RASA on Tuesday announced the completion of a Series A financing round led by female-founded growth equity firm, Rellevant Partners, led by Janice Meyer and Jessica Kates. The funds will be used to open new locations, expedite market expansion, implement new technologies, and grow the RASA team with a continued focus on creating a best-in-class experience for both RASA team members and guests. The investment marks a significant milestone for the company as RASA plans for aggressive growth in the Washington, DC metropolitan area while evaluating new market opportunities along the East Coast.
Founded in 2017, RASA is the realization of an idea co-founders Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod first conceptualized in high school. Best friends since birth, Rahman and Vinod grew up immersed in the restaurant industry. Their fathers, both first-generation immigrants, together have successfully run two well-known Indian restaurants in Washington, DC and Maryland for over thirty years.
Based on their unique upbringing, the founders saw a number of barriers to trying Indian food for most Americans and wanted to authentically share the flavors they grew up loving in a more approachable way. “Since we started RASA, our primary goal has been to use food as a vehicle for connecting our communities. It’s been incredible to see so many wake up to the wonders of Indian cuisine,” said Rahman. “We are honored to have the support of the top-notch team at Rellevant Partners as we move into our next chapter as a company and continue pursuing this mission.”
“RASA’s unique brand fills a major void in the industry. The quality, flavor profile, and affordability of its offerings positions the company to become the clear leader in the category” says Meyer. “Not only is the brand truly differentiated, but Sahil and Rahul are dynamic entrepreneurs with whom Janice and I are excited to partner” noted Kates. Rellevant is passionate about discovering and supporting the next generation of champions in the culinary landscape and RASA fits squarely within that strategy.
Since opening, RASA has received critical acclaim from local, regional, and national media outlets and topped best-of lists including receiving the Eater Young Guns Award, StarChefs Best Concept Mid-Atlantic, and being named Best New Restaurant and Best Fast Casual by Washington City Paper. The brand has also been featured on the cover of QSR Magazine’s annual 40/40 list, the Washington Post’s Fall Dining Guide, and Washingtonian’s Top 100 Cheap Eats.
The company’s ethos is heavily rooted in supporting their local community, providing over 75,000 meals to people in need to date. Since the start of the pandemic, RASA has raised over $70,000 in collaboration with the Vernon Davis Foundation and partnered with numerous non-profits including Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen, Off Their Plate, Real Food for Kids, and Feed the Fridge, resulting in the contribution of thousands of meals to medical workers, school children, and elderly communities.