While conducting undergraduate research deep in Amazonian Forest, Tyler Gage first sipped a rich indigenous tea blend called guayusa. The Brown University student was amazed that the naturally sweet brew gave him heaps of energy without any jitteriness. Several countries away, his friend and schoolmate Dan MacCombie was spending a semester in Ecuador studying non-profit management. The two returned to campus, shared their experiences, and drafted a business plan for Runa. The idea was simple: expose tea drinkers to guayusa, while using fair, sustainable trade efforts to support local tea producers. Today, the Brooklyn-based company supports 2,000 farming families and has over 40 employees.