Childhood obesity’s a serious problem. One in three children and adolescents in America are either obese or at serious risk of becoming obese, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Like most big problems, this one creates a business opportunity. Which is where Revolution Foods comes in.
A northern California startup, Revolution Foods provides healthy food for school lunches and nutrition education to four charter schools serving poor children in Oakland, Ca. The business is the brainchild of Kristin Groos Richmond, a 31-year-old newly-minted MBA from Berkeley who spent her last year of business school writing a business plan, forging a strategic partnership with Whole Foods and running a 10-week pilot program at a local school. Kristin and co-founder Kirsten Tobey, another Berkeley MBA, secured startup funding from the Bay Area Equity Fund, a venture capital fund managed by J.P. Morgan, that “seeks to invest in companies that can deliver market-rate venture capital returns while enabling social and environmental improvement in the San Francisco Bay Area’s low and moderate income neighborhoods.”
Although Revolution Foods is just getting started, Kristin’s excited by what she’s seen. By email, she says, “We’ve had great results so far with parents, teachers, and kids writing in about the healthier, mostly organic foods we are offering each day. Everything is fresh and seasonal.”
Interestingly, both Kristin and Kirsten worked for NGOs — Kristin helped start a school in East Africa, Kirsten worked at Earthjustice and a UN hunger program — before going to b-school and becoming social enterpreneurs. Now they’re running a company with a powerful idea behind it. They’re part of a new wave of socially conscious MBAs who, I believe, are going to rock the world of business in the years ahead.