Pinkberry is a well-known frozen yogurt company with hundreds of stores across the world. Founded in 2005 in Santa Monica by Hye Kyung Hwang (USC Marshall Alumni) and Young Lee.
They were originally planning to become a teahouse but were unable to get the permits to operate as a teahouse. Following this, they pivoted to frozen yogurt and became a huge success, attracting customers from across Southern California to their Santa Monica location. Originally, they only had plain and green tea flavors in order to have a very streamlined process to accommodate high traffic in a small store.
Shortly after their founding and initial success, they received $27 million in funding from Maveron. Maveron is a consumer product-focused venture capital firm founded by Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. This investment allowed Pinkberry to expand nationwide and gain credibility.
Pinkberry is one of the only frozen yogurt stores with venture capital backing, which attests to their ability to scale and make money quickly.
Pinkberry expanded both nationally and internationally for the next few years with great success. In 2013 and 2014, sales started to slow as a result of the saturation in the frozen yogurt market. In 2015, Pinkberry was acquired by Kahala Brands, a fast-food conglomerate that also owns companies like Baja Fresh and ColdStone. Their intention was to integrate Pinkberry into their system and grow the company even more. So far, this has been successful and Pinkberry continues to have a strong brand presence through Los Angeles and the world.