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Innovation & Job News

DC's first crowdfunded restaurant concept, Prequel, 40 percent funded after 6 days

Prequel, a pop-up restaurant space to be run by EquityEats, a crowdfunding platform for brick-and-mortar restaurant and bar concepts, has garnered quite a bit of attention since announcing it was open for investments six days ago.  More than 100 people have invested $82,700 as of press time; EquityEats hopes to raise $200,000 before the month-long funding campaign is over.

"We've made a lot of progress in the first [six] days," says Steve Lucas, cofounder of EquityEats.

Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, Prequel backers will get more than swag. Thanks to new "progressive equity crowdfunding regulations" passed by the D.C. government, says Lucas, backers will own an equity stake in Prequel, making or losing money as the concept itself does.

Those new "progressive regulations" (which have also been passed in 12 states along with the District) allow EquityEats to turn to everyday folk—not just accredited investors—and ask them to put their money where their mouths are. If D.C. residents like the idea of Prequel, they can choose to invest from $100 to $25,000. The key here is D.C. residents, not Virginia or Maryland residents. "The D.C. metro area is so tristate focused," says Lucas. "We can only go with D.C. residents."

EquityEats is limited to D.C. residents because the regulations passed by the D.C. government are for intrastate funding; so even though Maryland has its own funding agreements, Maryland residents can't invest in Prequel.

Lucas says that EquityEats is not relying solely on crowdfunding for Prequel. "We're putting up the lease deposit, which is roughly $60,000," he says. Prequel is slated for LivingSocial's former event space at 918 F St. NW. The concept will allow for up to five concurrent pop-up restaurants at one time.

"It will be like a movie theater for foodies," Lucas says, "with prix fixe menus and different seatings available." Patrons will buy tickets in advance or will be able to buy them at the seating, if there is space available.

EquityEats is currently "in talks" with a possible general manager for Prequel and is shooting for a spring opening for the space.

In the interest of full disclosure, Elevation DC's managing editor has invested in Prequel. By her math, she owns five thousandths of one percent of the company. Still, we thought you should know.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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