Capital Gains: Cash pours in for brewery expansion; Ridesharing lounge; Austin’s cheapest co-working space; Foodies invade Domain

Austin Business Journal | Staff
Source: Austin Business Journal


An Austin craft brewer’s decision to use a novel form of crowdfunding for a southward expansion appears to be paying off.

Hops & Grain said Aug. 12 it had reached its goal of raising $1 million to build a production facility and tap house in San Marcos, which will be able to brew up to 20,000 barrels a year.

To raise the cash, Hops & Grain took to equity crowdfunding website WeFunder, and pledged to divert 10 percent of its gross revenue to backers. Equity crowdfunding allows everyday investors to put money into projects in a way that was previously reserved only for wealthy accredited investors.

The brewery’s campaign is only the third nationally to reach the $1 million crowdfunding maximum allowed under federal law, according to Crowdfund Insider.

— Will Anderson, @MyABJ


Fasten Inc., the Boston-based ridesharing company that expanded to Austin after Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. left town, has opened a lounge for its drivers in Beantown and is considering doing the same in the Texas capital. Inside, drivers can stretch their legs and get questions answered from company staff. Uber continues to operate a similar driver resource center in Austin for its drivers (the company still offers rides in the suburbs and has meal delivery service inside Austin’s city limits as well). Now Austin Fasten drivers may be getting their own lounge, too. “We are looking for a proper location in Austin, and plan to have a similar, separate office and lounge there in the near term, just as we do in Boston,” said Kirill Edvakov, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

— Michael Theis, @ABJGovernment


The Economic Growth Business Incubator has unveiled a shiny new look for what it calls “Austin’s most affordable co-working space.” The nonprofit’s facility at 1144 Airport Blvd. was recently revamped with members’ help. Entrepreneurs can swoop in to take advantage of the amenities at a $10-a-day rate while monthly plans start at $75.

— Colin Pope, @ABJeditor


Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group is compiling a interesting mix of tenants for its new Domain Northside and Rock Rose retail development. The latest companies signing on are Sprinkles, a Beverly Hills, California-based cupcake retailer that was one of the first gourmet bakeries to effectively market its brand across the country, and ELM Restaurant Group, the homegrown company that will open its second 24 Diner at Rock Rose.

Endeavor is the master developer of The Domain, a 300-acre mixed-use urban community near MoPac Expressway and Braker Lane. Originally Endeavor partnered with retail heavyweight Simon Property Group to create a regional shopping center that would anchor the massive project. Now that Simon has realized great success with the 1.2 million-square-foot Domain regional center, Endeavor is now a competitor for retail tenants with its own Domain Northside and Rock Rose. There doesn’t seem to be any lack of interest in the 600,000 square feet of new space. Nordstrom, Restoration Hardware and the Archer Hotel will open soon right alongside popular Austin companies such as Raven + Lily, The Dogwood and Birds Barbershop.

— Jan Buchholz, @ABJBuchholz


When many of today’s tech innovators were in diapers, Pike Powers was busy building Austin’s modern economy.

He’s pictured in one of the images attached to this story on an Austin Business Journal front page in 1988 just after Sematech announced that Austin would be the home for its new consortium of innovators. To say he helped Austin seal the historic deal would be an understatement.

Powers’ mixture of one part lawyer, one part politician and one part civic entrepreneur has been a formula that’s helped spawn the region’s success.

Samsung, 3M, MCC and Applied Materials are just some of the companies Powers helped grow in Austin. And, yes, he has mentored an untold number of startup entrepreneurs.

In a nutshell, Powers served as a Texas state representative from 1972-1979, and then he ran the Austin office of law firm Fulbright & Jaworski LLP until 2004. He has always lived comfortably at the intersection of the public and private sectors.

Today, his name is in the news less frequently but he still has a hand in many of the big deals published within these pages.

Much of Powers’ recent attention has gone to growing San Marcos just south of Austin, which, perhaps by no coincidence, is glowing on the recent news that Amazon and Best Buy are building out large facilities there.

Chronicling Powers’ achievements would take up too much space here, but a simple Google search for “Pike Powers bio” can adequately get you up to speed on this Austin icon if he hasn’t touched you already.

— Colin Pope, @ABJeditor