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Bobby Hashemi is an investor at Union Ventures, a private investment vehicle that he founded in 2012, focused on investing and supporting growth companies across the UK consumer / leisure sectors.
Bobby is a successful UK entrepreneur and investor with over 20 years’ experience in the consumer sector across three aspects - as an entrepreneur who has built a leisure business from scratch into a well-known national brand, as an investor partner in an established private equity investment fund, and as an advisor in a major US investment bank.
Bobby started his career as an investment banker in mergers and acquisitions at Lehman Brothers Investment Bank in New York City. He had been there for over three years when the sudden death of his father in 1993 led him to take a sabbatical to spend time in London, closer to his family. Bobby was considering returning to Lehman Brothers after his sabbatical when he spotted a business opportunity - a gap in the market for coffee drinks in the UK. Bobby saw this as a seed for a new business venture and the idea of Coffee Republic was born.
Bobby formed the Coffee Republic chain with his sister Sahar. Bobby then lead Coffee Republic Plc from its inception to position as one of the best-known coffee bar brands in the UK, a London Stock Exchange quoted company with annual sales of £30 million and 100 stores across the UK. As CEO and then Executive Chairman, he was involved in all aspects of growing and running the business - including strategy, branding, operations, finance and fundraising.
The business was founded in late 1995, floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1997, raised £20 million equity over the following 3 years, and by 2001 when Bobby exited the business, the share price had risen by 5x since its flotation. Then two years later, he re-joined the business from 2003 - 2006 to lead a turnaround of the business and develop the Coffee Republic Deli concept.
From 2007 – 2012, Bobby was a partner and shareholder at Risk Capital Partners, an established private equity investment firm with a £75 million fund investing in growth companies across the UK, where he participated in originating, appraising, executing, and monitoring deals across the consumer sector.
Anyone can Do It
Bobby has co-authored Anyone Can Do It, a UK number one best-selling business book about entrepreneurship and building a business, translated into six languages and distributed internationally.
It tells the story of the high street coffee chain Coffee Republic. The book is written jointly by Sahar and Bobby Hashemi and describes the journey of turning Coffee Republic from an idea into a high street brand. The book is aimed at budding entrepreneurs, those starting up in business, as well as corporate managers seeking to understand the entrepreneurial mindset in order to be more creative within a corporate environment.
Bobby is regularly invited to speak about entrepreneurship, building a business, fundraising, private equity investing and the consumer and leisure sectors, and has presented to a variety of audiences and at a number of national events including Imperial College, Barclays Bank, Visa Card, Institute of Directors, Fast Track, Talk Radio, British Franchise Association, London Business School, Robert Gordon University and En Passant Magazine.
- "Daily Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. 24 April 2006.
- "Management Today".
- "The Franchise Magazine".
- "The Business Desk".
- "Imperial College Events".
- "En Passant Magazine".