Slutty Vegan Founder Pinky Cole Raises $25 Million In Series A Funding Round With New Voices Fund And Enlightened Hospitality Investments As Lead Investors

Aisha “Pinky” Cole is a busy woman. The founder and CEO of vegan burger chain Slutty Vegan now has products ranging from kettle chips to CBD gummies, not to mention a shoe deal, a foundation, and an upcoming cookbook (Eat Plants Bitch). In addition, Cole says a major grocery chain has ordered 60,000 units of Slutty Vegan dip, which comes in flavors like Bangin’ Hot-Lanta Chik’n and has already been on shelves at Target. And Cole is expanding beyond the Atlanta-based chain’s five stores into markets like Brooklyn and Baltimore. She says her goal is “to build a billion-dollar brand.”

In a For(bes) The Culture exclusive, Cole says she has raised $25 million through a Series A funding round that values her four-year-old brand at $100 million. Cole plans to use the money to open 10 Slutty Vegan locations by the end of this year and another 10 in 2023.

What excites Cole is not just the capital but the expertise of her lead investors: entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis’ New Voices Fund and restaurateur Danny Meyer's Enlightened Hospitality Investments. With Meyer, Cole gets a mentor who has created Michelin-starred restaurants and a successful fast-food chain in Shake Shack. “I got the Michael Jordan of food on my team,” says Cole, adding that Meyer “has proven that you can scale a business, and it can be unique.”

Meyer first became aware of Cole when she teamed up with Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti for a one-time “SluttyShack” offer at a Harlem location in August of last year. When Garutti mentioned the collaboration with Slutty Vegan, Meyer’s response was “What the hell is that?” After seeing the line-ups and seeing Cole in action, he was sold. “I had never seen vegan food presented in such a fun way," said Meyer. “Leaders are often defined by the degree to which people want to follow them, and I saw people following the leader."

Read more on Forbes