About Tyler

“Rich with tools and guidance for how

entrepreneurs can accomplish ambitious social missions by building thriving businesses.”


—JOHN MACKEY, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market



“We need new thinking to tackle the massive environmental and structural problems the world faces today. Tyler points a way forward, using ancient knowledge and practices, and lays a foundation for its application in modern business.”


—ROSE MARCARIO, CEO and president of Patagonia, Inc.



“A refreshingly honest, often brutally frank blend of big picture inspiration and pragmatic learnings that will help inform any entrepreneur about facing and overcoming challenges, especially

with mission-driven businesses.”


—GARY HIRSHBERG, cofounder, chairman, and former CEO of Stonyfield Farm



“Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business person, seeker, or lover of adventure stories: Read this book.”


—MARK RAMPOLLA, founder of ZICO Coconut Water

and author of High-Hanging Fruit


Tyler is an entrepreneur, author and speaker who uses wisdom from the Amazon and start-up success to bring innovation and inspiration to growing organizations.


Since the age of 19, Tyler has been studying native plants and languages with indigenous elders in the Amazon rainforest. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant to start RUNA, a social enterprise that makes clean energy drinks with guayusa, a rare Amazonian leaf, and improves livelihoods for thousands of indigenous farming families in Ecuador.  With the help of investors like Channing Tatum and Leonardo DiCaprio, Runa has become a thriving, multimillion-dollar company and was acquired by VitaCoco in June of 2018.


Tyler was named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” and winner of both the Big Apple Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Specialty Food Association's Citizen Leader of the Year Award.  CBS This Morning, ABC Nightline, National Geographic and Richard Branson's book Screw Business As Usual have all featured Tyler for his unique and powerful approach to building businesses and creating social good.


In his book “Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business & Life”, Tyler shares his spiritual adventures and the business savvy that helped him create RUNA, demonstrating how we can dig deeper to bring greater meaning and purpose to our personal and professional pursuits.


Tyler currently serves as a Managing Director for Terrafertil, the largest natural foods company in Latin America, and has worked as the Chief Development Officer for the company. Terrafertil acquired Essential Living Foods in the US in 2017 and then Nestlé acquired all of Terrafertil in 2018.


Tyler also serves on the Advisory Council for Entrepreneurship at Brown University and advises, invests in and supports other start-ups. He lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife Michelle and enjoys playing soccer, riding his unicycle and practicing yoga.


amazon NOW

Building a startup is like being thrust into the middle of the Amazonian rainforest. Living every day on the edge of your comfort zone, vulnerable to the unexpected challenges constantly being thrown your way, and constantly shifting to meet daily demands and do everything and anything you can to survive, let alone to thrive.


In FULLY ALIVE, I share my spiritual adventures and the business savvy that helped me create RUNA, a pioneering organization that weaves together the seemingly divergent worlds of Amazonian traditions and modern business, demonstrating how we can dig deeper to bring greater meaning and purpose to our personal and professional pursuits.


From suburban youth to immersion in the Amazon to entrepreneurial success, my journey clearly shows that passion and opportunity can be found in the most unexpected places. Captivated by a rare Amazonian tea leaf called guayusa that had never been commercially produced, I started RUNA to partner with the indigenous people of Ecuador to share its energy and its message with the world.


Using the spiritual teachings, lessons and healing traditions of the Amazon as my guide and "playbook", I built RUNA from a scrappy start-up into a thriving, multi-million dollar company that has become one of the fastest growing beverage companies in the United States.  With the help of investors like Channing Tatum, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Olivia Wilde, RUNA has created a sustainable source of income for more than 3,000 farming families in Ecuador who sustainably grow guayusa in the rainforest. Simultaneously, RUNA has built a rapidly scaling nonprofit organization that is working to create a new future for trade in the Amazon based on respectful exchange and healing, not exploitation and greed.


Vulnerable, raw and deeply transparent, Fully Alive reveals powerful tools and lessons that can teach all of us how to grow toward and beyond our personal edges, no matter our circumstances.


“A must-read story fueled by adventure, passion and purpose.”


—Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes



“Adventure story, a spiritual quest, and a business manual, Fully Alive teaches how

passion can be harnessed to improve lives and make an impact that matters.”


—Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of the World Wildlife Fund; former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment



“Engaging, fun, and insightful, Fully Alive vividly illustrates the exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, and rewarding process that is starting a social venture. Tyler Gage’s private journey offers a crash course and useful lessons for all entrepreneurs.”


—Russ Siegelman, Lecturer at Stanford University,; Former Partner and Managing

Director, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Chairman of the Global Innovation Fund


“Tyler Gage represents a hope-inspiring new generation of social entrepreneurs who are proving that conscious business can be a powerful force for good. In Fully Alive, Tyler shows us how he combined ancient Amazonian wisdom with millennial market savvy to build a business that is changing the world, one delicious bottle of tea at a time.”


