Lots happened in the L.A. tech and startup community this week. dot.LA chief host and correspondent Kelly O'Grady takes you through the key stories:

  • COVID: Jukin Media Takes $2.2M in PPP Funds, SBA Claims Bird Took Funds - Bird Says It's a Mistake
  • Startups: Q&A with Sweetgreen CEO on Their Growth Plan, Get Help Platform Tackles Homelessness
  • Investing: Lots of Deals! Popshop Live, Nomad Homes, Karma and Riders Share All Raise Funds

Weekly Recap: www.youtube.com

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Jonathan Neman, the 35-year-old co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, wants to make one thing clear.

"Sweetgreen is not a tech company," he says. "If you want to make that the headline, you can."

With a lofty $1.6 billion valuation, a sleek headquarters in Culver City down the street from Apple and Amazon, and talk with Kara Swisher about becoming a "food platform," one could be forgiven for thinking Neman has aspirations that go way beyond serving salads, bowls and now plates in 108 stores. These days everyone wants to be a tech company, even if they are just renting office space or selling stationary bikes. Neman certainly has lofty goals – wanting to expand to what he says is "well over" 1,000 locations. But he says he is trying to grow Sweetgreen in the mold of Starbucks, not Snapchat.

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After protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd prompted Sweetgreen to close most of the locations it hadn't yet shuttered because of the coronavirus, the Culver City-based fast casual chain said Tuesday that it's on the rebound.

CEO Jonathan Neman announced the company has reopened most of its restaurants and rehired some of the 2,000 workers that it furloughed.

"We've brought back half of employees," Neman said at an Axios forum. "I'm confident we can bring back the other half soon."

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