Why we invested in Popchew — where food and pop culture come together.

Creating a brand new revenue stream for top creators

https://www.wingszn.com/

The creator economy has been a big buzzword for the last few years as the barrier to becoming a content creator has come down significantly. I’ve met dozens of startups in the industry but haven’t really been convinced yet that there is a large opportunity in the long tail yet. Mostly because the majority of the revenue is generated by ads and merchandising sales that disproportionally go to the most eyeballs.

So when I met Popchew which is focused on the top 1% AND creating a brand new revenue stream by selling food, I was intrigued! Yum.

Thanks to Billy Draper for the intro.

Popchew works with the top 1% of influencers

This is where I believe there is a venture scale opportunity as the top influencers are more of a real business, with a full team than just a nice side hustle. These big influencers are basically startups within themselves that have to hire tech, product, sales and marketing in order to expand their brands.

https://popchew.com/

Their first test was with Anthony Pompliano who has 1.6M Twitter followers, a newsletter of 225,000 and a very successful podcast. Before the Popchew team raised capital, they hustled to set up the infrastructure, branding, and logistics to put out basically a beta all by themselves. Once everything was in place they reached out to Anthony who loved the idea and started to work with them, providing input and creative direction, then shared it with his massive network in a coordinated launch.

This single tweet got 2.5k retweets, 17k+ likes and 1.4M views! Literally millions of dollars of “free advertising” and countless press coverage too

More background info in their podcast explaining how they pulled it off and generated significant revenue

And now they’ve launched additional influencers like:

Jack Settleman: 17k on Tiktok, 45k on Twitter, 110k on Instagram and 900k+ on Snapchat https://popchew.com/brands/snapback

Zias: 4,700,000 subscribers on Youtube https://www.wingszn.com/

The magic sauce that makes it work

I generally stay away from “food/CPG” companies but Popchew doesn’t really sell food; they’re a tech infrastructure play that integrates all the pieces together.

  • Every creator gets to customize what food, combos, and/or sauces they want.
  • They get their own dedicated website for ordering that they can share https://popchew.com/brands/snapback
  • When their followers order food, the order gets sent out to their partner restaurants that were previously onboarded. Basically driving additional sales to local SMBs who are trained to make the food.
  • Then when it’s ready, you can pick it up or it will be delivered to you via one of the many services you already know.

For no upfront cost and minimal effort, a creator can launch a national food brand within two months!

So basically using the same flow we’re all accustomed to, fans can order food and support their favorite creators and local businesses as well. The CAC to acquire the customer is so much lower because it’s built-in!

The founders have experience in this industry

Founded by Rushir Parikh and Nick Sopchak, the idea for the company stemmed from Parikh’s childhood growing up working at his uncle’s restaurant and Sopchak’s background in the hospitality industry.

Experience-wise, Rushir worked at Bellhops and Shipt, so he is an expert in building out logistics infrastructure. Combine that with Nicks's experience at Pilotworks helping cultivate new culinary brands through their incubators and you have a pretty solid duo.

You can read more about them and their recent $3.6M seed round led by Long Journey Ventures with Jake Paul’s Anti Fund, Flybridge, WndrCo, the Uber Alumni Syndicate and a group of strategic angel investors, including Rus Yusupov of HQ Trivia and Vine, Steven Galanis of Cameo, Rich Antoniello of Complex Media, Scott Belsky, Pompliano and Matteo Franceschetti

** Before I invested I asked if we could make a VC startup menu — The Tiger Burger in a pre-seed bun, wrapped in a term sheet and the Sequoia Sandwich, which would be overstuffed, among the few ideas I had. I plan to make this happen :)

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