Tyler Gage

his award-winning entrepreneur speaks with heart, cutting insight and unflinching determination about how to achieve and innovate when you're out of your comfort zone. From leading a start-up through acquisition to serving on the Board of Directors of a publicly-traded company, Tyler uses his diverse experience to share potent insights about how to thrive at the edge and get results in unexpected, challenging environments.

Since the age of 19, Tyler has been studying native plants and languages with indigenous elders in the Amazon rainforest. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant to start RUNA, a social enterprise that makes clean energy drinks with guayusa, a rare Amazonian leaf, and improves livelihoods for thousands of indigenous farming families in Ecuador. With the help of investors like Channing Tatum and Leonardo DiCaprio, Runa has become a thriving, multimillion-dollar company and was acquired by VitaCoco in June of 2018.
Tyler was named a Forbes "30 Under 30 Entrepreneur" and winner of both the Big Apple Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Specialty Food Association's Citizen Leader of the Year Award. CBS This Morning, ABC Nightline, National Geographic and Richard Branson's book "Screw Business As Usual" have all featured Tyler for his unique and powerful approach to building businesses and creating social good.

In his book "Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business & Life," Tyler demonstrates how we can dig deeper to bring greater meaning and purpose to our personal and professional pursuits.

Tyler currently serves as a Managing Director for Terrafertil, the largest natural foods in Latin America, and has worked as the Chief Development Officer for the company. Terrafertil acquired Essential Living Foods in the US in 2017 and then Nestle acquired all of Terrafertil in 2018.

Tyler also serves on the Advisory Council for Entrepreneurship at Brown University and advises, invests in and supports other start-ups. He lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife and daughter, and enjoys backpacking, riding his unicycle and practicing yoga.

View Full Profile

"Profit and Sustainability
Its all about People"

Having built an organization that sells products in thousands of stores across the country while employing over 70 people and supporting more than 3,000 indigenous families in Ecuador, Gage knows what it takes to balance doing good with doing well. As a college student studying indigenous cultures in the Amazon, Gage's appreciation for the vibrant communities thriving in the rainforest inspired him to build a company that is rooted in a strong community of people in and around the business. From building a stellar Board of Advisors to connecting intimately with consumers, Gage's focus on doing good for people has fueled Runa's growth in to a multimillion dollar business that is one of the fastest growing beverage companies in the country.

"The "RUNA' Story In All of Us"

Tyler is passionate about encouraging people to have adventures that can help change the world. His undergraduate research of indigenous Amazonian languages led him to want to start a company that could use business as a way to support these native families.

Fierce Collaboration
Lessons from the power of the Amazon

Immersing himself in the native cultures of the Amazon, Tyler grew from an introverted linguistics researcher to an award-winning CEO of one of the hottest beverage companies in the country. He recognized that a unique spirit of collaboration and exchange is central to what gives indigenous communities the ability to not only survive, but to thrive in one of the most lethal ecosystems in the world. Tyler applied these lessons to building his first company into a 70-person organization that supports over 3,000 farming families, and has continued to apply these same principles as an advisor to large multinational companies.

The combination of "fierce" and "collaboration” might seem like a total contradiction, and the very idea of collaboration can be at odds with the competitiveness that often seeps into growing organizations.

Tyler's definition of Fierce Collaboration is not some aggressive mandate to collaborate, but a willingness to bring deeper pieces of ourselves into our shared spaces and use a more diverse skill set to engage in constructive dialog.

Key lessons Tyler shares about next-generation collaboration:

• Deep Listening: Amazonian hunters can prowl through the rainforest together with incredible synchronicity. They actively cultivate an ability to listen to more than the obvious forms of communication. Great leaders do the same thing, and Tyler shows how to use a broader range of communication tools to access richer insights.

• Make it personal: We’re quickly leaving the age when expressions like “don’t take it personally,” rule the world. Tyler shows the enduring strength that comes from shared struggles and vulnerable communication within a team, and offers a range of tools, like asking low assumption questions, to guide leaders and managers in this direction.

"Creative Fundraising"

Tyler Gage has raised over $12m for Runa, a hybrid non-profit and for-profit organization that improves livelihoods for Amazonian farming families and sells beverage products in the US. From rallying a crew of major celebrity investors and high level beverage industry executives to convincing the Ecuadorian National Government to invest in his business, Gage has composed a diverse group of investors on the for profit side. On the non profit side, Gage has collected donations from a wide range of investors including the MacArthur Foundation, US Government, German Government, and wealthy family offices.

His passion for the work he does and gift for storytelling makes this Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur able to garner support for his high growth venture.

Get more details and availability

Tyler Gage

Give us some basic details about you and your upcoming event, and one of our experts will be in touch with you quickly regarding pricing and availability.
Event Details
Your Details
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.