Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1194330

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WINTER 2020 63 Fancy Food Show Booth #646 80 tech companies to see if he could get them interested in his cookies. "I got kicked out of most of them, but some said yes," he says. Ultimately, Google, Yelp, Uber, Facebook, and Twitter started featuring the portable snacks in their breakrooms. By 2015, they had sold more than 2.5 million units. In 2016, the cofounders were selected for Forbes' "30 Under 30 Tastemakers Who Are Redefining Food and Drink." The attention helped lead to more funding and a partnership with Starbucks. As it happens, coffee is one of the best pairings for a Dutch wafel. A traditional way to enjoy it is to rest it atop the rim of a mug of steaming coffee—or other hot beverage—and let the interior melt. The wafels tested well in a limited number of outlets and before long Pruisken and De Leon were awarded a contract to launch at every Starbucks in America. first prize in a Brown University startup competition. Together, they figured out how to package and box the wafels and scale up for mass distribution. They believed so deeply in what they were doing that they both turned down lucrative job offers from the financial world. Despite all this rapid initial success, there were still struggles. "It's very rare that a company takes off quickly," Pruisken says. "You have to hire the right people and the timing has to be right. You have to have a Michael Phelps-level of maniacal determination, be an outlier in how obsessive you are in something or you're not going to last. You're going to give up." Pruisken and De Leon did not give up. They crashed on people's couches and occasionally in their cars. Their families pitched in money to keep them going. For three years they were based in San Francisco. Pruisken paid visits to about PHOTO: RIP VAN HIGHLIGHTS 2006 Rip Pruisken's freshman year at Brown University, discovers no stroopwafels to be had in Providence. ● 2008 Summer study in Italy, epiphany about becoming an entrepreneur. ● 2009 Makes wafels in dorm room and sells out on the main green. ● 2010 Graduates from Brown, Kickstarter campaign, starts selling product commercially. ● 2011 Partners with co-founder Marco De Leon to scale the business. Expands production. ● 2012 Expands distribution to colleges in the Northeast and moves business to San Francisco. ● 2014 Becomes the number-one snack in tech companies in Silicon Valley and gets into Peet's Coffee. ● 2016 Launches in Starbucks nationally, 30 under 30 from Forbes, introduces new flavors, moves to Brooklyn. ● 2018 Shortens name to Rip Van, expands production capacity and gains placement in natural stores like Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods. ● 2019 Launches low-sugar and protein lines in different pack sizes. ●

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