Feeding the crowd

Feeding the crowd

Crowdfunding for bars and restaurants

Sydney is now home to the world’s first online crowdfunding platform dedicated to bars and restaurants, with East Sydney’s IconPark leading the charge.

Crowdfunding allows a fledgling business or creative project to go straight to investors to raise funds at cheaper rates, all online and with the help of social media. Platforms like Pozible and Kickstarter allow fund seekers to post a description of their project, specifying the amount they need and those interested in the project dedicate funds in return for rewards. If the target is reached, the funds pass to the promoter.

The nation’s second biggest crowdfunding project of 2013-2014, Ninja Block, was based here and raised over $700,000.

Traditionally the domain of artistic and community initiatives, crowdfunding platforms are increasingly attracting entrepreneurs. IconPark, based in East Sydney, is the first-ever platform for restaurateurs to accept concepts, in confidence, from food and beverage professionals hoping to see their idea become reality.

“We provide entrepreneurial support, display concepts online, and market them to the crowd,” said IconPark’s co-founder Dean McEnvoy. “The concept that receives the most support from the crowd has the right to an approved, licensed, fitted- out and ready- to- trade IconPark location for a three month season, fully funded.”

In 2013, IconPark launched their ‘Season 1’ campaign, promoting six promising restaurant concepts. The public voted Stanley Street Merchants the clear winner, easily meeting their target with 830 backers pledging $281,370 in just 21 days. Their team is now successfully operating in Stanley Street until mid- August.

Stanley Street Merchants attribute success to their popular “locally foraged / internationally recognised” formula, featuring an award- winning menu from WA Chef Matt Stone that prioritises sustainable local produce and artisanal wine brands.

“Stanley Street Merchants have shown they have a proven model and have validated their idea. The three month operating period they won is designed as a platform to showcase their idea, their talents, and to assess market traction,” said McEnvoy.

“Even those who did not win in the first round have definitely benefited from entering, and have been approached by commercial interests and investors.”

Season 2 is now open, so head to IconPark if you have a great concept.

Last updated: Wednesday, 9 July 2014