Millennial Entrepreneur Raises $20M to Expand the ‘Business of Kindness’ at La La Land Kind Cafe

La La Land Kind Cafe is a chain of coffee shops with the purpose of normalizing kindness and hiring and mentoring foster youth.

Dallas-based La La Land Kind Cafe has secured a significant investment of $20 million. This funding has been provided by John Phelan, the co-founder and chairman emeritus of MSD Capital LP and founder of Rugger Management LLC, and private investor Andy Teller. The company announced the boost earlier in July.

La La Land Kind Cafe is a chain of coffee shops with the purpose of normalizing kindness while hiring and mentoring foster youth.

Founder and CEO Francois Reihani opened his first La La Land Kind Cafe location when he was 23 years old.

With the investment, La La Land Kind Cafe said it plans to expand its operations and open new locations throughout the United States.

“We are excited to use this investment to continue our mission of making the world a kinder, happier place,” said Reihani. “We believe that kindness is the key to a better future, and we are committed to making a difference in the lives of our guests, employees, and communities that we serve.”

‘Kindness first, coffee second’

Since 2019, La La Land Kind Cafe has opened 11 locations in the Dallas and Houston areas and in Southern California, with the purpose of normalizing kindness and empowering foster youth aging out of the foster care system.

La La Land Kind Cafe provides paid on-the-job and customer service training, mentorship, and assistance with job placement, housing, schooling, and therapy for foster youth.

“Kindness first, coffee second is the company’s motto,” Reihani said.

Since opening La La Land Kind Cafe, Reihani has received many opportunities and offers from banks and venture capitalists, but he said such a transactional deal never felt right.

That’s until he was introduced to Phelan and Teller.

Reihani said that since their introduction two years ago, he has been able to build a true relationship with both men, leading this investment to feel more like a bond and partnership than a financial arrangement.

The power of human connection

“We are thrilled to partner with John and Andy. Their experience and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to grow our business and positively impact the world.” Teller said in a statement. “We are excited to invest in La La Land Kind Cafe and its social mission.”

Both Phelan and Teller said they understand that La La Land Kind Cafe is not just a coffee shop and that it is about making a greater impact on society.

Their passion for La La Land Kind Cafe’s mission is what drew Reihani to finalize this next phase of the business, the company said.

“Francois and his team have built an incredible company,” Phelan said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting their growth and helping them achieve their financial and social goals. La La Land Kind Cafe is raising the standard of what we should expect from companies. A business can give back, care about the community, and serve high-quality products while being profitable.”

The company said that for Reihani, this next phase of its business is more than just about company growth.

“I believe this is a huge step into our path to bringing a deeper human connection to ‘strangers.’ It’s a long-term life goal for me and as we are able to get the right backing of people who believe in what we are doing, it’s a special thing to create and run something that physically brings humanity closer together,” Reihani said. “In hospitality we are normally the only ‘strangers’ someone speaks to outside close friends or family. This means we physically represent humanity. We’re changing standards by not only creating the environment that brings happiness but interactions that show the power of humans being connected, and telling hundreds of thousands of humans a year that we love them. Words that are now not heard often. That’s what is exciting. To expand that power.”

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R E A D   N E X T

  • La La Land Kind Cafe—the coffee shop chain that's been "normalizing kindness" since it opened its first cafe in 2017 on Lower Greenville in Dallas—will debut its first drive-thru location in Richardson Saturday. Offering internship programs for youths who've aged out of foster care, the brand has a goal of spreading both opportunity and joy. That's won nice rewards for its founder, former SMU Cox School of Business student François Reihani, who made the cover of Entrepreneur's "Young Millionaires" issue and landed on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Social Impact list.

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