Brian Rudolph ran into a something of a conundrum early in his adult life. The Detroiter is gluten free and loves to eat healthy, but he also loves to eat pasta. He reconciled these contradictions by creating his own gluten-free pasta and bulding a business, Banza
, around it.
"I stopped buying pasta and started making my own," says Rudolph, a Venture for America
fellow who co-founded Banza with his brother, Scott Rudolph. "The more I worked on it the more I realized this could be a $1 billion company."
Banza's pasta is made from chickpeas, so it is more akin to hummus and falafel than traditional pasta. It is gluten, grain, and soy free. While normal pasta lacks in providing nutritional value, Banza contains a load of nutrients. It has seven grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein in a serving.
"It's more (protein) than you get in a protein bar," Rudolph says.
The 8-month-old company and its team of three people are currently working to get their pasta-replacement food to market. It is currently in the Eatly fine food stores in the U.S. and should be on the shelves of the 200 Meijer stores by September. The Rudolphs also just participated in a taping of Restaurant Startup
, a Shark Tank-style
show for entrepreneurs on CNBC.
"Our goal is to do to pasta what Chobani
did to yogurt," Rudolph says.
Source: Brian Rudolph, co-founder of Banza
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.