Murray Hillbilly Co-owners Rafaella DeGracia and Lindsey Cooper are excited about what the future holds for their business after a successful investment crowdfunding campaign.
“We plan to upgrade our backyard patio,” says DeGracia. “We want it to be a space for events and extra seating.
Murray Hillbilly will also be getting a mobile trailer if there are enough left.
These expansion and upgrade options exceeded the minimum target and raised a total of about $45,000 following the restaurant’s successful campaign, which ended Aug. 8, DeGracia said.
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honeycomb credit Honeycomb chief of staff Topiltzin Gomez said he facilitated the campaign. Honeycomm is a crowdfunding platform that helps local businesses get funding from the community.
“We exist because small businesses [can have] We have problems accessing bank loans,” Gomez said. “Rental rates are getting higher and higher. Even if banks don’t lend to companies, community members will.”
Gomez explained that the system is similar to Kickstarter or GoFundMe, but instead community members “become a bank”.
Honeycomb has launched crowdfunding campaigns for loans in about 26 states, has a growing presence in mid-Atlantic cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Washington, and is starting to see interest in the South.
“Honeycomb works very well in retail and restaurants. [and] It’s a brewery,” Gomez said. “[These establishments have] A community where there are people keen to invest and where traditional lenders shy away from them. “
Kravegan was the first Jacksonville campaign to launch in early May, raising over $51,000 from 35 investors. Campaign results site.
Latasha KaiserThe owner of Kravegan in Orange Park said she wants to use the funds to expand the vegan sauce line the company offers.
“I didn’t want to go fund me,” she said. “That’s not what I thought was professional for my business.”
When Honeycomb Credit reached out to her, she said she thought it would be a good platform to ask community members to help grow her business through investments rather than donations.
“Instead of paying back loans to banks, we are paying back the community and our followers and supporters,” Kaiser said.
Kravegan didn’t reach the top goal of $200,000, but like all other local businesses that used Honeycomb for their campaigns, they hit the bottom of $40,000.
“We’ll be able to redesign the label, raise the funds to order the sauce, and reach the goal of putting it on the shelf,” she said. “I appreciate their intention to support my brand.
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According to Gomez, honeycomb campaigns tend to come in three types. An expansion campaign, a working capital or refinancing campaign, or a line of business campaign like Kravegan. Especially in the current economy, Gomez has seen many small businesses have great ideas, but they didn’t have enough money or access to bank loans to bring them to fruition. , called the local investment way of doing business a “win-win” for the community.
“Many businesses want to lock in fixed-rate loans and avoid variable loans,” he said. “Investors also want to lock in these higher interest rates. If their money is in a bank account, this is a way to generate some income on their investments.”
Honeycomb investments start at $100, making it easier for the average person to become a small business investor.
According to Gomez, the average investment is $1,000, which people see as part of their investment portfolio. Many investors are in his late 20s or early 30s and “love Jacksonville and want to invest in the area.”
“If the stock market in the next few years can be nerve-wracking, this is a good way to diversify away from it,” Gomez said. There are big local shops and a local eating movement, but there is a limit to how much you can consume locally and not much available in the local investment economy.”
There is also a third type of investor.
jessie ball dupont fund established a fund to make five-figure investments in small businesses running the Honeycomb campaign.
Chris Crothers, director of impact investing at the Jesse Ball DuPont Fund, said there are gaps in the lending ecosystem, especially in northeastern Florida, that the organization is working to cut.
“There is data that too many people do not have access to fair priced loans,” he said. “As fintech lenders collapsed, people are often disqualified from these traditional programs and go to more predatory locations deliberately placed near color.”
As a result, Crothers’ organization is working to pitch a larger tent in northeastern Florida to increase impactful investments, Crothers said.
Mr. Crothers JAX Microfinance Fund Aimed at raising capital for small business owners, Honeycomb topped the list of online platforms to partner with.
“We’re not limiting the fund, but we want to emphasize lending to women and people of color,” Crothers said. “They are also looking for companies that meet the criteria we are looking for. We have agreed that the JAX Microfinance Fund will be the first fund to back these businesses once the campaign is launched.”
He added: [to protect and improve our communities] was very important. “
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DeGracia said the biggest surprise of the campaign was not how much money it actually raised for Murray Hillbilly, but the number of investors.
“It was really reassuring that they believed in our restaurant, our concept, and our movement enough with their own money,” she said. We have several projects underway, and are actually looking into opening a second location.”
For now, Murray Hillbilly is looking to have the back patio fixed and some events open in milder weather by late fall.
Gomez said this is the first batch launch of the Honeycomb campaign in the region, but it won’t be the last.
“We aim to source more small businesses that want to grow,” he said.
Kaiser added that the partnership has opened up opportunities in two different equity platforms.
“It has broadened our horizons and we are very grateful,” she said. “I have a lot in mind for 2023 and need a lot of support to make it happen,” she said.