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FourC FitnessGuest InfoWho is Tyler Gage and What is Runa?

Who is Tyler Gage and What is Runa?

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Tyler is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Runa. After his freshman year at Brown University, Tyler decided to follow his passion for Amazonian plants and languages and moved to South America. He witnessed firsthand the struggle indigenous communities face between earning income for their families, largely through deforestation, and their intention to preserve their culture and the rainforest. During this time, Tyler first tried guayusa and recognized that it could be produced to create a new, sustainable income source for these communities. Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant so that he could co-found Runa, for which he was named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” in January 2013 and the Citizen Leader of the Year Award in January 2014 by the Specialty Food Association. In his free time, Tyler enjoys playing soccer, practicing yoga, traveling, and eating good food. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Runa 

Runa is a Brooklyn-based social enterprise that makes beverages brewed with the guayusa (pronounced “gwhy-you-sa”) “super leaf” and improves the livelihoods of Amazonian farming families through its supply chain. When brewed, guayusa has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, double the antioxidants of leading green tea products, and a smooth, clean taste.

Revered by indigenous communities for centuries, guayusa is also consumed by native hunters before venturing in to the jungle at night. Made from a tree, not from a lab, Runa is “clean energy” that powers you through your day.  Runa supports over 3,000 farming families and is pioneering a new way of doing business in the Amazon. Runa’s products are sold in over 6,000 stores across the country, and are an effective alternative to the legions of artificial beverages and energy drinks on the market. The journey continues at www.runa.org.

Runa’s Story

Runa was founded in 2009, days after we graduated from college. But our story begins several years earlier, when Tyler was living with the Kichwa people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was then he was introduced to guayusa – a naturally caffeinated tree leaf brewed like tea, consumed early in the morning to help interpret dreams and late at night to provide energy and clarity while hunting in the jungle. He loved the earthy flavor, smooth taste, and energy boost he got from the leaf.

Living and working in Latin and South America, we both saw how unsustainable activities like logging were enticing ways for people living in the rainforest to pay for education and medicine. We also saw how development projects implemented by NGOs often floundered because they lacked buy-in from local stakeholders.

Upon returning to college we teamed up to write the business plan for Runa. We entered and won several business plan competitions. After graduating from school we moved to Ecuador to begin working with local Kichwa communities to build a guayusa supply chain.

Together with these communities we envisioned a business that could share energizing, rich-tasting guayusa with the world – a business that would respect cultural traditions, support small farmers, and maintain the integrity of the Amazon rainforest. Runa now buys guayusa leaves from over 2,300 farming families. Those leaves are processed in a plant in Ecuador and then shipped to the U.S. where they are shared with a growing number of people.

Runa is proving that businesses in the Amazon can be good for the environment and the preservation of traditional cultural practices while supporting producers and connecting them to consumers around the world.

We couldn’t be more excited.

RUNA offers the following products to fit into your everyday, health and fitness lifestyle!

8 - Product Can

CLEAN ENERGY DRINKS
Berry or Original

An entirely new take on energy drinks. One can of Runa Clean Energy has 120 mg of caffeine, 650 mg of polyphenol antioxidants, and a clean, smooth taste. The kicker? It all comes naturally from a brewed leaf – not a lab.

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BOTTLES

LEMON-LEMONGRASS GUAYUSA
HIBISCUS-BERRY GUAYUSA
MINT GUAYUSA
TRADITIONAL SWEETENED WITH MAPLE SYRUP
GUAVA ZERO UNSWEETENED GUAYUSA
LIME ZERO UNSWEETENED GUAYUSA

10 - Product - Pyramid Infusers

PYRAMID INFUSERS
Sage Lavender, Hibiscus Berry &Traditional

Brewing Instructions: Pour boiling water over infuser. Steep for 4-7 minutes or longer for a stronger brew

11 - Product - Loose Leaf Tin

LOOSE LEAF TINS
Traditional, Mint & Hibiscus Berry

Brewing Instructions: Boil water until it reaches 185 °F / 85 °C then add 2 grams of guayusa (about 1 spoonful) per 8 oz. of water. Let steep for 4-6 minutes.

12 - Product - Runa Tea Box

BOXES

Brewing Instructions: Pour boiling water over infuser. Steep for 4-7 minutes or longer for a stronger brew

Flavors:

CINNAMON-LEMONGRASS GUAYUSA
GINGER-CITRUS GUAYUSA
TRADITIONAL GUAYUSA
MINT GUAYUSA TEA

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