—Paul D. Rice, Founder & CEO, Fair Trade USA



"Tyler Gage writes a wonderful, honest, human account of what it takes to build a socially-driven business that is pushing the envelope of what a more inclusive capitalism can be.  His journey is part business how-to, part adventure, part insight into working across culture and integrating different philosophies of life into how we approach business. A great read for individuals aspiring to change the world in sustainable, impactful ways."


—Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder & CEO, Acumen Fund and Author of The Blue Sweater



“A useful, thoughtful and well-written book about how making your way through life, business and the rainforest can all be a very similar enterprise. Gage writes passionately and evocatively about doing all three, paths that he has taken, and paths that he has learned…highly recommended!”


—Mark Plotkin, PhD, cofounder and President of the Amazon Conservation Team

“In Fully Alive, Tyler Gage tells a compelling story of purpose, perseverance, patience, and partnership. Runa is an innovative and sustainable social business that is positively impacting the lives of countless indigenous people in the Amazon by pioneering a new system of regenerative agriculture and ethical commerce. It is a worthwhile and captivating read.”


—Ann Veneman, former Executive Director, UNICEF; former US Secretary of Agriculture



““In his powerful and riveting new book, Fully Alive, Tyler Gage manages to achieve a rare combination of three distinct things: Vividly conveying an extraordinary hero’s journey, while narrating a highly educational text book about business and startups, and expressing a heartfelt, inspiring, no-holds-barred treatise on shamanic practices applied to a modern business. He is at once erudite and extraordinarily transparent in revealing the wisdom gained from the naïve mistakes of inexperience and immaturity. In his own words Tyler tells us, ‘Especially in the world of business, vulnerability is usually considered a curse, but this misperception can be quite disempowering. Vulnerability is not about being weak; It’s about having courage to be honest with yourself.’ This is a book well worth reading. I could not put it down.””


—José Luis Stevens, PhD, "Author of "The Power Path", "Awaken The Inner Shaman", and "Encounters With Power”



"Tyler Gage knows how to tell a story, and he has amazing stories to tell: Adventures in the Amazon. Out-of-this world experiences with Amazonian healers. Real-world success building one of the country’s fastest-growing beverage companies. Readers of Fully Alive will enjoy the journey. You’ll discover that powerful answers to profound questions can be found in the most unexpected places."

—Doug Hattaway, founder and CEO of Hattaway Communications;

former advisor to Hillary Clinton and Al Gore



“The Runa story is an exemplary, innovative approach to social enterprise creation and I cite it throughout my classes at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School. Fully Alive provides a comprehensive understanding for how to optimize social enterprise creation, particularly around developing global supply chains, where the dynamics are complex, but if approached properly, can generate business success while changing lives and sustaining incomes of vulnerable populations.”


—Scott B. Taitel, Clinical Professor of Public Service and Director of Social Impact, Innovation and Investment, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University


"It doesn't
have to be
the Amazon, but we all live
in jungles of
one form or another, where we can unlock secrets that have been tucked away from common sight."

This award-winning entrepreneur speaks with heart, cutting insight and unflinching determination about how to achieve and innovate when you're out of your comfort zone.  From living in the Amazonian jungle to building a successful start-up in the urban jungle of New York city, Tyler shares potent insights about how to thrive at the edge and get results in unexpected, challenging environments.


In his speeches, Tyler combines humorous and touching stories of failure, ethnobotanical insights about what plants can teach us about business and life, and captivating personal stories from living in the jungle and adventures with celebrity investors. His message focuses on how to dig deeper and use business as a tool for self discovery and personal growth.



Popular Speech Topics Include:

   • Laying Down a Path in Walking

   • Fierce Collaboration

   • A Liberal Arts Approach to Business

   • Leadership Lessons from the Amazon



Past clients include


Tyler Gage was awesome! He kept our audience engaged the entire hour. So many times you want to nap in the middle of a speech - but not this one. After his speech, there were many great questions from the audience. I heard again and again the question - "Who found this speaker? He was awesome!"



Tyler's presentation at Harvard was captivating and educational for the diverse audience in our speaker's series, providing practical entrepreneurial acumen for the MBA students, rich cultural history for the anthropology students, and an array of insights in between. Passionate, humorous, and sophisticated, Tyler was a perfect speaker to show that business can succeed in many ways, and doing well while doing good is fully possible.



Tyler led a great interactive session and held the audience engaged with his fresh perspective on growing a new category in one of the most competitive industries in the world.



Tyler is one of the highest rated guest speakers in my class and lecture series. He brings the Runa story to life and helps our students understand the strategic challenges they have faced balancing community & environmental sustainability in Ecuador with building their brand and profitability in the US.



"Tyler was a featured speaker at our Partners Group Annual General Meetings in Berlin, Germany to showcase the potential of social responsible business to do good and do well. Our audience from across the world gave Tyler stellar feedback, saying that he was not only inspiring and truly authentic, but that his presentation of Runa gave a clear illustration of what impact investing and social enterprises are all about."



