We coordinate the execution of your business strategies in real estate, supply chain, data science, finance, and labor providing you with an unprecedented value from one platform. By continuously benchmarking your growth, we identify problems and opportunities sooner to ensure you hit your short and long-term goals.

Our Team

We are a team of data scientists, data engineers, analysts, real estate experts, creatives, and business professionals committed to pioneering the future of restaurants and entertainment. We are solution-focused helping our clients identify critical goals, develop plans, and execute on the most efficient path to excellence.

Team

Dave Bagley

Chief Investment Officer
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Dave Bagley

Chief Investment Officer

David Bagley is Investment Director for EMERGING. He has over thirty years of experience in corporate finance, operations management, profit improvement consulting, and financial advisory services specializing in franchise and the restaurant and hospitality industries. He has been recognized nationally for his work and won recognition for Turnaround of the Year and separately, M&A Advisor for Sale of the Year. Dave has managed or advised a variety of multiunit companies throughout his career including Popeyes, Santa Fe Cattle Company, The Clubhouse, Restaurants America, Bar Louie, Granite City Food & Brewery, Sonic Drive-In, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Burger King, Restaurants Unlimited, and Giordano’s. He has served as CFO, COO and CEO, including both public and private boards.

Mathew Focht

Founding Managing Partner, CEO
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Mathew Focht

Founding Managing Partner, CEO

Mathew is the Founding Managing Partner of EMERGING. He has a passion for helping best in class restaurant and entertainment operators onto growing as recognized national leader in their category. Mathew has served hundreds of restaurant–entertainment founders and CEOs. Mathew is founder of EMERGING, Emerging Concepts, Consolidated Concepts, Acutely, and FB Insights. During his 25+ year career, he has led the growth of numerous early-stage concepts and technology investments to national scale.

Mathew has created operating companies that focus on capital, real estate, supply chain, technology, and reducing operating cost. Mathew has worked with following restaurants and entertainment concepts; Puttshack, F1 Arcade, Flight Club, Blue Sushi, Federales, Silverspot Cinema, Pour House, City Works, Doc B’s, The PUB, Levity Live, Improv Comedy Club, Bar Louie, Cheesecake Factory, Brio, Bravo, Blue Martini, Hyde Park Steakhouse, Lucky Strike, Houston’s, and many other restaurant and entertainment concepts.

Prior, Mathew was Vice President or Executive of RKF Retail Property Advisors, Sierra Advisors, Pyramid Companies, and Steiner & Associates providing comprehensive leasing, marketing, and consulting services to developers and emerging chains.

Mathew earned a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Real Estate and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Tim Greenhagen

Strategic Advisor

Tim Greenhagen

Strategic Advisor

Tim began his career as physicist, then ultimately building mathematical real estate models for McDonalds. He has 28 years of building the most advanced predictable models in real estate, site selection, sales projection, and cannibalization. His experiences include McDonalds, Chipotle, Boston Market, Redbox, and most recently Puttshack, Flight Club, Immersive Gamebox, Biscuit Belly, and many more emerging concepts.

Nate Griffin

Associate

Nate Griffin

Associate

Nate recently joined as an Associate at Emerging Concepts, focusing on market research, leasing, and national tenant representation. He graduated from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business with a major in Finance and International Business. Nate also spent time studying in China and Spain during his education.

Robert Johnson

Partner, EVP
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Robert Johnson

Partner, EVP

As Partner, EVP in the Chicago office, Robert focuses on national tenant representation, new development consulting and strategic capital partnerships.

Since joining EMERGING he has played an integral role in the fundraising, data science and national growth strategy for early to mid-stage restaurants and entertainment concepts in the US and UK.

Robert has been a crucial component in building the national tenant representation group by partnering with teams of data scientists as well as managing real estate brokerages in major markets across the US.

Robert earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Indiana University and Master of Science in Real Estate Finance from Depaul University, Chicago. He holds his real estate license in Florida and Illinois and is an active member of ICSC and CCIM.

Prior to joining EMERGING Robert worked at R.J O’Brien as well as Milliman FRM.

