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Ryan Black

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Ryan Black is an American entrepreneur, environmental activist, and co-founder of Sambazon, a manufacturer of organic acai berry and Amazon superfood smoothies and products. Born in Newport Beach, Black attended the University of Colorado where he would join the football team in 1993. He received an undergraduate degree from the university’s Sloan Business School with an emphasis in finance. Upon graduating, Black signed with the Minnesota Vikings but was released in pre-season. He played football in Europe for two years before co-founding Sambazon.

Together with his brother, Jeremy, and childhood friend, Ed “Skanda” Nichols, Black established Sambazon in 2000 after discovering the amazing fruit during a surfing trip to Brazil. Sambazon, which stands for “Sustainable Management of the Brazilian Amazon”, is credited with introducing the Amazon superfood, acai, to both North America and Europe. In addition to its United States operations, Sambazon has relationships in Brazil, Japan, and Korea. Black has built Sambazon off of the “triple bottom line” business model, which focuses on finding social, environmental, and economic success.

First introduced as a frozen fruit pulp, the company has rapidly expanded and today offers acai and Amazon superfood-based fresh juices, smoothies, energy drinks, sorbet, and frozen superfruit packs. Sambazon is also considered the leading industrial supplier of acai based ingredients to manufacturers throughout the world. All Sambazon products are certified Ecocert Fair Trade and today sells products in all 50 states in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Brazil.

Black is known for his commitment to social justice, environmental protection, eco-conscious business practices, and his personal integrity. He has been involved with numerous Brazilian and U.S.-based nonprofits, including the World Wildlife Fund Brazil and the Foundation for Advancement of Science and Education (FASE). He was awarded the 2006 Socially Responsible Business Award the Changemaker Innovation Award for sustainable agro-forestry, and was also named a winner of the prestigious Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence by the U.S. Department of State.

Companies and Investments

Sambazon (CEO and Co-Founder)

Lessons Learned

I believe anyone can find success on an economic, social, and environmental level is they have the right knowledge and resources.

I am inspired by any person who commits themselves to fighting for truth and justice.

If possible, do your best to embrace any opportunity that comes your way while influencing the way people view and live in the world.

It only takes one innovative idea to break the norms. If presented to you, don’t miss any opportunity to lead the back and influence others to put their best foot forward.

Use whatever product or idea you have as a vehicle for positive change.

Follow your passions and do something that will not only bring change and positivity to others, but to your own life as well.

Learn from your mistakes and do your best not to let them defeat or discourage you.

Awareness is everything. In life, and in business.

Never stop learning, on a daily basis and throughout your entire life.

Inspiring Quotes

When companies act a little more like people, they can connect with more customers

Gary Hirshberg

Quality, quality, quality: Never waver from it, even when you don’t see how you can afford to keep it up. When you compromise, you become a commodity and then you die

Gary Hirshberg

Ryan Black 's Quotes

I want to keep learning on a daily basis, having fun, and successfully doing the things that everybody says can’t be accomplished. That’s what changing the world is all about

Ryan Black

Lack of experience will kill you if you are not extremely tough as well as careful but we have zero regrets. You learn through your mistakes and keep on truckin’

Ryan Black

Growing a company from scratch and focusing on a tangible mission has provided me an outlet to throw all of my heart and energy into, which is a fantastic thing

Ryan Black

Influential Books

Gary Hirshberg - Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World


Riva Gusmao, Steve Demos, John Elstrott, Gary Hirshberg