From a childhood on food stamps to an adulthood in food tech, Riana Lynn is changing the cost of, content in and access to healthy snacks.
Technology companies and venture capital offices are typically filled with white men, making the likelihood of a young, African-American girl founding, funding, and sustaining a food technology startup slim at best. But while her biology degree and entrepreneurial spirit ultimately paved the way for success, Riana found more than a little inspiration working as a black woman inside the White House…alongside a First Lady who made food and fitness her top priorities.
“I grew up in Evanston, Illinois. My best friends, their parents went to Harvard and my mom did not graduate college. I did at times grow up on food stamps. (In the Midwest) you’re not going to see the juice bars and the food carts and produce carts that you’re going to see in New York or Florida or California. And so all of that has really shaped the way I view food and food accessibility.
My mom, although she got pregnant with me early in college and dropped out, she made a lot of sacrifices. She struggled to put me through private school and after school programs. And so, while I was set up for some form of success, the likelihood for me to be doing what I’m doing—especially with having very little role models in the same field—is somewhat rare.”
Riana Lynn is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for technology and food, named by Crain’s as one of its 20 in their 20s and Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30. Her food and technology firm, Revive, was acquired by A Better Life Holdings, LLC run by CNBC’s Marcus Lemonis of “The Profit.” Currently, she is founder and CEO of FoodTrace, a supply chain software company, the founder of food company Journey Foods, a venture capitalist with investment firm Cleveland Avenue and has served as a Google Entrepreneur-in-Residence.