Peli Peli Austin is First Restaurant to Raise $1 Million!

Peli Peli Austin


Dear new family members!

We cannot thank you enough for believing in Peli Peli and what we are trying to accomplish. If you had told us that we would hit $1 Million when we started this, we would not have believed you!

-Peli Peli’s Thank You to Investors

Peli Peli Austin was the first restaurant to raise $1 Million from ordinary investors online – many restaurateurs thought it was impossible. But this isn’t Kickstarter. (The most any restaurant has raised on Kickstarter is $310,225 – only 6 restaurants have raised over $100,000 in the entire history of Kickstarter).

The founders of Peli Peli restaurant group (Peli Peli), Chef Paul, Michael and Thomas, are a force in Houston, the 4th largest city in the U.S. They built Peli Peli from the ground up, converting people to South African food and the Peli Peli experience since 2009. They’ve won competitions like CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, been featured in many shows and publications and have 2 Peli Peli restaurants listed in the Top 10 Restaurants in Houston on TripAdvisor. They’re prominent in the Houston community for hosting charitable events, pop-up concepts, penning articles sharing their entrepreneurial knowledge – and expanding like crazy.

Peli Peli is wonderfully diverse, colorful and bold – a place that makes Houston, Houston. It’s more than just a good restaurant: Peli Peli changes the way people think about Houston as a city. And as leaders in entrepreneurship, they’re always looking forward and seeking out new, better ways to evolve and operate. Peli Peli proved what was possible for restaurateurs by raising funds from ordinary people. Not only did they forge a new path in how businesses could finance growth, but they also showed how a business could link up with people to support each other.

Raising funds is no easy feat for anyone – and even successful businesses need to raise funds to expand quickly. That meant giving up ownership to equity investors (the most expensive way to finance your business), borrow from a bank and put all of your personal assets on the line, or turn to alternative lenders charging exorbitant interest rates. So in early 2016, Peli Peli’s Galleria location raised $358,000 on NextSeed’s Texas intrastate crowdfunding platform to test out this new way of fundraising. At the time, they had 2 locations (Peli Peli Galleria and Peli Peli Vintage Park) and were already well known. Since then, they opened up Peli Peli Kitchen, their fast-casual restaurant concept, and a Peli Peli location in Katy, Texas. Peli Peli Galleria paid back their investors early, in just 12 months. With their expansion into Austin, the Peli Peli team wanted to engage a core group of supporters and move forward with their community – not with banks or a few investors with deep pockets. This time, on NextSeed’s national platform, Peli Peli Austin handily raised their $300,000 minimum, grew steadily to $500,000, and soon rocketed to $1M from 410 investors all around the United States.

Peli Peli is leading the food and beverage industry by taking the time to understand a new way of financing and engaging the public in their business not just as customers, but as partners in shaping their business and their city.


In light of recent news surrounding the dismal state of venture funding for women-owned businesses – a culture of bias and abuse – we decided to shed some light on the situation in a different way.

Simply put, the challenges that women are facing are not isolated to Silicon Valley and the tech world. In fact, traditional financing has failed Main Street business owners on a much larger scale. A report published by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship highlighted an alarming statistic.

Only $1 in $23 in traditional small business loans go to women-owned businesses.

There are a whole host of challenges for female entrepreneurs to overcome that span across culture, access, mentorship and support. There are no simple solutions.

But, we believe that there is work that we can do and should do to be a part of the change.

Every day, our team at NextSeed gets the chance to interact with incredible business owners in one-on-one settings, talking about their journeys and hearing their stories. We absolutely love it. But, what really gets us going is when we get the chance to broadcast those stories to the passionate community that is all around us, weaving connections between individuals and business owners that strengthen those bonds.

To that end, on July 29th, NextSeed partnered with the entrepreneurial community of Houston to showcase female founders across the city. Gathering in Midway’s GreenStreet development in downtown Houston, the event started with a pop-up market where local designers, bakers, artists, and everyone in between could tell their stories, sell their work, and connect with other movers and shakers.

Guests sipped Bellini’s (courtesy of Korbel) while they browsed the booths.





Local artist Melissa Eason painted a mural that expressed the diversity, courage, and inspiration she found within these women. Guests got to experience the artistic process first-hand and chat with the artist while she crafted the piece.



At 5pm, guests were invited to the second floor of the Main Street Studio venue to enjoy cocktails provided by Gentleman Jack and beer from Eureka Heights Brewery, one of the only breweries in Houston with women owners. Tout Suite and Green Roots Kitchen, two exciting female-run food businesses, provided light bites for the guests to enjoy. Guests mingled with other local business owners, investors and influencers, taking in the views of downtown. As it neared 6pm, everyone was invited to take their seats and settle in for the feature presentation.



Jess Hughes, the founder of Citizen Pilates, took the stage as our MC for the night. She introduced the event and spoke about her own entrepreneurial journey to start and grow her studios. NextSeed’s CEO and Founder, Youngro Lee, took the stage and shared his thoughts on how debt crowdfunding can help fill the gap in funding for businesses.

We welcomed our panel of experts to the stage, and one at a time, our emerging entrepreneurs pitched their ideas. The panel listened to how these women had grown their businesses so far and their plans for the future. After their pitches, the panel asked questions and provided invaluable advice to our presenters.


