Hoke Poke successfully raises $125,000


Congratulations to the team at Hoke Poke, who successfully raised $125,000 on NextSeed to open their third Los Angeles area location in North Hollywood. 132 investors from across the United States have put their trust in Hoke Poke’s experienced team and unique approach to what the Huffington Post is calling “the nation’s new favorite food.”

Following two successful locations in Valencia and Downtown LA, the Hoke Poke group chose North Hollywood due to its relative lack of dining options compared to many other Los Angeles neighborhoods. In addition to allowing everyday investors the opportunity to invest in deals once reserved for wealthy insiders, NextSeed gives neighborhood residents the opportunity to bring businesses they believe in to their community.

Hoke Poke is a fast-casual restaurant dedicated to fusing Japanese flavors and a healthy lifestyle through an ever-evolving, fresh and customizable menu of bowls, wraps and milk teas. Follow the updates page to keep an eye on their progress.


Sharing resources and ongoing recovery efforts during our city’s time of need.

Photo Credit: New York Times, “Harvey in Pictures”

Houston is our home.

Houston is where NextSeed started, where we’re headquartered, and where so many businesses and people first came together to invest in one another and bring this idea to life. Houston inspired us.

As you have seen in person or in the news, Hurricane Harvey has brought unimaginable devastation to many parts of Texas over the past few days, including our beloved city.

But, in this time of darkness, it has been that same collaborative, caring, and can-do spirit that has filled us with hope once again. The despair has been met with an incredible human response. Ordinary citizens have stepped up and gone out of their way to help those in need, whether by taking their own boats and high-water vehicles into flooded neighborhoods to rescue trapped families, volunteering and donating whatever resources they can to shelters, or by leveraging their personal networks and social media to make sure critical information is shared effectively across our communities in need.

Without a doubt, there will be many months and years ahead of rebuilding lives and livelihoods in Houston and its surrounding areas.  We at NextSeed will be digging in as well, and we’ll be actively seeking effective ways to support our small business community any way we can.  At this early juncture, however, cash support is most critical to address short-term necessities for those affected, as well as those delivering assistance.

How you can help RIGHT NOW.

We have prepared the following list of organizations that are helping those affected by Harvey.  This is not a comprehensive list, but these are resources that we have come across over the past few days that may be useful.  Donations to non-profits are tax deductible; others are not, but you might prefer to provide support to be distributed for specific purposes or by certain groups you trust.

Thank you all for your time and generosity in this period of pain and suffering.  We are all proud, grateful and honored to be Houstonians, and our team is motivated more than ever before to work with each of you in becoming part of the solution to rebuild Houston – a city whose spirit cannot be shaken.  #HoustonStrong.

-The NextSeed Team


Our NextSeed team has collected some useful resources over the past few days to share with our community.

Donate to Relief Efforts

There are non-profits focused on helping Hurricane Harvey victims get the needed support, food, shelter and additional necessities to get through this difficult time. We have compiled a list of local foundations that are focused on rebuilding the Greater Houston Area.

  • Mayor Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund:  A fund housed at The Greater Houston Community Foundation that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods.
  • Houston Food Bank: Local Houston organization raising funds to provide meals and necessities for those displaced by Harvey.
  • JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund: A fund created by Houston Texans football player JJ Watt to help in relief efforts across Houston.
  • Houston SPCA: Donate and help displaced animals find foster homes. Animal Rescue Disaster Hotline at 713-861-3010
  • United Way of Greater Houston: Local Houston organization raising funds for recovery efforts.
  • The Salvation Army: Donate online or text STORM to 51555.
  • Hurricane Harvey GoFundMe Campaigns: Provide support to people in need of financial assistance.
  • GlobalGiving: All donations to this fund will support relief and recovery efforts in affected regions. The fund will help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs, including the provision of shelter, medical care, food, and clean water. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by vetted local organizations.
  • Donate Items to Shelters in Need: Crowdsourced map of open shelters in need of specific items.
  • The Montrose Center: Funds help individuals and families begin to rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.
  • OCA – Greater Houston Community Relief Fund:  Working in conjunction with the Harvey Community Relief Fund (founded by other trusted organizations in Houston) to pool resources and coordinate their distribution.

Small Businesses Helping Houston

  • Citizen Pilates: Founder and Owner, Jessica Hughes is collecting bedding, toiletries, feminine products and pet supplies from 10am – 1pm on Wednesday, 8/30. Please drop off supplies at the studio off 940 Heights Blvd.
  • King’s Bierhaus: Phil Sitter, owner of King’s Bierhaus and King’s Biergarten will be hosting a fundraiser on Labor Day, September 4th from 11am to 10pm with 100% of proceeds going to restaurant industry employees that have lost their homes and possessions. Restaurants or individuals interested in taking part can contact him at
  • Peli Peli Kitchen & Peli Peli Katy: The Peli Peli team is opening its doors to all area first-responders that need a meal. Please visit either location.
  • The Native:  The Native is offering 50% off beds to all those that have evacuated or on their way over to help in relief efforts. Reach them at 512-551-9947.
  • The Dumpling Bros Food Truck: TDB is collecting donations in North Texas and will be driving down to Houston to feed first-responders this weekend.
  • Marine Foods Express: MFE is partnering with Riel Restaurant to open up its doors for lunch to all First Responders beginning at 11 am for free and will continue indefinitely for the upcoming days. Donate to their relief fund in providing food to everyone helping and hurting.

Resources for Those Affected

Know of other resources/information? Please share them with us at

Lunch and Learn: Why Digital Should Play A Big Part In Your Business Infrastructure

On August 9th, NextSeed welcomed Basya Beshushan to speak at a lunch and learn for business owners at Headquarters in East Downtown.

Basya was born into a creative home which had two rules: no TV and to always keep learning.  In her adult life, Basya helps grow businesses by obeying those same rules.  Today her passion for learning and growing in the digital space has led to more than a decade of experience in the digital marketing space.  As the mastermind behind the digital agency Pink Cilantro, Basya understood and implemented e-commerce solutions and affiliate programs before they became mainstream practices.

Basya spoke about how digital marketing can help companies grow, starting with Pink Cilantro’s mission statement:

“We take metrics personally.”

What she meant was metrics should drive your digital marketing strategy.  Before you start, metrics should help you define your target market and how best to approach them.  As you go, you should constantly study and evaluate those metrics to check the effectiveness of your campaigns.  And after you are done with a campaign, your metrics should show the success relative to other campaigns and marketing strategies.

Basya explained that digital integration is made up of three things: your brand, a market to sell it to and your customer support strategy. These three things should always be at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy and should guide how you get in front of your customers.

Basya told the audience if there was one thing the audience left with, she hoped they would remember: “When you leave data on the table it is like you are driving blind.  Not accounting for that data – there is no excuse in this day in age.”

She gave an example of a protein bar company her agency works with.  They produced many flavors, but when Pink Cilantro examined their data, they found that two flavors stood out: coconut and cherry.  They were able to use that data to help the company produce targeted ads.  Knowing that these two flavors lead to higher conversions, they focused on pushing these two flavors when talking to affiliates.  When testing ads on Facebook, they noticed that cherry appealed much more to women than men.  This informed them that they should focus on targeting women with the cherry flavor.  From there, they were able to get more granular and really figure out who their target customer was.  This allowed them to align with influencers whose target demographic related to their target group.

Her presentation made it clear that the better you understand your customer, the better you can choose influencers to work with and create content that will appeal to them.

Thanks to Basya and Pink Cilantro, attendees walked away with a better understanding on how to use digital marketing to help grow their businesses and engage with customers.

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