on track to IPO.
So why did its
to pivot to tech?
By Burt Helm
When they were still undergrads
at Georgetown University,
Jonathan Neman, Nicolas
Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru weren’t
yet superfriends. They knew one
another because Ru sat behind
Neman in Accounting 101, and
Jammet’s freshman dorm room
was next to Neman’s. But after
they graduated, in 2007, they
decided to try opening a 560-
square-foot salad and frozen
yogurt shop: Sweetgreen. Their
friendship grew with the business.
By the time the company had 20
locations, from D.C. to Philadelphia, and they were raising money
for a national expansion, the three
had become so chummy that it
made their potential investors
nervous. Were these brothers-in-salad for real?
“It was unusual, and quite
frankly, a concern,” recalls Steve
Case, CEO of Revolution and a
Sweetgreen board member. “They
were co-CEOs who shared the
same o;ce and, when we invested,
at least two of the three shared
the same apartment.” (Ru and
Neman lived in a townhouse in
Georgetown. Jammet lived across
the street.) “On one level, it’s like,
isn’t that sweet? How Kumbaya.
On the other hand, when push
comes to shove, how are decisions
going to get made here? How is
that really going to scale?”
Jammet, Neman, and Ru call
their philosophy the Sweetlife.
It means projecting earnest bon-
homie always and everywhere,
treating their customers, employ-
CAN ANY COMPANY BE A TECH COMPANY?