Banza Pasta Hits 1700 Stores, Focuses on Expansion

By Amanda Lewan on November 18th, 2015 / Comments

Banza Pasta took home the big $500,000 prize at Accelerate Michigan earlier this month. The gluten free pasta made from chickpeas is a unique and tasty product that’s now available in 1,700 stores across the country. We caught up with Co-founders Brian Rudolph and Scott Rudolph to find out more on their expansion plans.

Now with a team of nine working on the company, the co-founders said it’s been a great past year. They still have the same mission: to reinvent products with healither ingredients. Pasta is just the first product.

“We’re trying to prove out our thesis, that we can change the pasta category the way that Chobani changed the yogurt category,” said Brian. “We are grateful to Accelerate Michigan and we plan to use the money to increase our capacity in order to reach more people.”

Banza is based in Detroit, in New Center area, while their product is currently manufactured in Michigan. They’ve grown to a team of nine but hope to grow faster over the next couple years. How do they see themselves growing? Their larger vision is to reinvent food with better ingredients over several different categories. Right now, they see the best growth for the Banza pasta product by connecting on an individual store level.

“We spend a lot of time at the individual stores or at Eastern Market trying to get people to try Banza with hopes that they will fall in love with it,” Scott said. “We’ve found it has been a successful way to support our retail partners.”

Along the way they’ve received a lot of support and have built a strong board to help guide them. On the Banza board is Garden Fresh partner Dave Zilko and folks from Chobani. Having an incredible set of mentors has proven invaluable to this food startup.

“Being able to hear from people who have done it before has been most helpful,” said Brian. “As we run into problems, as we look at opportunities, we have lots of people with experience to help us grow smart.”

The startup pitched earlier this year at Accelerate Michigan, taking home one of the biggest cash prizes in the state.  They’re excited to use the money to continue to grow in Michigan, and expressed gratitude for the support.

“We’d really like to thank Accelerate Michigan and Lauren Bigelow.  It’s obviously an incredible award and we are extremely grateful for it,” said Scott.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.