Hot new salad chain Sweetgreen just raised a fresh $35 million
Its Series F round was led by T. Rowe Price with contributions from existing investor Revolution Growth, an investment fund from AOL cofounder Steve Case and fellow former AOL execs Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis.
Sweetgreen has raised a total of $95 million to date. It most recently raised an $18.5 million round in November 2014.Behance cofounder Scott Belsky, Stonyfield Farm founder Gary Hirshberg, and restaurateurs Danny Meyer, David Chang, and Daniel Boulud were investors in the previous round.
Founded in 2007 by Georgetown grads Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru, the brand focuses on sourcing ingredients from local farms to create salads that are healthy, quick, and affordable.
Neman says the company was not actively seeking funding when it was approached by T. Rowe Price.
"It was very opportunistic. We had just raised a bunch of capital and weren't looking to raise more," he said to Business Insider. "But having [T. Rowe Price Portfolio Manager] Henry Ellenbogen on our board is really a validation of what we're doing."
Ellenbogen's New Horizon Fund at T. Rowe Price famously took a big stake in Twitter, Zulily, and Angie's List before their IPOs.
But Neman says that Sweetgreen has no foreseeable plans to go public."This gives us more flexibility so we don't have to go public anytime soon," he said. "It just gives us a longer runway. It allows us to hire more talent at every level and build out more infrastructure, our technology, and the teams we have in-house."
Sweetgreen plans to open about 10 more stores this year, including a second in Los Angeles this summer, Neman says.
"We're going back to the basics of food and healthy eating, but at a large scale. We're bridging the gap," he said. "There's no one else doing it on a national scale."