Three-Fold Mission Powers Kuli Kuli To Success
Since she launched her business five years ago, we’ve been following Lisa Curtis and her social enterprise Kuli Kuli, the superfood business built around moringa. She continues to impress.
In April, she closed a $6.2 million financing round. Kuli Kuli has done $10 million in revenue since inception. More importantly, at least to me and the farmers who are growing the moringa, she has remained true to her social mission.
The three-fold mission of Kuli Kuli is to 1) reduce poverty by empowering smallholder farmers in the developing world, 2) fight climate change and 3) improve global health through better nutrition.
Interview with Lisa Curtis, the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli.
The following is the pre-interview with Lisa Curtis. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Benefit Corporation
Revenue model: Kuli Kuli sells sustainable moringa products in 7,000 stores nationwide. We also sell online – our own website and on Amazon
Scale: Kuli Kuli has 11 employees and has done over $10M in revenue since launching in 2014
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Kuli Kuli’s goal is to add an innovative expansion to the Fair Trade model. Instead of sourcing a crop that has little nutritional value (coffee or chocolate) to the local community, we are sourcing a superfood proven to reduce malnutrition and CO2 – moringa. Kuli Kuli is building Fair Trade 2.0, a way for consumers in the U.S. to gain access to superfoods while encouraging farmers in the developing world to grow and utilize more local nutritious plants. By carefully managing our supply chain to source only a portion of each harvest for Western consumption and by paying fair wages, we can ensure that superfoods like moringa benefit those who need them the most.
We’re working to become the leading provider of unique superfood products, starting with moringa. We will work with women’s cooperatives all over the world to drive sustainable growth and agricultural development. Our non-profit arm will invest heavily in nutritional education and rejuvenate nutrient-rich food sources as a tool for nutritional security.
Our mission is to create a world where everyone has access to nutritious sources of food and malnutrition only exists in history books. We believe investing in the nutritional power of plants like moringa nourishes communities where these plants are sourced. Kuli Kuli supports farming groups that teach women to grow, process and incorporate nutrient-rich moringa into their families’ diets, reducing malnutrition. Kuli Kuli can scale globally, as moringa thrives in many countries (India, Haiti, Nicaragua) that suffer from malnutrition. Moringa is also resilient to increasing droughts caused by climate change.
More about Kuli Kuli:
Kuli Kuli is the world’s leading moringa brand with the highest quality moringa on the market. Moringa is a leafy green more nutritious than kale that provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits rivaling those of turmeric. Our Moringa Superfood Bars, Pure Organic Moringa Powder, Moringa Green Energy Shots, and Organic Moringa Green Smoothie Mixes are made in the US with moringa sourced directly from women’s cooperatives and small family farmers around the world. By importing a portion of the moringa to the US for our products, we’ve created an international market for moringa and a sustainable livelihood for our farmers. Over 60% of Americans say incorporating more vegetables into their diet is their #1 priority but only 4% of Americans are getting our recommended serving of veggies per day. Kuli Kuli’s delicious moringa products make it easy for Americans to get their greens on the go. To date, Kuli Kuli has planted over 2.5 million moringa trees, partnered with over 1,300 farmers, and has provided $2M in income to women-led farming cooperatives, nonprofits, and family farms. You can find our products in over 7,000 stores across the US, including Whole Foods, Sprouts and Safeway.
Lisa Curtis. Photo Credit: Kuli Kuli
Lisa Curtis’s bio:
Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli, the leading brand pioneering the superfood moringa in the US market. Lisa founded Kuli Kuli after working with moringa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Lisa has grown Kuli Kuli from a Peace Corps dream into a multi-million dollar social enterprise that sells delicious moringa products in over 7,000 stores. Lisa and Kuli Kuli have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and hundreds of other publications. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic where she managed a team of six to grow the company from zero to over $5M invested in solar through Mosaic’s online marketplace. Previously, Lisa wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, served as a United Nations Environment Programme Youth Advisor and worked at an impact investment firm in India. She is a regular contributor to Forbes and has been recognized as a StartingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator and a Udall Scholar. She was honored as a 30 Under 30 Leader by Forbes, GreenBiz and the University of California. She was also named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 “Top of the Class” for Social Entrepreneurship. Lisa is a frequent speaker at social impact and natural food conferences on topics such as supply chain transparency, building buzz, fundraising and millennial entrepreneurship.
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