After the final pitch concluded, the audience took out their phones and cast their votes. The winner, Namu Shop, will receive a popup lease in GreenStreet from Midway, a legal package from LegalZoom, and a year of mentorship from the esteemed panel.


Flying in the face of the gap in resources, the growth of women-owned businesses is outpacing the rest of the population. Female entrepreneurship now accounts for 40% of new companies in the United States, and their contribution to job growth and local economic development is a driving force everywhere.

There is more that can be done. The team at NextSeed is committed to creating a level playing field for all, and we’re thankful to be part of this community of inspiring women, supportive mentors, and investors who believe in the importance of this change.

We had an incredible time putting this event together with the many collaborators and sponsors who shared this vision. There are voices that need to be heard and dreams that need to be shared. Many thanks to everyone who made this happen.


Camellia Alise

Namu Shop

State Line Designs

Brenda Grands

Special Thanks to our Panel of Experts

Ashley Rose, Sugar & Cloth
Cecilia Marquez, Saint Cloud

Cindy Marion, MMI Agency 
Nikole Davis, Pretty Little Things
Sandy Tran, Tout Suite
Vonn Tran, Midway

Thanks to our Sponsors

Event Sponsors:


Prize Sponsors:


Drink Sponsors:

Gentleman’s Jack


Eureka Heights

Topo Chico

Thanks to our Pop Up Market Vendors

Accelerate Studio, All We Need Farms, Annex HTX, Arbonne, Awesome Bites, Bare Bakery, Brenda Grands, BOSS Food Co, Camellia Alise, Critty, Dainty Cakes, Edible Houston, Ellion, Essential Body Bar, Garbach, Green Roots Kitchen, HoneyChild’s Sweet Cream, LaLu’s Treasures, Marteana, Miradela, Namu Shop, Pomp and Circumstance, Pheramor, Raquel Ramirez, Revolucion, Sayra Vallejo, Shiner Pork, Sknvious, Stateline Designs, Tout Suite

Next Up | FEMALE FOUNDERS | July 29th



Female entrepreneurs are launching unique brick and mortar concepts around Houston, ranging from food and fashion to design and consulting. What exactly does it take to bring an idea to life and build a successful enterprise?

Join us to find out!  FEMALE FOUNDERS will be the 3rd event in the NEXT UP series from NextSeed, each focusing on a specific category of local entrepreneurship. This event will feature a pop-up marketplace, a cocktail hour for great networking, and a pitch event with an experienced panel of local business owners!

Women-owned businesses are a driving force in the US economy, doubling the rate of growth of the rest of the population. Yet, women face many more challenges than their male counterparts – not the least of which is access to capital.

Read More

Utopian Shift bottles up $95,500!

We know how Utopian Shift celebrated their successful $95,500 raise – with wine they love! And soon, Austinites will be able to ensure every celebration, night out with friends or a nice dinner at home will be paired perfectly with a wine they enjoy at a reasonable price. Utopian Shift brought on 113 investors who saw the genius behind their concept of using technology to help wine enthusiasts discover and understand their own taste preferences.

Congrats to the Utopian Shift team and their newly minted NextSeed investors! Cheers!

The Native – First Reg CF Crowdfunded Business Opening Celebration!


On May 16, 2016, the first day Regulation Crowdfunding went into effect, The Native Hostel launched its fundraising campaign on NextSeed and invited people to join their business for as little as $100. They raised $396,500 from 227 investors around the country and became the first business to close a successful crowdfunded investment offering on July 19, 2016.

The Native renovated an existing building into an amazing boutique luxury hostel and restaurant in fast-developing East Austin. And on June 14, 2017, NextSeed investors were invited to an exclusive opening event at The Native.



Guests came in through the Native coffee shop and were greeted by the exposed brick of the original structure with custom-made furniture and fixtures.

The Native team welcomed investors with craft cocktails in the Native Bar and Restaurant. Everyone enjoyed bruschetta topped with spiced pimiento cheese, golden raisins and candied limes, and brisket with gorgonzola mousse, cherry demi glace and fried garlic.



Investors got a full tour of The Native’s 12 different guest rooms and common space, designed to promote interactions with fellow travelers. We can’t wait to stay the night to experience the Native’s luxury ourselves!





They’ve also lined up amazing weekly events for guests and locals alike.

Weekly events sampling:
Industry Night (Happy Hour All Night)
Sundown Sessions (Acoustic Set in Parlor)
5:00pm to 7:00pm
Live Band (Bar Stage)
8:00pm to 10:00pm
NIGHT SHIFT: DJ Diggy Dutch featuring Sterling Steffen on saxophne
9:00pm to 1:00am
Native Nights DJs: Abe The Assassin
9:30pm to 1:30pm
Mindfulness & Mimosas Yoga
11:00am to 12:00pm
Guest DJ: IWannaBeHer
10:00pm to 2:00am
Ninja Bus Tubing Excursions
12:00pm pick up to 5:00pm return
Twin Peaks Screening
6:00pm to 11:00pm
6:00pm Tarot Cards Reading
8:00pm Weekly Episode of Twin Peaks
9:10pm Chosen David Lynch film

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