Technology can help connect us, and a new Albuquerque restaurant aims to use the newest tech to build experiences like no other. New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Innovation Fund invested to help jump start the new Electric Playhouse, a restaurant catering to new gaming and culinary encounters.
Officially open since Feb. 1, Electric Playhouse is an interactive and immersive gaming experience that merges creative play with great food. With two dining areas and a full bar with local beers in a 24,000-square-foot location in Albuquerque, the concept of Electric Playhouse grew out of Storylab, a business-to-business interactive entertainment company that tested the elements that have expanded into the new business.
John-Mark Collins, the CEO and founder, came from a merged background in hospitality, software engineering and art and said the idea grew from his interest in making software more interactive. Collins wanted to establish a place for social connectivity, using technology to bring people together. The games use projectors and motion sensors to track a guests’ location in the room, and the movement of their body, to let the whole space become a game.
“Any business venture is a challenge, but doing something that is first in the world, with patented technology, wonderfully unique food and drink, special events for all ages, and truly unforgettable customer service requires an all-in, seven-days-a-week effort from a whole lot of people, and never enough of them,” said Collins. “A big offering like Electric Playhouse needs at least a year to build community, get into people’s lifestyles and plant a flag on the tourism roadmaps.”
Beto Pallares, AIF managing director, explained how ingenuity and innovation came together for this investment.
“Electric Playhouse is representative of the creative and technical prowess embodied in New Mexico's entrepreneurs,” he said. “Moreover, the business acumen its founders and supporters exhibit point at elements of job and wealth creation that will inspire other entrepreneurs and wow the venue visitors. AIF is proud to support and foster that type of New Mexico talent.”
Electric Playhouse closed a nearly $4.4 million Series A funding round that helped them research and develop their gaming and business ideas, market the fledgling business, find the right staffing, and create the space.
“Investment such as from AIF is the lifeblood, the irreplaceable key to survival at least until that freshman year teaches all it can about sustained and gaining growth and prosperity,” said Collins. “It’s hard to put the gratitude into mere words and so there’s no motivation upon waking up every day like that of making good for those who put their fiscal trust in you, especially at the beginning, but always.”
“Technological innovation means leading in both creativity and the increase in the quality of life,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “It’s not just novelty to explore the boundaries between what is business and what connects people while using new technologies.”
AIF stands at $2 million in commitments and is looking for companies with entrepreneurs fully committed to growing and scaling their company and who are seeking between $25,000 and $150,000 in investment toward their total seed round fundraising target.
Information from NMSU