When he moved to Detroit as part of Venture for America, a program that sends new grads to startups in struggling cities to train as entrepreneurs, Brian Rudolph thought he would eventually start a tech company. Three years later, he's making pasta instead.
Rudolph just raised $1.3 million in a round of funding for Banza, a pasta made from chickpeas instead of wheat. It has twice the protein, four times the fiber, and half the net carbs as your average rigatoni. A serving has 25 grams of protein, as much as a three-ounce steak.
"I had this hobby of making really nutritious foods just for myself," he says. "I was making high-protein breads, high-protein ice creams. Most of them were not really very tasty, but this actually was. I was able to trick my roommate into thinking it was regular pasta, which I knew was a good step."
Last year, after a successful stint on Restaurant Startup, a foodie version of Shark Tank, Rudolph officially launched the product, which is now in 1,700 stores. He's hoping it will transform the pasta aisle.
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