Awesome Bites Wins Next Up


Close to 250 guests gathered at the newly renovated Hughes Manor event space on November 16th to watch hopeful, up-and-coming entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a group of seasoned entrepreneurs for NextSeed’s first Next Up event.

The passionate founders behind Awesome Bites, Craft Burger, Dim Sum Bento, and SeaSide Poke all had the chance to pitch their businesses, talk about their plans for growth and receive advice from a panel of experts.

The experienced critique and feedback came from a group that included:

  • Roveen Abante: Partner – Virtue & Vice, Lincoln Bar
  • Jonathan Horowitz: CEO of Legacy Restaurant Group
  • Thomas Nguyen: Partner and CMO of Peli Peli Restaurant Group
  • Kiran Verma: Owner and Executive Chef of Kiran’s Restaurant & Bar
  • Rassul Zarinfar: Founder and CEO of Buffalo Bayou Brewery

Imagine the hit show “Shark Tank” in a live setting, in a beautiful space, with business owners you know and love.  After the presentations took place the audience was invited to vote for their favorite business concept.

The winner, Jennifer Thai from Awesome Bites, received a year of mentorship from the panel.

Next Up by NextSeed

Winner Jennifer Thai takes a picture with the panel of Next Up: Kiran Verma, Thomas Nguyen, Jonathan Horowitz, Rassul Zarinfar, and Roveen Abante

Guests were then invited into the courtyard to sample food from all the presenters as well as Peli Peli, Antone’s, and TX Whiskey.  The event showcased the vibrancy of the Houston food community and the inclusiveness of its entrepreneurs.

Next Up by NextSeed

NextSeed put on the event.  Through its platform (, the team has helped local businesses (including restaurants, bars, fitness studios, and spas) raise millions in investments from local investors around the country.

NextSeed CEO Youngro Lee offered, “This is what our platform is about. It’s about working with great local businesses, connecting them with the resources they need to be successful, and giving them the opportunity to showcase what they’re doing.”

Check out our facebook page for all of the photos from the event!


Shannen Tune of Craft Burger pitches his expansion plans to the panel and the audience

Next Up by NextSeed

Seaside Poke shares a laugh with the panel during the team’s presentation

Next Up by NextSeedNext Up by NextSeed