PopupBagels, an award-winning pop-up concept in the Northeast, recently received investments from a slew of celebrity investors, including Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Michael Strahan.
The capital round was led by Hollywood producer John Davis, who also incubated Blaze Pizza, Wetzel's Pretzels, and Dave's Hot Chicken. Private equity firm Tastemaker Capital and branding agency Red Antler were also part of the funding round. Angel investors include GrubHub Seamless cofounder Paul Appelbaum, experienced portfolio manager Sam Hendel, Matt LaCasse, CEO of pancake mix company Birch Benders, actors Paul Schwarzenegger and Paul Rudd, and athletes JJ and TJ Watt. Strahan invested alongside his business partner, Constance Swartz-Morini.
The company began as a backyard pickup window business early into the pandemic and has developed into multiple pop-up locations in Connecticut and New York City. The bagels are only sold in advance by the dozen with two schmears, which includes flavors like Grilled Scallion, Dill Pickle, UTZ Cheeseball, and Chili Crunch Butter. The company has been recognized as the "Best Bagel" at the annual Brooklyn Bagelfest for two straight years.
The financial backing will be used to growth PopupBagels' corporate team and prep for expansion. The brand plans to use small storefronts and underutilized kitchens throughout the Northeast.
“PopupBagels started as a home kitchen project to share my love for baking, and a unique bagel recipe with friends,” Adam Goldberg, founder of PopupBagels. “As word spread, customers began clamoring for our bagels and we began to expand our operation. I’m thrilled to have the support of many experienced investors as we prepare to scale.”
The growing brand was featured in the New York Times, which described the bagels as smaller, airier, and crispier, in comparison to New York's typical large, dense crumb, and distinct chew bagels. One of Goldberg's motivations behind starting PopupBagels was the lack of innovation within the space.
“I think there is unlimited room for great bagel shops anywhere in any town in America, including in New York City,” he told the publication.