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Kirsten Tobey, 31 and Kristin Richmond (not pictured), 33
Tobey and Richmond met at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley and hatched the idea of creating a venture that combined their backgrounds in education with their shared love of food. (Tobey is a former educator in the U.S., Mexico, and Ecuador, and a public health activist; Richmond is a former investment banker who co-founded one of the first special education schools in Kenya.) When the pair talked to teachers and principals, parents, and students in public schools across the Bay Area, they were told that the biggest need was better quality meals, and that nobody was doing anything about it. So the pair devised a concept to deliver nutritious and healthy lunches. After raising $500,000 in seed money from venture capital firm DBL Investors and partnering with executive chef Amy Klein, a former director of operations for Teach for America, and Whole Foods (WFMI), they launched a pilot program at one Oakland school in the spring of 2006. By year's end, they were serving 10 schools. "We realized there was a huge demand and we needed to scale and grow faster," says Tobey. Within two years, Revolution Food went from serving 500 lunches a day to 5,000 in 30 Bay Area Schools. They raised two additional rounds of funding totaling $10 million from Catamount Ventures and the Westly Group.
Currently, with 120 employees and two commercial kitchens, Revolution delivers more than 20,000 lunches to more than 100 schools in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with plans to expand across the country. Two years ago, the pair launched a separate business: Revolution Foods, an organic line of food products sold online and at Whole Foods. Last year, the company earned $4 million in revenue for their fiscal year that ended in June and Tobey says they are on track to make $10 million this year