The Culture of Philz
I have exciting news to share but more importantly, a story I want to tell. First, I’ll start with the news.
I’m humbled to share that we’ve closed our Series C funding round. Raising a total of $45M, including an investment by TPG Growth. As a part of this funding round, we will also be adding Jim Coulter, Co-founder and Co-CEO of TPG, and Sanjay Banker, a partner with TPG Growth, to our board of directors. We’ve spent a great deal of time getting to know TPG, and we believe they understand the essence of Philz. With their experience helping retail businesses grow and their ties to the San Francisco community, they’ll be a strong partner for us. Jim and Sanjay will work closely alongside our existing board members: Ron Johnson, Founder and CEO of Enjoy, Greg Goldfarb, Managing Director, Summit Partners, and my dad and me. TPG Growth is joining a committed and enthusiastic group of investors who together believe in Philz future.
We now have a strong foundation to build on as we grow into more cities and continue to perfect the experience, but we will do so carefully, staying humble in every respect and operating through the lens of our values.
My dad, Phil, was born in the ’50s and spent the first 15 years of his life in Palestine. He started working at a very young age because he had to help his family. He sold roasted coffee beans door to door that he purchased from a local roaster. Despite the hard work and struggle, the family would either host or visit a neighbor every night. They’d get together around a table and enjoy each other’s company. Coffee, tea and food would be prepped in the kitchen with care and love and served with the highest level of hospitality — warmth and comfort.
When my dad moved to the States, he continued working and eventually saved up enough money to open his own business — a corner grocery store in the Mission district in San Francisco. He worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week. Not because he had to, but because he loved it. He loved serving people, being known in his community, and being a good role model.
His passion for coffee didn’t go away either. Besides enjoying it by his parents’ side and selling it door to door as a kid, he dreamed about the perfect cup. Quickly, he came to the conclusion that the perfect cup of coffee goes beyond the coffee itself. First, it’s about preparing the cup perfectly for each person’s own individual taste. Secondly, it’s about community. There are not many things in the world that bring people together more powerfully than a cup of coffee and a great environment to enjoy.
Blends were my father’s method of choice. He was passionate about the idea of combining different single-origin beans from around the world to make a spectacular blend that collectively is better than its parts. Just as important to him was how each blend is a powerful symbol for connection, community and love. He also believed in using a preparation method that allowed for maximum personalization and connection, and that’s why every cup we brew, is made one cup at a time.
After perfecting his first blend (and my personal favorite) the Tesora, he decided to share it with his regulars at the grocery store. Their response? “This is the best coffee I’ve tried and I want it everyday!”
I’ve been part of the business helping my dad since I was nine years old, when I’d stand on top of milk crates and ringing people up at the register. At around the time my dad started sharing his coffee blends with his customers at the grocery store I was about 18. I disliked school because I felt like I was forced to learn stuff I wasn’t interested in from people who weren’t that interesting, so I left and decided to help my dad full time at what was soon to be Philz.
Uniquely, my dad gave me the opportunity at the age of 18 to run the business full time. Being a passionate, competitive, eager and business loving young man, I decided to take on the challenge with his ongoing support and mentorship.
Fast forward to today, we have nearly 40 stores in California, Washington D.C. and soon to be Boston. With 1,000 fantastic team members, our mission is the strongest it’s ever been and we are eager to share Philz in communities around the world. Our new round of funding will help us continue expanding into new communities, continue building an amazing team and culture, and improve our operational efforts to perfect the retail experience that Philz fans have grown to love.
We believe that the coffee table is one of the most powerful social networks, and our vision stems from a desire to build and transmit great values, positivity and community through the medium of coffee and food.
PS: Many people ask, why we put the “z” at the end of my dad’s name in our logo. The “z” is not an empty attempt to be “cool” or “mainstream,” it is an honest expression of who Phil is as a person. It speaks to his fearlessness, individuality and courage to go against the grain, which are all traits we embrace as a culture at Philz. Additionally, it makes it less about Phil, because Philz is about everyone.
If you haven’t already joined us for a cup of coffee, we hope you do one day!