, while Starbucks has opened up 3,600 stores across 150 cities in China since first emerging on the scene 20 years ago, Luckin has already opened 2,000 outlets, including prep kitchens and pick-up stations across 22 cities. More amazing, or crazy, depending on your view, Luckin plans to more than double that number by the end of this year. Starbucks has meanwhile announced plans to double the number of stores it has in China over the next five years.
In addition to BlackRock, others of Luckin’s backers include Centurium Capital, Joy Capital, GIC, and Legend Capital.