Guayakí Yerba Mate: David Karr and Chris Mann

In the mid-1990’s most Americans had probably never even heard of yerba mate, but when David Karr and Chris Mann were first introduced to the South American drink, they were hooked. Together with three other friends, they decided to launch a company that would bring mate to the American market. Based in San Luis Obispo, California, the co-founders of Guayakí Yerba Mate spent years living in a van and driving all over the country, brewing up free samples for consumers, and convincing natural food stores to sell their product. It would take almost 15 years of grinding away before the company turned a significant profit, but the founders were powered by a mission to do business in a way that supports communities and the environment. Today, Guayakí has annual revenue of over $100 million, and their canned and bottled beverages are available all across the U.S.

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