December 2, 2014
Jonathan Neman, the co-founder and co-CEO of Sweetgreen, always knew it was in his genes to venture out and start his own company. During his tenure as an undergraduate at Georgetown University, he teamed up with a few friends after they all spent time abroad; each student had the desire to create something upon their return and connected over healthy eating options.
In a way, Sweetgreen was almost accidental. That is, the entrepreneurs knew they wanted to build a healthy eating option, but they didn’t know exactly what form it should take. And then they encountered a tiny, 560 square foot house on M Street in Georgetown.
It was the perfect location, flawlessly distanced from campus and the hustle and bustle on M Street; they had to have it. Neman and his team called the property manager’s number, but she refused to take a meeting with them because she thought they weren’t serious.
After a month of persistence, the team finally secured a meeting with her and laid out their business plan. However, if Sweetgreen was going to happen the manager wanted to see more substantial schematics, business plans, and money: that’s when it got real for Neman.
Collectively the team raised $300,000 from friends, family members, and classmates who thought they had a good idea. In a sense, they crowdfunded the Sweetgreen restaurant without the help of online crowdfunding platforms.
The end result was healthy food that was accessible, affordable, and delicious. Neman sat down with Frank Gruber at 1776 in Washington DC to talk about the genesis of his restaurant chain.
Here’s the video:
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