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Babson Business: Kuma Goods, LLC; ChewsBetter

Company Name = Kuma Goods, LLC; Product Name = Chews Better;

To provide the best tasting and healthiest all-natural candy products.
To serve as a catalyst for change in the candy industry by proving there is a greater demand for a healthier candy.
To promote a healthier lifestyle and to always make the better choice.
To be a socially responsible company that helps make its community better.

Began: 2008; product launch April 2009

Revenues: yes

Where: Natick, MA

Founder: Kurt Mangold;, (work)     508-545-0490    ;
Babson MBA 2008, 2-year program.

Founder’s Past Life/Business:
Psych Major, Economics Minor at Hamilton College.
Started house painting company for 3 years during college.
Worked in PR/Marketing/Event Planning for 4 years before Babson.
Always loved food and candy.

How The Idea Began:
As I was growing up, one of my favorite things was candy. I can remember enjoying it at movies, sporting events, on Christmas morning, and sometimes when my mom said I was a good boy. As I grew older (and my metabolism slowed down), I decided to consume healthier foods and to reduce unnecessary calories, fat, processed foods, and artificial ingredients. This meant candy was pretty much eliminated from my diet. Figuring I was not alone, I decided to create a candy that was worth eating – one that is delicious, had natural and more exciting flavors, and that actually delivered essential nutritious elements. Putting it more simply, a candy that healthy people chew!

Initial Preparation to Germinate Idea:Interned with Phd., probiotic health daily (a new probiotic water started by Babson alums) between my 1st and 2nd year in the Babson MBA program. Learned a ton about the industry, probiotics, and developing food products. Took EPS7500 (Entrepreneurship course on recognizing and acting on opportunities) where I formed a team and wrote a business plan for probiotic chewing gum. Just before starting development on the gum, I found a new chew technology that would allow for a functional and healthier candy. I got into Babson’s Entrepreneurship Intensity Program (EIT) program and spent the semester re-writing my business plan and developing the new product.

Favorite Thing about the Business:
I get to eat candy all day!

Worst Thing About the Business:
I keep eating my revenue.

Biggest Challenge:
Launching a higher-priced candy in this recession.

Lesson Learned:
Developing products takes much longer than you think
Never give up
Love what you do