Vegan restaurateur, Louise Palmer-Masterton, likes crowdfunding so much she’s about to do it for a third time.
Louise launched gourmet plant-based restaurant, Stem + Glory, in 2016 with the help of a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. Expanding into London, she returned to crowdfunding two years later – and successfully reached her goal with the help of Virgin StartUp.
This time, she needed bigger backers and wanted to run an equity-based crowdfunding campaign.
With just weeks to go before the campaign launch, Louise heard about Virgin StartUp’s CrowdBoost Accelerator programme, which equips founders with the skills and knowledge needed to run an equity-based campaign.
Louise said: “I chose to crowdfund again on the back of the previous crowdfunding success. That was a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign with some big-ticket items linked to my yoga business, but now the businesses are separate and there aren’t those big ticket items in restaurants to bring in the investment we needed.
“I was already looking at Crowdcube when I saw the link to Virgin StartUp and the CrowdBoost programme. It was perfect – right place, right time.
“Thank God I saw it, as I learned a lot of things that really helped with the campaign. I got a really good insight into things like equity, venture capital, financial structuring and generally how to approach it all.
“I found it really useful as the timing was very close to the campaign, so much of what I was learning was like a live practice. I’m a big fan of CrowdBoost.”
The campaign raised more than £600,000 – way above Louise’s initial target and enough to launch the new Stem + Glory restaurant in London, which is proving a big hit.
And Louise is confident that there’s still further room to grow and is set to return to the crowdfunding scene for the third time.
She added: “I’ve been cooking plant-based meals for more than 35 years and found that there weren’t enough restaurants that catered for my palette. So there was an idea for a vegan restaurant rolling around in my head for years.
“The vegan space isn’t a crowded marketplace yet, and I don’t think it will be. The only thing that will change the scene is if more big businesses come into the space – companies like Wagamama who are setting up their own plant-based restaurants.
“The vegan space is quite interesting to investors, but not all our investors are vegan. Your story is a good one if people believe in it. People then get carried on the journey with you.”
Find out more about running an equity-based crowdfunding campaign with our CrowdBoost programme.