Tyler Gage + RUNA Tea featured on Fast Company

Tyler Gage’s world changed when, following a course at Brown University on the languages and cultures of the Amazon, he decided to move to the rainforest. He became immersed in the culture and ancient traditions of the Kichwa people. One daily ritual in particular stood out: boiling guayusa leaves in clay pots to drink while conversing with each other...all before dawn. Tyler discovered that he loved the buzz and naturally sweet and earthy flavor of this leaf that was said to have mystical powers by the tribespeople. 

He also saw that taking care of the land was a high priority for the tribe. This was in conflict with the much needed income that logging, and in turn deforestation, provided. These experiences ignited the spark in Tyler to support the sustainability of the land and tribe that so graciously took him in. He wanted to prove that managing the land profitably while using sustainable farming methods and a fair trade business model works. Once he returned to school, Tyler teamed up with his good friend Dan MacCombie to write up a business plan for their vision. As a result of networking, attending various trade shows and securing investments from prominent figures in the beverage industry, Runa Tea was born. Runa is currently expected to hit $10 million in revenue and has provided a direct income of over $200,00 to 2,000 families.

The story of the Kichwa, Tyler, Dan and Runa Tea speaks to the empowerment an education provided the young entrepreneurs to empower others. When they first realized their vision, neither of them had taken a single business class nor did they know much about exporting from the Amazon. Tyler and Dan’s adaptability, through investing in a business class and integrating their liberal arts education, allowed them to achieve their dreams. This inspiring story deserves every echo it has received thus far, like How Two Liberal Arts Students Created A Million-Dollar, Rainforest-Saving Company (via Fast Company) and this piece (via Mens Fitness) about how Channing Tatum became a Runa brand ambassador. The passion Tyler has for furthering his dream was evident when he stopped by for an interview at our office. We are privileged to partner with him in helping him spread his message and continue to inspire others to live out their dreams.   


(images via Google)
Tyler Gage: CoFounder and CEO of RUNA Tea, Award Winning Entrepreneur

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