Upward Projects Gets Shot of Rocket Fuel from Equity Group

Upward Projects has taken on an exciting investment from Brentwood Associates to bring Phoenix’s beloved homegrown brands to new neighborhoods
Upward Projects Nov. 28, 2017

Upward Projects, the Phoenix-based hospitality company behind Postino WineCafé, Joyride Taco House, Windsor, Churn and Federal Pizza, has partnered with Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates to expand to new neighborhoods throughout Arizona and beyond.  Locally owned and operated in uptown Phoenix, Upward Projects, along with Brentwood, will combine resources to bring new communities together, marking the brand’s first outside investment after 16 years of remarkable growth for this proudly independent company.

Upward Projects was inspired to seek investment following its successful Denver opening. Co-founder, Craig DeMarco says, “After expanding to a former bookbinding factory in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood, we realized there are so many wonderful neighborhoods and cool historic buildings that would present the perfect opportunity to do what, at the core, we’re most interested in – connecting to communities, building authentic connections and making people feel good,” DeMarco says.

Postino Highland. Photo courtesy: Upward Projects

As a self-funded company, Upward Projects was limited in the amount of resources it could deploy without impeding on its cultural, people-first values that set the company apart, says co-founder and CEO, Lauren Bailey. “Our company is stacked with some of the most talented, innovative and genuine individuals.  We owe it to our people to continue to create new opportunities and exciting resources.  We spent over a year searching for just the right partner who aligned with our core values and that’s Brentwood.  We’re over the moon to have found a partner that is just as committed to scaling with soul and purpose as we are.”

Brentwood Associates is a Los Angeles based private equity firm with extensive experience partnering with best-in-class hospitality companies to support growth.  Brentwood will provide Upward Projects with the financial backing to primarily support the growth of the Postino brand. With a mix of affordable wines and craft beers, plus delicious locally-grown fare served in an inviting, come-as-you-are atmosphere, Postino is primed to be a part of all-new neighborhoods, without losing its commitment to hands-on ownership, quirky-yet-polished culture and proudly independent roots.

Launched in Phoenix 2001 inside a restored mid-century modern post office, Postino currently has seven unique locations, each set in historically relevant buildings integral to the neighborhoods that surround them. Postino will open its first Texas location in Houston in April 2018, with additional locations planned for Arizona, Colorado and more. Upward Projects,the Phoenix-based hospitality company behind Postino WineCafé has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing companies for the past three years, and is located at 5210 N. Central Ave., Suite 101, Phoenix, AZ 85012; 602-246-7555, www.upwardprojects.com.

About Upward Projects

Upward Projects creates inspired restaurants that are connected to the communities they serve. Beginning 16 years ago with the Valley’s original local WineCafé, Postino Arcadia, founders Kris & Craig DeMarco and Lauren & Wyatt Bailey built a foundation on historically relevant buildings integral to the neighborhoods that surround. Today, Upward Projects continues this tradition with multiple Postino and Joyride Taco House locations, as well as Windsor & Churn and Federal Pizza. www.upwardprojects.com

About Brentwood Associates

Brentwood Associates is a leading middle-market private equity investment firm with $2.4 billion in assets under management and a 30-year history of investing in leading growth companies. Brentwood focuses on investments in growing businesses where it can leverage its extensive experience in areas such as: branded consumer products; multi-location strategies; direct-to-customer marketing; niche brands with specialty distribution; education; healthcare; and business services. Since 1984, Brentwood’s dedicated private equity team has invested in 54 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $6 billion. With significant experience in both investing and brand building, Brentwood is a value-added partner with entrepreneurs and senior management teams building world-class companies. For more information about Brentwood, please visit www.brentwood.com.

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