Bagel startup, PopUp Bagel, recently secured $8 million in its Series A funding, spearheaded by New York City-based equity firm, Stripes. This capital is aimed at fostering future expansion and broadening the executive roster. Last year, PopUp Bagels garnered financial backing from Hollywood producer and culinary investor, John Davis, facilitating its retail expansion in both Greenwich, Connecticut and Greenwich Village in New York City.
So, how did a small bagel chain earn a multi-million dollar investment? It was in the quiet town of Westport, Connecticut that founder Adam Goldberg stumbled upon a culinary revelation. The pandemic had most people confined to their homes, leading many to experiment with cooking. Goldberg, however, did more than just experiment. He redefined a staple of the New York breakfast scene — the bagel. This delightful reinvention was christened “PopUp Bagels.”
Goldberg’s concoction was different. The bagels had a noticeably crispy outside and a chewy inside that differentiated it from its competitors. The seeds sprinkled on the bagel weren’t excessive, nor were they scanty — they were just the right amount to add a crunch. It was no surprise then that when he began handing them out to neighbors, PopUp Bagels instantly garnered a passionate following.
Word spread like wildfire, and it wasn’t long before Goldberg’s once modest home kitchen operation turned into a well-orchestrated system of online orders, pickups at specific locations and a growing clientele that didn’t mind waiting days in advance for a bite of the best bagel on the planet. And when PopUp Bagels clinched the title at Brooklyn Bagelfest’s “Best Bagel” not once, but two years in row, it was evident that this was no ordinary bagel.
The increasing popularity and demand were a clear sign for expansion. Enter John Davis, the Hollywood producer with a penchant for culinary ventures, leading the charge with a significant capital influx that saw PopUp Bagels setting up shop in Greenwich, Connecticut and the iconic Greenwich Village.
Thanks to a combination of influencers like @SistersSnacking, the raving reviews on the app Beli and an impressive 10.2 million views of PopUp Bagels on TikTok, what followed was nothing short of a sensation. Native New Yorkers and tourists alike lined up in lines that spanned blocks, waiting for their turn to delve into these sensational bagels.
“When I started all of this out of my home, it was just because I thought the bagel could use improvement,” said Goldberg in a press release. “I am so humbled by the response over the last year, from the hour-long lines that form to the simple first reactions in the most scrutinized market for this product. It was not long before I realized we needed to finance our operation to allow more of the world to experience the PopUp Bagel way.”
Goldberg’s motto, “Not Famous But Known,” aptly described the brand’s journey from the streets of Westport to the bustling avenues of New York. PopUp Bagels wasn’t just about selling bagels; it was about revolutionizing the experience around it. For example, customers can’t buy just one bagel but rather select from sets of three, six or 12. And the rotating array of artisan schmears include the Utz Cheese Ball Cream Cheese or the Bowery Farms Basil Pesto Butter.
With the recent closure of an $8 million capital raise, the future for PopUp Bagels seems even more promising. From a simple quest to better the bagel, Goldberg not only achieved that goal but has also given bagel lovers a new destination to vouch for. And as the world gets a taste of his creation, one thing’s certain: PopUp Bagels is here to stay.