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Tecum Capital Announces Strategic Investment in Healthy Fast-Casual Concept Shake Smart

The investment will be used to bring Shake Smart’s nutritious, lifestyle-friendly offering to more consumers across the U.S.

PITTSBURGH, PA – March 14, 2024 – Tecum Capital (“Tecum”) is pleased to announce its investment in Shake Smart Holdings, LLC (“Shake Smart” or the “Company”), a leading healthy fast-casual concept. As part of the transaction, Tecum partnered with NewSpring Franchise, Shake Smart Management, and NorthCoast Mezzanine.

Founded in 2011 and led by Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Gelfand, Shake Smart provides healthy, nutritious, and delicious protein shakes, protein smoothies, acai bowls, wraps, nut butter, avocado toast, and more to its customers across multiple day parts. Today, most Shake Smart locations are on college campuses. Shake Smart will use the proceeds of this transaction to continue its rapid unit expansion within and outside of higher education to capitalize on growing consumer demand for convenient, healthy food options.

“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 Kevin Gelfand, Co-Founder and CEO of Shake Smart. “Our team has successfully grown the concept to over 45 locations across the U.S. 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.”   

“Shake Smart is a leader in the growing healthy fast-casual category, establishing its brand and customer value proposition with a differentiated product offering. It represents exactly the type of company we seek to apply our proven approach to building proven, multi-unit brands,” said Satya Ponnuru, NewSpring General Partner. “Together with our deep networks, access to human capital, and experience in the franchise restaurant industry, we hope to infuse Shake Smart with the right balance of operational expertise and infrastructure to enable its continued fast growth nationwide.”

Tyson Smith, Paul Oris, Carter Henderson, and Justin Uhlenbrock led the investment for Tecum. Clark Hill PLC was counsel for Tecum.

About Tecum Capital

Tecum Capital is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based private investment firm deploying capital in lower middle-market companies. Tecum provides mezzanine debt and equity investments in growth-oriented middle-market companies across the broader high-value manufacturing, value-added distribution, and business services sectors. Our team partners with independent sponsors, family offices, committed funds, business owners seeking succession plans, and management teams to create shared success. Tecum manages two Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”) licensed funds and is currently investing out of Tecum Capital Partners III, L.P, a $305 million fund launched in September 2021. Since 2006, the team has collectively invested more than $1 billion in over 150 platforms and add-on acquisitions. For more information, please visit

About Shake Smart

Shake Smart is a healthy fast-casual concept focused on better-for-you blended drinks, acai bowls, and other healthy on-the-go food options. The Company has pioneered a new segment of the blended drink industry called “functional nutrition.” With 45+ locations at universities located within student unions and recreation centers in 20+ states nationwide, Shake Smart continues to align perfectly with the growing demand by consumers for healthy and affordable options built for a fast-paced lifestyle. The Company’s offering, streamlined operations, and small on-site footprint boast well for non-traditional venues, with a strategic vision to further expand in higher education, along with airports, hospitals, and military installations across the U.S. 

About NewSpring

NewSpring is a lower-middle market-focused private equity firm that partners with the innovators, makers, and operators of high-performing companies in dynamic industries to catalyze new growth and seize compelling opportunities. The Firm manages approximately $3.5 billion across five distinct strategies covering the spectrum from growth equity and control buyouts to mezzanine debt. Having invested in over 200 companies, NewSpring brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources to take growing companies to the next level and beyond. Partnering with management teams to help develop their businesses into market leaders, NewSpring identifies opportunities and builds relationships using its network of industry leaders and influencers across a wide array of operational areas and industries. To learn more, visit

About NorthCoast Mezzanine

Minneapolis, MN-based NorthCoast Mezzanine is a lower middle market-focused investment firm that provides subordinated debt and non-control equity to businesses in a variety of industries nationwide. NorthCoast finances leveraged acquisitions backed by private equity sponsors, management and family-driven ownership transitions, add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations, and growth initiatives. NorthCoast is currently investing out of its $285MM SBIC Fund III (2022 vintage). To learn more, visit