Runa’s clean energy mission pays off as sales continue to double year over year
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
OK, we’ll admit that our visit to the Runa booth was partially motivated by the desire to catch a glimpse of Channing Tatum (an investor in Runa along with several other high-profile backers including ZICO founder Mark Rampolla and Vita Coco co-founder Michael Kirban).
But while we didn’t get within 10 feet of Tatum, we did catch up with Runa co-founder Tyler Gage, who along with co-founder Dan MacCombie, is on a mission to build a ‘clean energy’ platform based on guayusa – an Amazonian leaf that naturally contains caffeine.
And so far, they have made significant progress, having built a vertically integrated supply chain for guayusa from farms in Ecuador to shelves in the US and used the leaf as the cornerstone of a range of Runa-branded teas and infusions (launched 2010), ready-to-drink teas (spring 2012) and carbonated energy drinks (spring 2013) now available in more than 8,000 stores nationwide.
They are also supplying organic and Fair Trade certified guayusa leaf - which can be made into a concentrate for use in ready-to-drink teas and other beverages - on a wholesale basis to high-profile brands looking for a natural source of caffeine including Mamma Chia.
Runa doesn’t disclose revenues but Gage told us it is “doubling sales year over year” and generating strong same store sales growth as well as distribution gains.
It is also going through the process of securing self-determined GRAS for guayusa, although it has a long history of safe use, he said.