NextSeed is getting into the pop-up business. The popular crowd funding platform — responsible for helping almost 50 business raise close to $10 million — has launched the NextSeed Space to serve as a forum for restaurants to test ideas before opening a brick and mortar.
Located at The Hub at Greenway Plaza, the first NextSeed Space is a restaurant space that will feature a rotating series of pop-ups. Tenants will sign short term leases as a means to test ideas and build a following. If they prove successful, they can use the platform to raise additional funds towards opening a permanent location.
“One of the biggest hurdles for a small business is the build-out process," NextSeed CMO Abe Chu said in a statement. "A talented chef or designer might be very skilled at their craft, but many other factors are critical to opening a storefront including the capital raise, lease negotiation, design, permitting, construction and marketing. Finding ways to assist the entrepreneur in reducing complexity and controlling risks at this juncture is critical.”
First up is The Waffle Bus. Having raised $107,000 via the platform for its first brick and mortar location in The Heights, the month-long pop-up will provide Waffle Bus owner Phi Nguyen and his team with valuable experience that should make the transition easier.
According to Chu, the Greenway Plaza outpost is only the first NextSeed Space. Future outposts could focus on retail, fitness, and other concepts where signing a short term lease could make sense for both landlord and tenant.
Chu says that he has received interest from other landlords who want the concept at their properties, too. Shopping centers and mixed-use developments want new tenants who will bring some buzz to their developments, but they don't always have the time or resources to vet potential candidates. Working with NextSeed becomes a win-win.
“We see what’s happening in the marketplace as our window to minimize obstacles for everyone’s gain,” said Chu. “You’ve got creative small businesses that lack experience and funds, banks and investors that rely on longer leases for capital, and landlords who are not always equipped to handle the additional time and resources necessary to curate and nurture a revolving mix of pop-up tenants.”