If you aren’t aware, Deep Sea Vegan is a bi-weekly pop-up offering at Hunter’s Station featuring all plant-based foods with a focus on recreating marine based offerings. Put another way, they cook up Crab Cakes, Fish Sandwiches, Calamari Po’Boys and more all with their own house made recipies using only edible flowers, plants and vegetables (no tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc). Every time they open, they have massive lines and high demand. So, sensibly, they’re looking to expand their offering to a more permanent brick and mortar offering.
To raise the funds for their new, hopeful, location they’ve opened up a campaign on Mainvest, a website that takes investments from the community and puts them towards a business plan. The similarities with the likes of GoFundMe or Kickstarter are clear – it’s a way to accept money from anyone to help finish a project – but there’s one key difference worth noting; investments on Mainvest are setup to return a profit to the original investee. Take the Deep Sea Vegan campaign for instance. They are looking to raise $100,000 and aiming for a 1.7x return. So, if you put in $100, they’d pay you $170 by the specified date (April 2028 in this instance). Raising money for a given endeavor isn’t a novel idea but potentially benefiting everyone who invested certainly is.
The project page documents insight about the company; it’s a family and black-owned business, the founder and Chef is actually scuba certified and their business plan is posted that details on how they plan to succeed. It’s not wishful thinking, it’s a full-on presentation of how they plan to build their business.
At We Own This Town, we really aim to showcase a variety of endeavors that make Nashville great; particularly those that are antithetical to the stereotype of the city. Deep Sea Vegan checks a lot of those boxes. It’s a vegan restaurant, it’s marine themed (which is, honestly, pretty rare in the vegan world), it’s raising money from the community and it’s looking to give back to that pool of investors. If you have the means to do so, this seems like a sensible opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something wonderfully unique for our city.