Sunday, November 18

Australia’s first restaurant to use equity crowdfunding opens for investment

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Sash Restaurant is inviting fans to put their money where their mouth is, announcing plans to equity crowdfund its next stage of growth as it expands into Sydney and new markets internationally. Sash Restaurant carved out a niche with its Japanese-style pizza after launching in the Australian food capital of Melbourne in August 2017. The opening marked a whole new food concept not before seen anywhere else in the world.

Now, restaurant owner Dave Nelson and his business partners have unveiled bold plans to expand the concept into a global hospitality group, spanning Australian major cities and international cities, starting with Brisbane, LA, Ho Chi Minh City and Oslo.

Sash are inviting fans to buy shares in their business matched with a range of unique benefits in a bid to raise up to $550,000. These benefits range from discounts, complimentary networking dinners, the ability to skip the lines on busy nights, concierge bookings, VIP seating and voting rights. Their equity crowdfunding bid is being hosted by Australian platform Birchal and launches publicly on 14th August.

Money raised will support the launch of the Sydney restaurant, set for early October, fund expansion into new cities next year and also fund the creation of a licensing and partnership strategy. Nelson says he considered further private investment or venture capital to fund the next phase of growth but favoured equity crowdfunding because it enabled him to tap into existing restaurant fans and grow his tribe.

“We can see that equity crowdfunding will enable us to build a community who can come on our journey with us and become part of our own tribe of followers as we extend into Sydney, four doors down Chin Chin in Surry Hills,” he says.

“We really want our community to be part of the Sash family and our growth, as we take this concept to Sydney and around the world,” Nelson says.

Birchal co-founder Matt Vitale says a growing number of Australian food and beverage brands are among the small businesses taking advantage of recent legislative changes that gives unlisted public companies the opportunity to raise up to $5 million via the ‘crowd’.

“Access to funding has been a persistent problem for early stage businesses, including food and drink businesses in Australia. Most founders have been limited to raising funds from family, friends, or using expensive debt to start businesses, until now. When executed successfully, businesses get the funding they need, and a tribe of fiercely passionate ambassadors who love their business and will try to make everyone they know love it too” Vitale says.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to invest in the brands they love. We’re thrilled to be working with Sash on Australia’s first crowdfunded restaurant group. We’re excited by what opening up this form of funding means for the hospitality industry more broadly”

Nelson says that Sash positions itself between fine and casual dining, likening it to a modern-day, fun version of Nobu. Their Japanese-style sashimi pizzas, tacos and sliders have become an institution on Chapel Street in Melbourne, with globally inspired funky dishes seen nowhere else on the planet alongside traditional Japanese options, such as sushi, sashimi and seafood.

“We stumbled across a sashimi-style pizza that won pizza of the year award in Las Vegas and we were pretty blown away by it, so we saw an opportunity to bring a whole new cuisine to the world,” Nelson says.

“We have strategically positioned ourselves a level under Japanese fine dining. The world already has some truly amazing and successful Japanese fusion concepts that have scaled globally, but we see an enormous gap in the market in the casual dining sector that opens up a broader market,” he says.

The pizza-style base is made with blackened squid ink dough, the other is built on crisp oven-baked rice and topped with sashimi-style tuna with avocado, strawberry, mango and wasabi mayo. Or, there’s pulled pork, sweet chilli and apple slaw salad. These are served with Harajuku-style cocktails and finished with macaron.”

Keep an eye on the Sash crowdfunding campaign here – https://www.birchal.com/company/sash

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Paul Towers is a passionate supporter of the Australian startup ecosystem and the Founder of Startup Soda. Originally, Startup Soda was solely a newsletter that helped curate the best content from the Australian startup community, more recently however it has turned into a media platform with the aim of improving coverage of Australian Startups, Founders and VC's.

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