Slutty Vegan visionary Pinky Cole is continuing to make boss moves. The innovative businesswoman has secured $25 million in Series A funding round for her restaurant chain and has no plans of slowing down.
The funding includes investments from veteran entrepreneurs Richelieu Dennis’ New Voices Fund and restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments, Forbes reported. The deals were negotiated by Cole’s Chief Revenue Officer Jason Crain.
A former Miss Clark Atlanta University, Cole has seen her Slutty Vegan brand skyrocket to success in just four short years. In addition to being counted among the best in vegan comfort food, the brand has a foundation, secured a shoe deal, and has its name on products ranging from kettle chips to CBD gummies. Its pending cookbook is titled “Eat Plants B**ch.”
With the additional funding, Cole said she plans to continue scaling Slutty Vegan locations across the country, starting with Brooklyn and Baltimore – and hire chief marketing and operations officers.
The ultimate goal is “to build a billion-dollar brand,” Cole told Forbes.
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While she is grateful for the funding, Cole said she’s also excited about the partnerships with Dennis and Meyer.
“I got the Michael Jordan of food on my team,” Cole said of Meyer, adding that with his success in building Shake Shack, he “has proven that you can scale a business, and it can be unique.”
Both men said they were beyond impressed with Cole after learning of her business and seeing her in action.
“I had never seen vegan food presented in such a fun way,” Meyer said. “Leaders are often defined by the degree to which people want to follow them, and I saw people following the leader.”
People kept telling him to try the chain, Dennis said. “It’s that really, really great food that put Slutty Vegan on my radar.
“They kept encouraging me. So, I went to see her. I’m in the line and I’m looking at the line. That’s what pulls me in,” Dennis continued. “And, as they say, I was ‘Sluttified.’ I was hooked ever since.”
Cole hasn’t let the success get to her head. She said she is constantly on a mission to avoid failing — a healthy, “beautiful fear” of hers.
“I’ve got a fear of failure. What entrepreneur wouldn’t?” Cole said. “But you know what that fear does? It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me on my grind. I want to know that when Pinky is long gone, what I’ve created will continue to live on.”
PHOTO: Pinky Cole, owner of Slutty Vegan restaurants and food trucks, wipes down a sign on her storefront in Atlanta, May 20, 2020. Through her Pinky Cole Foundation, she’s been paying the rent for small businesses that are struggling. “Black-owned businesses, we’ve always landed at the bottom of the totem pole as it relates to resources,” Cole said. “We put our blood, sweat and tears into these businesses and everything you’ve worked hard for can be lost in a matter of days.” (AP Photo/Angie Wang)