Alan Katz

Partner
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Alan Katz

Partner

Spending the majority of his career in hospitality, Alan brings extensive experience and knowledge in fundamental business facets including real estate, data analytics/site selection, supply chain, operations, marketing, and technology. Inherently entrepreneurial, Alan has been a cornerstone in building the EMERGING family of companies. Over the years, Alan has worked closely with hundreds of leading restaurant and entertainment groups throughout the country; consulting on creating strategic real-estate expansion plans, fundraising, and building supply chain infrastructures. Alan deploys a dynamic understanding of both growth and operations; having been instrumental in creating back-of-house efficiencies and reducing cost through negotiating distribution agreements, manufacturer contracts, and implementing technologies to help optimize day-to-day operations. Alan holds a degree from Depaul University in History/Pre-Law and Hospitality Management and Leadership. He holds his real estate license in Illinois and is an active member of ICSC.

Megan Kazlow

Director
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Megan Kazlow

Director

Megan Kazlow is a Director at Emerging Concepts, and focuses on national tenant representation strategy and leasing. Since joining Emerging Concepts, Megan has played an integral role in national growth strategy for early entertainment and restaurant concepts from both the US and UK.

Megan earned a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Real Estate & Urban Land Economics and Marketing. She holds her real estate license in Illinois and Wisconsin and is an active member of ICSC. Megan is an Associate Market Director for the Illinois Region of the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association and is also a mentor in the Wisconsin Real Estate Student Mentorship Program.

Prior to joining EMERGING, Megan worked at EY, a big-four accounting firm, in their Transaction Real Estate group, performing commercial valuations in almost every asset class including, hotels, industrial, medical, and retail.

Amy Krulas

Finance Manager
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Amy Krulas

Finance Manager

Amy has extensive real estate industry experience working closely with small businesses to build and maintain the most effective accounting systems and strategies. In 2017, she was awarded LinkedIn's Profinder Best of Accounting Consultants

Luis Lara

Partner
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Luis Lara

Partner

Luis Lara works with some of the top concepts and private equity firms in the restaurant industry. He is responsible for identifying opportunities for restaurant companies to reduce cost and improve their profitability. Luis has helped clients add millions of dollars to their bottom line without disrupting the restaurant’s operations or affecting quality or the integrity of the brand.

Prior to joining Emerging, Luis worked for a top Illinois financial institution, BMO Harris Bank, and for two of the leading technology companies in Chicago, Careerbuilder and Belly. Luis graduated from the business school at Elmhurst College with a double major in International Business and Finance.

Jack Neill

Associate

Jack Neill

Associate

Jack Neill is an Associate at Emerging Concepts, with responsibility for national tenant representation and leasing, market research, and supporting all members of the leasing team. Jack is a recent graduate of Indiana University. He earned his BSB with a double major in Finance and Real Estate through the Kelley School of Business. He holds a real estate license in the state of Illinois.

Fernando Paz

Sr. Developer

Fernando Paz

Sr. Developer

Fernando is a Sr. Developer at Tipzyy, responsible for maintaining, improving Tipzyy's IT infrastructure and bringing new features into life. He was in charge of moving Tipzyy from an outdated monolith to microservices, pushing Tipzyy's infrastructure and scaling capabilities to a new level. Grew up in Venezuela where he studied to graduate as Systems Engineer in 2012. He's always been fond of innovative solutions for everyday problems. Has a strong passion for cars, motorcycles and horsepower.

Hudson Piehl

COO
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Hudson Piehl

COO

Hudson joined Tipzyy three years ago as it's first employee! As COO, he manages the product development and operations teams. He uses his extensive background in team building and project management to deliver high quality products and customer service to Tipzyy clients.

Hudson has held senior roles at leading interactive companies and gamification for over 20 years. He has managed multiple Mobile Gaming Groups and responsible for client management and overall direction of several apps in parallel. Has extensive history with product vision, client coordination and project management for games, educational apps and consumer branded mobile apps.

Jim Rand

Senior Vice President

Jim Rand

Senior Vice President

Jim is the Senior Vice President of Acutely. He is started his career at McDonald’s in 1973 with the primary responsibility to develop statistical and mathematical models to predict new store sales volumes. Starting as a single person department, Jim’s career expanded to his final position as Senior Vice President, Global Development.

