“We do things a little differently here,” says Dan Kurzrock, the co-founder and “executive grain officer” of ReGrained, a San Francisco-based artisanal granola startup.
In some ways, that’s true. The company’s premise – taking used malt from urban craft breweries and fashioning them into granola bars with flavors like honey almond IPA and chocolate stout – is unique and offbeat. And in San Francisco, where food companies frequently raise generous rounds from VCs, Kurzrock and co-founder Jordan Schwartz’s decision to bootstrap their business and take on no outside investment is noteworthy.
But in other ways, the company plays neatly – and rather delightfully – into stereotypes about the city’s entrepreneur and foodie culture. San Francisco is at once the epicenter of trendy startups and the alleged birthplace of avocado toast (a stand-in for precious food trends everywhere). ReGrained hits both these notes (a four bar sampler costs $10.99), plus a few more, like Silicon Valley founders’ tendency to pair commerce with a Mission. Facebook’s doesn’t just sell ads, it gives “people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Fitbit doesn’t just make activity trackers, it helps “people lead healthier, more active lives.”
As for ReGrained, “me and Dan like to say we are not a granola bar company – our vision is much larger than that,” says Schwartz. “It has to do with creating this ingredient and introducing it into our food system where it hadn’t been previously.”
“Food waste is a super solvable problem,” adds Kurzrock “I think that’s one of the reasons people get really excited about. It feels like something we can actually do something about, and make a real impact. It’s what motivates us with ReGrained, for sure.”
Or, to quote the company’s mantra: “Brew Good. Bake Good. Do Good.”