Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman is trading beverages for food.
The 50-year-old "TeaEO" is cutting back on his day-to-day involvement with the company to become executive chairman at Beyond Meat, a plant protein startup. Goldman will split his time between Maryland-based Honest Tea and Southern California's Beyond Meat, and the move won't change his current salary, he told the Washington Post.
Goldman is set to speak about his entrepreneurial disruption story at Wednesday's iCONIC:DC event, presented by Inc. and CNBC.
Why is Goldman stepping back from Honest Tea, the seven-time Inc. 5000 honoree he co-founded in 1998? After selling a majority stake in the company to Coca-Cola in 2011, a deal that turned him into a multimillionaire and left him with less than a 10 percent stake, Goldman is hungry for a new challenge.
He's also accomplished more with his company than many founders do in a lifetime. Honest Tea is projected to sell 300 million bottles in 2015, the Post reports. The number of U.S. stores selling Honest Tea has grown from 15,000 at the time of Coke's initial investment in 2008 to more than 100,000 today.
Backed by Bill Gates and venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Beyond Meat is the brainchild of Ethan Brown, an energy industry veteran who worked at fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems for nearly a decade. Founded in 2010, the company aims to come up with a plant-based protein that is indistinguishable in taste from animal protein.
Like Honest Tea, which sells only certified organic and fair-trade certified tea, Beyond Meat is a mission-driven company and is tackling an environmental problem. Goldman thinks the company has the potential to make a significant impact on consumer diets in a relatively short period of time.
"We are at an unprecedented moment in the food-and-beverage industry where new concepts emerge quickly and powerfully," Goldman told Jay Moye, editor of Coke's blog Coca-Cola Journey. "Look at coconut water and fresh-pressed juice, two categories that were barely around ten years ago."
Though Goldman has nearly two decades of experience as an entrepreneur, is working for two companies at once really feasible?
"I've never done it before, so we'll see," he said.
To hear some of Goldman's tips for entrepreneurs in any industry, check out the video below.