Clarissa Save

Creative Director
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Clarissa Save

Creative Director

Clarissa is a seasoned copywriter with 10 years of experience writing engaging advertising copy for e-commerce businesses, SAAS, and the hospitality industry. Clarissa specializes in writing creative product copy and loves to make words dance.

Amanda Shafer

Associate

Amanda Shafer

Associate

Amanda is a recent member of the Emerging Concepts team responsible for National Tenant Rep & Market research.

Her career history is in office leasing and working with hospitality groups in Chicago on the marketing and design front. Graduate from Illinois State University with a major in English Communications/ minor in Psych.

Hilary Slocum

Director, Head of Partnerships
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Hilary Slocum

Director, Head of Partnerships

With over 12 years of experience in start-ups and publicly traded companies, Hilary has a proven track record in scaling businesses, driving strategic projects, and negotiating successful deals. Her experiences are across a range of start ups and publicly traded companies such as Grubhub, Just Eat Takeaway, Choco, Tapingo as well as consulting for many startups on their Go-to-Market strategy. Hilary has led and assisted with BD deals with large companies like: Aramark, Sodexo, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A, Bacardi, and ABI. She has extensive experience negotiating and providing great outcomes in gaming, sports, alcohol, food supply chain, logistics, and restaurants.

Steve Taylor

Senior VP of Business Development / Partner

Steve Taylor

Senior VP of Business Development / Partner

Throughout his near 20 year Real Estate and Hospitality career Steve has represented best in class multi concept chef driven, corporate, franchised and emerging food and beverage concepts on a regional and national level. Steve has seamlessly implemented strategic development growth plans for his clients by drawing on his his extensive knowledge of the restaurant business, operations and industry trends.

Expertise include an in-depth understanding of an operators business, market and date analysis, site selection, negotiation and relationships with developers and restaurant service providers. He is dedicated to building a true business advantage for his clients by engaging, managing and overseeing the master brokerage model. Steve has also consulted for developers in curating their food and beverage merchandise mix.

Steve’s has been involved in a wide range of asset classes across the US that include mixed use projects, emerging urban neighborhoods, suburban lifestyle centers, land and CBD street retail. His range of representation of restaurant concepts include Multi Unit/Concept Chef Driven, National QSR’s/Fast Casuals, Casual/Polished National Dining and Breweries. Steve’s approach is meticulous, innovative, relentless in pursuing the best markets and locations whilst always reviewing their return on investment. He has a proven track record of long term strategic planning, client retention and closing of deals, Prior to joining EMERGING Steve worked at Colliers International, Goodman Real Estate Group and most recently as part of CBRE’s Restaurant Practice Group where he focused on restaurant tenant representation and consultation

Steve grew up in the UK and graduated with a Hospitality Degree from The University of Salford, Manchester.

Noah Tracht

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Noah Tracht

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Noah’s passion for food & beverage goes back to his childhood, whether enjoying great home cooked meals or experiencing delicious food while traveling with my family, the love began early.

Noah has spent the entirety of his professional career tied to F&B in one capacity or another. First, on the operator side overseeing and developing several successful beverage programs across at some prominent Chicago restaurants. He then stepped over to the distributor side, selling wine and spirits; growing his business 3x. Most recently, Noah joins us from Pernod-Ricard, where he worked 3 years as a market manager bringing sales and marketing programs alive in both the on and off premise.

Noah grew up in La Paz, Bolivia and holds two degrees; one in Business Administration and the other in International Relations from Beloit College.

He is excited to bring his entrepreneurial spirit and drive to the Tipzyy and Emerging team.

Veronica Zemon

Vice President of Business Development
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Veronica Zemon

Vice President of Business Development

Veronica has extensive experience building brands nationwide and creating comprehensive sales-driving solutions in the beverage industry. After completing her MBA, Veronica spent eight years working in the advertising agency world creating award-winning campaigns across channels. Her business background coupled with her creative experience fuel her passion for innovative strategy and technology.

Case Study
5 UK / 2 US

EMERGING is more than a partner, they are extremely passionate about building the Flight Club brand in the US in the most mindful way that goes beyond just real estate, data science, and finance.

