Chomps: Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali

When steaks don’t sell you shift to sticks; that’s how Chomps was born. After several failed ventures—one of which left him bankrupt—Pete Maldonado decided to take another chance on launching a business. He partnered with Rashid Ali to start a mail-order service similar to Omaha Steaks, but with grass-fed meat that was more suited to the Paleo diet. When the partners couldn’t get that off the ground, they shifted to individually-wrapped meat sticks; one of the first in a long line of ‘healthier for you’ protein snacks. For several years, each co-founder tried to manage the business as a side-hustle, but the sausage hit the fan in 2016 when a surprise order from Trader Joe’s left them scrambling to produce a million sticks. Today, Chomps is available in major chains across the country and pulls in more than $100 million a year. 

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