The MCN’s Rachel Andersen caught up with Tyler on October 21, 2014 to hear about Runa’s growth since being a part of the 2011 cohort.
“We built a supply chain entirely from scratch in the middle of the Amazon so we had to go through all the heavy lifting of immense amounts of R&D, bureaucracy, and export/ import processing procedures to get this product to market. “
Runa is a Brooklyn-based social enterprise that makes beverages brewed with the guayusa (pronounced “gwhy-you-sa”) “super leaf” and improves the livelihoods of Amazonian farming families through its supply chain. When brewed, guayusa has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, double the antioxidants of leading green tea products, and a smooth, clean taste. Co-founders Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie entered the Sustainable Business Plan Competition in 2011 and finished in second place. They left with cash awards, pro bono professional service prizes, and new relationships with their mentors.
- Runa has 25 employees in the US and almost 40 in Ecuador.
- You can find Runa products in 7,000 stores nationwide in the US.
- Runa has helped farmers plant about a million trees to date.
- Runa supports over 3,000 farming families.
- Runa has purchased almost one million pounds of fresh guayusa leaves from their network of farmers.
- Since producing for Runa, farmers have had an average increase of 25% of annual income.
- Runa’s sales growth rate is on track to almost triple sales in 2014 over sales in 2013.