If WeWork and Starbucks Had a Love Child It Would Look Like This
Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).
I base my review on a 3-minute founder pitch and some light diligence.
My scoring system is not a validation of idea, or grading for likelihood of success. It just means, all things being equal at launch — this startup has these boxes checked.
What I look for:
Founder — ability to lead, sell into and influence a given market
Idea — is it inevitable or solving a BIG problem in a scaleable way
TAM — how big is the total addressable market
Traction — do they have meaningful early traction
Unfair Advantage — do they have a competitive edge
VEL is a premium, utopian tech-forward work cafe 👉 Watch The Pitch 📺
Key People: Mo Hamzian (repeat founder with $150M exit), Jack Gunn (20 years portfolio manager with $650M in AUM) & Jasmine Crowder (former Music Co CMO)
Traction: VEL has a lease in-hand for location #1 in Savannah, Ga with blueprints, partners and tech layout set to deploy — but at current they do not have any active locations or revenue. While this is in “concept-stage", I can overlook that given I have a pretty decent sense of what a WeWork inside a SBUX might look like 🤗
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in VEL here 👉 Term Sheet
Security Type: Reg CF
Pre-Money Valuation: $9,250,000
Raised (as of publishing): $375,000
Minimum Investment: $250.00
Here's what I like: I live in the suburbs and driving downtown for a few days of week a) sucks b) is not worth the office expense c) I go to Starbucks if I want to catch up with my neighbors (I rarely do) and d) co-working spots in the burbs are brutally sad.
The idea of merging co-working memberships with office-level privacy and the convenience of a local coffee spot is pretty compelling. The founders have a proven track record of success and there’s no question this is an opportunity that someone smart will explore as we rediscover working in-person. Additionally, not enough attention has been paid to the types of jobs and way we work post-pandemic; there will be a LOT of solo operators, contractors and tech dependent teams working hybrid or remotely.
Lastly, I think starting in the South is brilliant, there’s a lot of pub on how the South is truly developing into a major tech hub!
Here's what I don't love: If I’m being honest, I fear that as offices come back to life, far less people than you think will need a committed remote working space than have over the past two years (losing their shit working with kids screaming in the background).
That’s really it. I mean, obviously lacking experience managing a business like this is a concern, but let’s be real… it has a robot delivering coffee and the rest of the amenities are either space with doors/sound proofing or a barista and snack shelf (it’s nearly entirely automated) 🤷♂️
Who should invest and why: The price at $9.25M is a bit steep for having no active locations, they previously raised $500k at $5M and I would have liked to see a little more discount here until they begin adding locations. That said, if you have ever tried working at a coffee shop or WFH — I would think you’d jump at the chance to try one of these puppies out. If so, the investment minimum is pretty low at $250 and well worth supporting the concept.
From an investment standpoint, margins on this will be significantly higher than a typical restaurant/coffee shop because rather than trying to upsell you a cake pop, they upsell you what you came for in the first place… SPACE! A lot of minimalist food and protein/health related companies have had a ton of success with this model and I have never seen something quite like this.
As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen.
Invest in VEL here 👉 Term Sheet
Questions, DM me 🤳 @kitun.