Investors are warming up to pasta startup Banza.
This week the New York-based company received $20 million in growth financing from big-name backers, including a fund affiliate of restaurateur Danny Meyer.
"We’ve done a lot with a small, nimble team these past few years but we have a lot of growth opportunities ahead of us," Banza CEO and and co-founder Brian Rudolph told me. "We wanted the right, values-aligned partners to support our team and help us bring nutritious comfort foods to millions more people."
Those partners Banza found include Enlightened Hospitality Investments, the growth equity fund of Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) — the company that created Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK).
Enlightened co-founder and Managing Director Mark Leavitt said the investment in Banza underscores the firm's interest in plant-based proteins and "disrupting categories that consumers love."
USHG also owns several fancy New York restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and Maialino.