BROOKLYN, N.Y., May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- RUNA, one of the fastest-growing beverage brands in the United States, announced today a new round of investors and the addition of an advisory board member.
Academy-Award® winner and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who will also join RUNA's advisory board, participated in the investment round which includes actor and comedian Marlon Wayans, actor Adam Rodriguez (CSI Miami, Magic Mike), and professional tennis players John Isner and Steve Johnson. This group joins existing RUNA supporters which includes actor Channing Tatum, an early investor.
RUNA's products are made from an energizing tea leaf from the Ecuadorian Amazon called guayusa, which is sustainably produced in the rainforest by 3,000 indigenous farming families.
"I am so proud to join with RUNA in supporting the indigenous people of the Amazon," said Mr. DiCaprio. "The future of these communities, and many like them across the world, are at risk as their native lands are exploited for natural resource and agricultural development. Sustainable farming practices are key to helping ensure a brighter future for so many local people."
Mr. DiCaprio's investment in the brand is an innovative model for environmental philanthropy. He has committed to donating his shares to indigenous community groups in the Amazon, making them direct shareholders in RUNA's future.
"We must all do everything we can to help indigenous and local people who too often suffer the worst environmental degradation, and are most at risk from climate change," added Mr. DiCaprio. "Empowering them to stand up and fight back against the outside interests that threaten their survival is a cause that must be championed."
"Our vision for RUNA was inspired by the rich spirit of family and collaboration in the Amazonian communities that revere guayusa tea, and we're very grateful that the quality of our products and integrity of our vision has attracted such a great group of supporters," said RUNA co-founder Tyler Gage.
Mr. DiCaprio joins World Wildlife Fund President Yolanda Kakabadse, and Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Executive Director of UNICEF Ann Veneman as a member of the company's Advisory Board.
The native Kichwa communities drink guayusa tea before sunrise as their fuel for the day. With as much caffeine as coffee and a rich profile of polyphenols, flavonoids, and l-theanine, guayusa tea offers energy "from a leaf, not a lab."
RUNA's versatile line-up of 100% Organic and Fair Trade products includes bottled iced teas and carbonated "clean energy drinks," available at retailers across the country including in Whole Foods Market, Safeway and on Amazon.com.
RUNA is line of organic teas and natural energy drinks made from the guayusa (gwhy-yu-sa) leaf. RUNA's products are certified non-GMO and Fair Trade, and the brand is committed to sustainability and social responsibility in all facets of its business. As a "trade up" from traditional coffee, teas and energy drinks, guayusa tea offers as much caffeine as coffee and boasts a rich profile of polyphenols, flavonoids, and l-theanine.
The RUNA name translates to "fully alive" in the language of the Ecuadorian Amazon, whose indigenous peoples have consumed guayusa for thousands of years. Today RUNA, as part of the brand's social responsibility commitment, supports over 3,000 of the indigenous farming families that grow guayusa through direct employment and other programs. RUNA is recognized as one of Inc. Magazine's 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the country. The company is based in Brooklyn, NY and is privately held.