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Tag Archives: Food truck

New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

13 Feb

PayPal shows support for women and the crowdfunding industry by sponsoring the Finding the Bright Spots: Women & Capital Event on March 4th

By Robert Hoskins

Launch Angels, an investment platform focused on equity crowdfunding deals and based in Boston, MA, is now offering two programs programs that will allow investors to begin backing women-focused startups.

New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

First, Launch Angels and co-sponsor PayPal are hosting Finding the Bright Spots: Women & Capital, a March 4th event on how women entrepreneurs and investors are finding “bright spots” in equity.

Second, Launch Angels is opening its Women-Led Fund to accredited investors. This is the first fund dedicated to searching equity crowdfunding platforms for investments in women-led startups.

Finding the Bright Spots features a panel on funding sources disrupting male-centric models. It will explore how women entrepreneurs and investors are succeeding empowered by crowdfunding, accelerators, angels and venture capital.

Kara Miller, host and executive editor of “Innovation Hub” (which airs on 89.7 WGBH and SiriusX) will moderate. The keynote will be delivered by Michelle Watson, CIO of First Republic Investment Management. Panelists include Daily Grommet CEO Jules Pieri, Techstars Managing Director Katie Rae and ClearSky Data CEO Ellen Rubin. The free event is set for 6:00-8:30 PM at One International Place, Boston, with reservations through EventBrite.

Launch Angels CEO Shereen Shermak will kick off the evening. Shermak observed, “I’m an entrepreneur and angel, so I’ve seen that women are underfunded and under-represented in the C-suite. But trends—including equity crowdfunding—are changing the story. Launch Angels is pleased to be part of that through this event and our Women-Led Fund. Matching angels with women-led and -focused businesses needing capital benefits women, investors and the economy.”

A good example of crowdfunding at work is the event caterer, Mei Mei. This Boston-based company recently expanded their business from a food truck to a restaurant thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. Two members of the sibling management team are female.

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New Restaurant and Food Truck Crowdfunding Platform Allows Anyone to Launch a Food Service Business

23 Apr

By Robert Hoskins

Foodstart.com opened its virtual fundraising doors for restaurants nationwide in the United States to provide a new finance to help restaurant and food truck owners can raise capital online in small increments from their extended community of friends, family, and future customers. Only instead of a cash return, backers receive perks and rewards like free dessert, discounts, and cooking workshops.

Restaurant and food truck owners now can raise capital online in small increments from their extended community of friends, family, and future customers.

Restaurant and food truck owners now can raise capital online in small increments from their extended community of friends, family, and future customers.

Among its unique offerings: a$1,000 seed-match for businesses, physical cards for backers, and a free, social-media marketing program.  In other words, Foodstart.com enables debt-free financing while also creating a loyal customer base.

“We did a lot of research before starting,” Founder Alex Sheshunoff said.  “Turns out, when it comes to restaurants, many people want to feel like they are on the inside as much as they want a specific financial return. Which makes sense. If you give a friend $200 for his restaurant, you don’t want an 8% return on your money – that’s $16.  Instead, you want your name on a menu item and a behind-the-scene tour.”

Sheshunoff explained that he came up with the idea after being unable to invest in a friend’s new restaurant.  “My friend had a good concept and a great location. I wanted to give him $500, mostly so I could say I was an early backer.  He wanted to take it, but there was no mechanism for him to handle such a small amount. I figured we weren’t the only one with this problem – there are 22,000 independent restaurants started every year.”

Foodstart.com has been up in beta for just a few months, but already more than 30 restaurants and food trucks have signed on, perhaps enticed by its low 4% fee and lack of setup costs.  One was Wilson’s BBQ in Fairfield, Connecticut.  Proprietor Ed Wilson wanted to expand to a second location so turned to Foodstart. “After I posted my campaign,” Wilson explained, “Foodstart sent me some custom fliers.  Turns out, one of my customers is an investment banker, and it looks like we’re going to get all of our funding!”

Sheshunoff chose to focus restaurants and food trucks because of the emotional appeal they have for people.  “No one is really excited to invest $100 in a friend’s dental practice to get a free teeth cleaning.”  He admits that raising money from a broad group isn’t a new idea. “The Green Bay Packers first sold shares to the public in 1923.  Even though shareholders get only a certificate and a behind-the-scenes tour, they now have 360,000 shareholders  – and the most passionate fans in football.  We’re just applying the samBe concept to restaurants.”

Foodstart.com advisory board member, Steve Rockwell a restaurant industry consultant and former equity research analyst, said this kind of community-funding model will be a key part of restaurant finance in the future. And Rockwell should know.  He’s helped companies such as Ruby Tuesday, Outback Steakhouse, Papa John’s, and Jamba Juice raise over $1 billion in public and private equity. “Most independent restaurant owners have limited financing options.  A platform like Foodstart’s not only helps them raise capital, but almost as importantly, it creates a network of loyal customers.  And that’s something traditional sources of capital have a hard time doing.”

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