I heard again and again the question -"Who found this speaker? He was awesome!" Tyler Gage was awesome! He kept our audience engaged the entire hour. Tyler was very gracious and it was a great exchange of ideas and information. We had a great event!



"Through both his actions and his words, Tyler is an ongoing inspiration to my entrepreneurship students at Brown, Yale and Tel Aviv University. He has a rare talent for communicating and motivating authentically - simply by telling his story in ways that my students always find captivating. Tyler is a model that I hope my students emulate for Runa's double bottom line approach to entrepreneurial success. I am proud of him for walking his talk with such high integrity and for sharing his approach with the next generations of entrepreneurship students eager to follow in his path."



Tyler’s presentation to Stanford’s GSB students is always a highlight of the year. Students love Tyler’s infectious enthusiasm for his product and his commitment to its social mission. Weeks later I still hear passionate conversations about "doing good while doing well" as Tyler says.



We are thrilled to have Tyler Gage speak frequently at Unite For Sight’s Global Health & Innovation Conference, which is the world’s largest global health and social entrepreneurship conference. He is a compelling speaker who captivates the audience with essential insight and expertise.



Tyler's presentation at Wharton was a great success. He delivered Runa's story with enthusiasm and insight, and presented a truly unique perspective on social enterprise in emerging markets. Tyler kept students engaged throughout his talk . . .



"The dynamism that comes through Tyler as a speaker is in it's own category, and I heard conversations about Tyler and Runa on campus for weeks after his speech. We invited him to key note our Multicultural Affairs conference, and his openness, sincerity, rigor, and business acumen impressed everyone. I'd highly recommend Tyler as a speaker to both college and professional groups"



"Tyler is a changemaker, his background and mission with Runa was utterly inspiring to FounderMade’s community of investors and entrepreneurs. Brilliant leader on so many levels!"



I have had the great pleasure of closely tracking Tyler's work here in Ecuador, and learned from him as a guest speaker on several occasions at the Conference Series I organize at the Universidad San Francisco in Quito, where he has presented the innovative, socially responsible model that has become emblematic both locally and internationally. Tyler´s presentations have consistently challenged our students to reconsider traditional paradigms of doing business, and find ways to think more critically about how to create positive impact in the world across traditional boundaries. Runa is a refreshing, ground breaking alternative for this country to consider, adapt, and apply in other value chains as well.



Tyler Gage was an incredibly engaging and dynamic speaker. He held the attention of 450 students by sharing his experience from student travel to entrepreneurship. He took us on his journey and included informative and humorous aspects of his discoveries.



We had Tyler speak at our Clinton Global University event and he was incredible! Tyler's passion for creating social good business was felt by everyone and great inspiration. He's both academically rigorous and enjoyable relatable, making for a engaging presentation throughout. The degree of innovation in Runa's business is almost unparalleled. We would highly recommend Tyler as a speaker at any event.


"The diversity of Tyler's experience as an entrepreneur and founder is truly impressive. From his stories hustling deep in the Amazon to the rigorous approach he's taken to build a leading natural foods business, Tyler's passion, drive, and brilliant mind comes through. Tyler's speech was both inspirational and practically educational for our group of already accomplished entrepreneurs, and I'd highly recommend him to any organization or group looking to access the true spirit of an entrepreneur"



Tyler was one of our featured speakers at our NYU Social Innovation Symposium this year. He was incredibly engaging and truly spoke to the potential for unique business solutions to drive social change. Our attendees were inspired to see how RUNA could have such a tremendous impact beyond the product itself -- from economic inclusion to reforestation efforts. Further, learning about his background and path in business was truly motivational to the many students seeking careers at the intersection of business and social impact.




I love the full range of madness and excitement that happens over the course of an organization's growth, from start-up hustle to the complexities of running a publicly traded company.


RUNA is an uncommon drink from an unexpected place. With over 50 employees and offices in New York, NY and Quito, Ecuador, Runa is one of the fastest growing beverage companies in the US. Our two core product lines are our bottled iced teas in 6 flavor and our “clean energy drinks” in cans with 3 flavors. Our products are sold in over 10,000 stores nationwide including Whole Foods, Safeway, CostCo, Amazon.com and Stop & Shop.

Runa Foundation's mission is to improve livelihoods by generating value for tropical biodiversity. We work to support sustainable value chains that enhance the value of agroforestry plots as an effective and comprehensive way to support indigenous farming families and endangered habitats.

Angel investments

Clean Choice Energy is a rapidly growing company that allows people to effortlessly switch to clean energy without installing solar panels or switching utility companies.  A B-Corp, Ethical Electric was recognized as "Best for the Environment" and "Best for Workers" by B Labs.

 Osso Good is a rapidly growing
brand of sippable bone broths based
in San Rafael, CA

BRCK's mission is to connect the next billion people in frontier markets to the internet by creating products, services, and models that are designed for the reality of those environments. BRCK does this by building devices that work both online and offline, can work with any type of infrastructure, and keep working through the hardest environments and develops business models that dramatically reduce the costs of the web to the end users.

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