‘It’s okay to fail’: Maori restaurant turns to NFTs after first crowdfunding effort fails

A Christchurch restaurant and takeaway company’s plan to attract public funds for new outlets has failed, so it will now focus on blockchain.

Anton Matthews, along with his wife Jess Matthews and sister Maia Matthews, opened Fush in the suburb of Wigram in late 2016. In April, they launched a crowdfunding campaign as they worked to open four new restaurants in the city. It did not reach its minimum target at the end of May.

Fush became well known through his emphasis on te reo Māori and through Anton Matthews’ public profile promoting the Māori language and tikanga.

Unlike crowdfunding efforts to raise equity (money in exchange for a share of the business) or loan funds, Fush’s campaign asked for donations and offered rewards in return.

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The restaurant sells fish and chips, burgers, and fried chicken, and has two food trucks it calls Fush Waka. Matthews said they will open a second restaurant in Prebbleton this year and are scouting sites for three more, each of which will cost $400,000 to launch.

By the end of the May cut, the campaign had raised $100,344 from 106 people. Because the minimum goal of $200,000 was not reached, no money will be released.

“It’s the reality of the world right now, but you still have to try things,” Matthews said.

“Raising $100,000 is no easy feat, but the numbers don’t lie.

“We tried something, and sometimes in life it just doesn’t work. It’s normal to fail.

Fush co-owner Anton Matthews wants to grow his business and hopes the public will make it available – now by joining the NFT marketplace.


Fush co-owner Anton Matthews wants to grow his business and hopes the public will make it available – now by joining the NFT marketplace.

Depending on the size of the pledge, donors could get vouchers, a tour of Fush Waka, a pot of seasoning from the restaurant, or Fush-branded clothing bearing inspirational messages in English and te reo, which Matthews promised. to be exclusive to the campaign. .

Matthews said earlier that the PledgeMe campaign was just a fundraising stream for new restaurants.

Others have included using their own funds, bank loans, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) with a te reo theme.

The fundraising campaign would now focus on NFTs, offering the same vouchers and benefits depending on the rarity of the NFT purchased, Matthews said. NFTs are unique digital collectibles that run on blockchain technology, operating similarly to Bitcoin, and function by digitally tying ownership to artworks, videos, music, memes, and real estate .

Fush’s NFTs — artworks by local artist Jacob Yikes — were about six weeks away, Matthews said.

An example of the soon to be released Fush NFTs by local artist Jacob Yikes.


An example of the soon to be released Fush NFTs by local artist Jacob Yikes.

He still had plans to expand and open four more stores in the near future.

“People are suffering right now with the cost of living.

“If you’re asking people to part with their hard-earned money, you have to offer them value.”

A Sept. 24 event at Christchurch Town Hall celebrating Maori success was another way Matthews sought to help his expansion plans.

Angitu 22 would feature speakers including recording artist Stan Walker, comedian Anika Moa, former All Black Piri Weepu, broadcasters Sir Ian Taylor and Oriini Kaipara, and media personalities Stacey and Scotty Morrison.

Buyers of Fush’s new NFTs could also get VIP access to the event.

Matthews was surprised to receive “a bit of negative feedback” for his fundraising efforts, he said.

” It is reality. We took a punt, and it didn’t work, and that’s fine.

Matthews is a director and shareholder of eight companies, including those linked to the Wigram, Prebbleton and food truck businesses, another Wigram restaurant, and his public speaking and events work. His group of companies also has a charity, Angitu, which helps create opportunities for young Maori.

All staff speak a little te reo Māori or are expected to learn some. Menus are bilingual and customers can order food in te reo Māori if they wish.

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