EMERGING FundMedia Coverage

Puttshack investor launches new restaurant VC fund in Boston

By Hannah Green – Inno Reporter

Boston Business Journal

Puttshack, a mini golf destination aimed at adults, is among the portfolio companies of the Emerging Fund, which invests in restaurants and social-entertainment businesses.

The restaurant and technology industries are becoming increasingly intertwined, with the rise of such venues as Puttshack and F1 Arcade as well as companies such as Toast, a Boston restaurant-technology provider.

John Davie, CEO and founder of Waltham-based Buyers Edge Platform, has watched this trend unfold and has been part of the story” Since the company’s founding in 1998, Buyers Edge is made up of more than a dozen brands that provide foodservice customers with data, technology, buying power and expertise. Now Davie and his friend Mathew Focht are embarking on a new venture to support restaurant technology and innovation. Davie and Focht are announcing the launch of Emerging Fund.

Their goal is to provide capital, strategic growth resources, mentorship and connections for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the restaurant, restaurant tech and social entertainment spaces. Focht is chief executive of Emerging and is also an industry veteran. The new fund works with restaurant and entertainment businesses to solve real estate, supply chain, data science, finance and labor pain points.

The Emerging Fund has raised $54 million and aims to bring that total to $100 million for its first fund, Davie said. The fund’s portfolio companies already include Flight Club, Puttshack, F1 Arcade, Tablz and Overproof.

“It’s such a massive industry. I think everybody would agree that people are probably going to eat out more over time. And so it’s just a great investment opportunity,” Davie said.

Over the last few years, Davie said he and Focht have been personally investing in companies in these industries. They’re rolling those investments into the Emerging Fund and starting to support more companies. In addition to the capital that Emerging Fund can provide, Davie said its strength is the expertise the team and its investors bring to the table. Davie said the fund has 45 limited partners, 34 of which are entrepreneurs in restaurants or food service technology companies.

“Which I think makes us unique. A lot of times, private equity funds’ investors or limited partners are usually large college endowments, pension funds and stuff like that. Ours is mostly entrepreneurs and people that have founded businesses,” Davie said.

Focht is based in Chicago and runs the day-to-day operations of the fund alongside three other full-time employees. Davie is in Boston and said he is a primary investor and general partner in the fund.

The Emerging Fund will focus on early-stage companies raising seed through Series B rounds. Its initial investments will range from $50,000 to $5 million, depending on the investment stage. Follow-on rounds will be up to around $10 million per investment.

“We want to partner with founders, make a minority investment, let the founders run their business and we want to support them as a partner and really just help them grow their top-line revenue and introduce them to a lot of the restaurant relationships we have,” Davie said.

Article courtesy of BOSTONINNO by By Hannah Green – Inno Reporter

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