On Point

Say you want to start an 18-hole miniature golf-themed bar. What do you write in the business plan? Where do you find a space? What kind of special liability insurance will cover the possibility of a drunk player barfing in the lighthouse statue on hole 11? Enter Matchpoint. A seed-fund organization for Austin-area bars and other entertainment ventures, Matchpoint helps entrepreneurs navigate the city’s unique financial, legal and real estate hurdles. “There was a time in Austin when you could run $20,000 off a credit card or borrow from a buddy and open a bar,” says Carlos Gacharna, co-founder of Matchpoint. “That time is starting to diminish.”

When Gacharna opened the local gnome-themed bar Dirty Bill’s, pressure from the established nightlife players, groups of investors from other cities and rising rents weren’t problems he had to deal with. So, rather than expand into an “empire,” he went the other direction. Two years ago, he sold his share in Dirty Bill’s to help other people start bars of their own. “It’s harder for people to get over the humps,” he says of the Austin nightlife business that he first entered as a bouncer. “We’re their security blanket.”

To cover business questions and legal concerns, Gacharna brought aboard entrepreneur Adam Morehead and lawyer Dan Price. For a percentage of the eventual enterprise, the trio helps clients write business plans, hunt for venues, wade through city permits, pitch to investors and tackle the countless other details involved in starting a place, like securing artificial turf for an 18-hole miniature-golf bar. Yes, the mini-golf bar idea is real—it’s called Putt Pub—and it’s set to open in San Marcos soon. “It’s more exciting to see young people with energy bring their bars to life than it is for me to keep opening them myself,” says Gacharna. “I never would have thought of a miniature-golf bar.”

By Steve Wilson

Find out more at matchpoint.link or call 512-961-1885.