Indie coffee and lifestyle chain targets national growth with £2m equity raise

Craig Bunting (Boughtons Coffee House Magazine / Fabio De Paola)

BEAR, the Derby indie coffee brand, has launched its maiden crowdfunding campaign, targeting £2m to support further growth in the Midlands and national expansion.

BEAR serves sustainably-sourced speciality coffee, seasonal food, cocktails and craft beer.

Since opening its first store in 2016, BEAR has expanded to operate from seven locations across the Midlands and Cheshire—Uttoxeter, Derby, Stone, Derbion, Northwich, Ashbourne, and Nottingham.

BEAR says it aims to more than quadruple its footprint across the UK and plans to open 22 new stores over the next five years. The firm says its revenues are up by almost 40% for the year ending March 31.

Founded by lifelong friends Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley, BEAR began as a business inspired by Craig’s travels in Australia and Michael’s adventurous Royal Marines background.

What started in a shed with a supermarket espresso machine has grown and now employs 130 people.

Investors in the campaign will receive a range of rewards, from free coffee and brunch to exclusive discounts and lifetime subscriptions to BEAR’s at-home coffee range.

Craig Bunting, co-founder of BEAR, said: “Since opening the doors of our first store in 2016, BEAR has become more than just a place to grab a coffee; it’s a community hub where like-minded individuals come together to enjoy great coffee, delicious food, and a welcoming atmosphere.

“Our brand ethos is built on adventure, connection, and lifestyle, creating spaces that encourage people to connect and share experiences. That’s why, 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.”