Sweetgreen Reveals Soaring Revenue, Big Stock Grant for Founders in IPO Filing

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Sweetgreen
Sweetgreen, the Culver City salad chain that became a popular spot for the health-conscious set, filed to go public on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dependent on office workers darting in for leafy bowls on their lunch breaks, Sweetgreen struggled when the pandemic hit and shuttered workplaces. But the company has since bounced back. It revealed Monday in a filing for an initial public offering that its revenue for the year to date, as of September 26, spiked by about 51% to $243 million from the same period last year.

The salad chain also disclosed losses of nearly $87 million to date in 2021, down from about $100 million during the same period in 2020.

In April 2020, Sweetgreen let go of 10% of its workforce at its L.A. headquarters, alienating some workers who were told about the layoffs via a pre-written script and were then locked out of their accounts. Little more than a year later, the company disclosed its plans to go public through a confidential filing.

Since then, Sweetgreen has won backing from star tennis player Naomi Osaka and its CEO Jonathan Neman has drawn ire for his now-deleted comments on the coronavirus, mask mandates and public health.

Despite the gaffe, Sweetgreen awarded its founders a "mega-grant" of company shares that is contingent on the company hitting certain stock-price milestones in the future, according to the filing. The compensation package is reminiscent of Elon Musk's arrangement with Tesla.

Founded in 2007 by three friends who wanted cheap healthy food around Georgetown University's campus, Sweetgreen has heavily depended on technology to sell their salads and streamline their supply chain. The company has 140 restaurants in 13 states, but the majority of its orders at the restaurant are made online, according to the filing.

Like other tech-dependent companies, Sweetgreen acknowledges that ad-blockers, privacy regulations and other measures that prevent consumer tracking could harm it's bottom line. Facebook on Monday saw its shares fall after Apple's new privacy rules hit tech companies.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million
Liquid Death Files Paperwork to Raise $15 Million

When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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