Shake Smart to grow with investment from NewSpring Franchise

Shake Smart menu items

Shake Smart CEO Kevin Gelfand will remain at the helm.| Photo: Shutterstock.

The private-equity firm NewSpring has invested in the smoothie concept Shake Smart, the firm said Thursday.

The investment comes through NewSpring Franchise, which is dedicated to franchise and multi-concept brands. The firm did not disclose whether it took a majority stake in Shake Smart Holdings LLC.

The concept, which has 45 units, mostly on college campuses, is known for its healthful menu of protein shakes, smoothies, acai bowls, wraps and avocado toasts. CEO Kevin Gelfand, who co-founded the chain in 2011, will remain at the helm, and NewSpring Franchise founders Satya Ponnuru and Patrick Sugrue will join Shake Smart’s board.

“Shake Smart was founded to provide healthy, delicious and nutrient dense food and beverages to students and consumers with increasingly on-the-go lifestyles,” said Gelfand, in a statement. “I am excited to partner with NewSpring Franchise founders Satya Ponnuru and Patrick Sugrue as Shake Smart looks to accelerate unit openings even further in this next phase of growth. Their investment and operating experience will be integral as we continue our expansion.”

It’s not the first restaurant investment for NewSpring Franchise. The fund has also invested in Duck Donuts and Federal Donuts and Chicken, as well as non-restaurant chains, like Blo Blow Dry Bar and Central Bark.

Tecum Capital and NorthCoast Mezzanine provided mezzanine debt financing and equity co-investment for the transaction. Miller & Martin PLLC served as counsel for NewSpring and Shake Smart was advised by Brookwood Associates and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

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