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Jul 23, 2019

If you’re familiar with yerba mate, you’re probably familiar with Guayaki. 

Founded in 1996, Guayaki was one of the first companies to introduce yerba mate -- a naturally caffeinated herbal infusion native to South America -- to U.S. consumers. In the years since, the brand, which markets a range of ready-to-drink and loose leaf products, helped create a loyal and rapidly expanding market for the beverage, while establishing itself as a vertically integrated company driven by responsible and sustainable business practices. 

In an interview included in this episode, co-founder David Karr discussed why a focus on “regenerative thinking” throughout the company’s growth has guided its business strategy, rather than “an end dollar, an end goal.”

“There’s no end game,” he said. “It’s a mindset. The greatest influence we’re going to have as a tribe or as a collective is to inspire rather than to have to do it all ourselves.”

Within our conversation, Karr opened up about Guayaki and its origins, how the brand creates evangelists for yerba mate, why he considers the business as “a reforestation vehicle,” how the company communicates its mission to consumers and its unique approach to distribution and hiring.

Show notes: 

2:29: David Karr, Co-Founder, Guayaki -- Karr met with BevNET CMO Mike Schneider in Brooklyn and discussed his journey as the co-founder of Guayaki. Karr explained how the brand got its name, how his experience studying abroad in Europe shaped his business perspective and the story of his introduction to mate via co-founder Alex Pryor. He also spoke about why he abandoned plans to start a tech company in favor of launching Guayaki, the early days of demoing the brand across California in a Volkswagen bus and having personally served millions of cups to consumers, why he believes that “time is an illusion” and what it makes to “make it” as an entrepreneur. He also discussed Guayaki’s “Market Driven Regeneration” business model and how he measures its impact, staying privately-owned, the company’s approach to self-distribution and its goal to hire 10,000 formerly incarcerated people over the next decade.

Brands in this episode: Guayaki, Red Bull