Alan Cichon
President US Operations - Social Entertainment Ventures

In 2019 and 2022, EMERGING invested in early two rounds of State of Play.
In 2019, EMERGING Capital Partners invested in an early round of Social Entertainment Ventures
Developed a proprietary Deep Learning Model that generated US market priorities
Created a Market Potential Map, showing the number of units the market can support, optimal locations, and sales projections
Built strategic growth plan and signed leases in multiple states, including Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta.
Signed leases with 3 sites in 3 states: Boston, MA; Las Vegas NV; and Atlanta, GA
In negotiation with over a dozen sites for openings over the next 3 years

Flight club has shaken up the Bar and Hospitality industry by reinventing the classic pub game of darts in one of the most unique venues. The technology with social darts is built on, is exclusive to Flight Club. The Flight Club style puts a twist on the classic British Pub and the fun of the fairground.

Case Study
3 UK

They has assembled an incredible team of talented individuals who all provide great service, care and attention to Puttshack and meeting our goals.  The EMERGING team is a genuine partner adding real value in achieving our Puttshack strategy to successfully grow the concept across the US.

Joe Vrankin 
Chief Executive Officer, Puttshack

Built National Growth Plan for Puttshack, open in multiple states and plans to open 12 units a year.
Negotiation of over hundreds of Letter of Intents for sites throughout the US
Built National Growth Plan for Puttshack, opening Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; and Miami, FL in 2021/22
In 2019, EMERGING Capital Partners invested in an early round of Puttshack
EMERGING Concepts evaluated over 100 sites that met their Tier 1 criteria
In negotiation with over 15 sites with openings expected in the next three years

Puttshack is part of a ground-breaking social entertainment brand founded by Adam Breeden, founder of Acebounce and co-founder of Flight Club and Steve and Dave Jolliffe, founders of Top Golf. Puttshack combines the finest hospitality and food & beverage, with award winning design; to transform miniature golf from a traditional ‘family only’ activity into an unprecedented social entertainment concept. Part bar and restaurant, part tech-driven fun house, the Puttshack venue will allow guests to feel luxuriously indulged in a premium, beautifully lit interior.

Thirsty Lion

Case study
10 Units / 4 States

"EMERGING has been a strategic partner in many aspects of our business, a great extension of our existing team."

John Plew, CEO of Thirsty Lion

Identified and negotiated over a dozen real estate sites in 3 states.
300,000 savings on purchasing in 2019 and 2020
Negotiated a Master Distribution Agreement
Contract savings on over 50 items, including burgers and seafood
Rebate and price verification savings from weekly auditing

Thirsty Lion is a modern gastropub that features an eclectic variety of multicultural cuisines with an emphasis on scratch recipes, craft cocktails, and local draft beers.

Our Values

Resourcefulness
CLIENT FOCUSED
one firm, one family
follow through
curiosity

CLIENT FOCUSED

We love supporting passionate founders and executives leading their business. We succeed when our customers/clients succeed. We exceed our client's goals, or we don’t work with the client. We ensure our clients are ahead of the competition and are able to be proactive instead of reactive. We always strive to earn trust so that, over time, customers become clients and clients become true partners.

Resourcefulness

We are frugal. We always seek to use our resources thoughtfully and in the best manner to advance the interests of EMERGING and our clients. We are entrepreneurial and will always work through, over, and around challenges. Nobody is above any job, role, or task. We rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done...always. We're not afraid to allocate the necessary resources to achieve our goals, but we do so as thoughtfully and efficiently as possible.

Selflessness

We seek what's best for EMERGING, rather than what's best for ourselves. We are ego-less when searching for the best ideas. We support one another, in support of our clients. We treat each other with respect. We're honest with ourselves and each other. We're not afraid to have the hard conversations that challenge us to be better and force us to grow.

Curiosity

We seek to understand our client's story, growth strategy, and target customer. We are not afraid to ask questions. We question assumptions, ideas, the status quo, and the way things have always been done. We believe there is always a new solution and we must think big to pursue something bigger and better. We learn rapidly and eagerly.

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