How this producer of health drinks has gotten the attention of celebs like Rachael Ray, and is saving the rainforest one acai berry at a time.
As applications for the 2009 Inc. 500 | 5000 arrive, we thought it would be worthwhile to shine a spotlight on some of the companies that are vying to appear on our ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. (For more information and to apply, go to http://www.inc5000apply.com.) One that caught our eye was South Jordan, Utah-based MonaVie.
If you've been on the internet at all, then you've probably seen countless acai berry ads. The supplement, said to help joint pain, high cholesterol, and weight loss, has been riding a wave of popularity. MonaVie's line acai berry-based juices are coming along for the ride.
"The acai berry is very high in antioxidants, and has observable health benefits," says MonaVie CFO Devin Thorpe. "Most people who drink the juice love how it makes them feel. In today's society where proper nutrition has taken a backseat to fast food and convenience, our bodies really thank us when we give it something healthful and nutritious."
The company, which was founded in 2005, sells the juices in eight countries and the United States through direct selling, much like Avon or Mary Kay. They're also launching a new energy drink, Emv, this month.
"It also includes the acai berry and 80 percent real fruit juice, so instead of being sugar water, it's real, carbonated fruit juice with a blend of energizing herbs and natural sources of caffeine, so it gives people the boost of energy they're looking for from healthy calories and a healthy source of caffeine," explains Thorpe.
But what Thorpe is most proud of is the company's commitment to the communities they harvest from in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By giving the acai berry economic value, he explains, they've helped to create economic incentive to preserve the rainforest rather than burn it for grazing land. The company also runs after-school programs for local kids and provides housing to some of their families.
"It started as a grassroots effort years ago, and we now have a multi-million dollar program that is changing lives down there," says Thorpe. "We're excited that we can really make a difference in the communities we're involved in."