Founders of Back to the Roots to speak!

What do used coffee grounds and gourmet mushrooms have in common? Come hear Berkeley graduates Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora to find out!

While attending a business ethics course at Berkley, Alejandro and Nikhil were inspired by the idea of using wet and acidic coffee grounds to provide an excellent growing environment for mushrooms. Pursing this interest, they both turned down investment banking opportunities and  founded Back to the Roots, which employs a sustainable mushroom-growing model. They now take coffee waste from Peet’s Coffee to grow oyster mushrooms, which are then supplied to all of Northern California’s Whole Foods stores. They use 10,000 pounds of coffee grounds a week alone! Their latest endeavor is mushroom growing kits for children, teaching them about growing, sustainability, and healthy food.

Nikhil Arora

Co-Founder of Back to the Roots

A Phi Beta Kappa scholar, Nikhil is a May 2009 summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, from the Haas School of Business and Department of Political Science. Prior to founding Back to the Roots in 2009, Nikhil spent time in college involved in business development and operations advisory positions. He also spent nearly six months in 2007 studying and working at the University of Ghana, Legon to setup a campus-wide recycling program for the 30,000-person campus.  Since co-founding Back to the Roots, Nikhil has been named one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, one of the Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs in America, and UCLA’s Opportunity Green Top 25 Green Company Leaders and 2010 Social Venture Network Social Innovation winners.  Nikhil also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sage Mentorship Project.

Alejandro Velez

Co-Founder of Back to the Roots

In addition to founding a 1000+ member non-profit & largest student-run organization at CAL, The Sage Mentorship Project, Inc., being awarded the Chancellor’s 2009 Public Service Award and being named the 2009 UC Berkeley Alumni Association Undergraduate of the Year, Alejandro Velez has worked as a summer financial investment banking analyst at various financial services institutions and a telecom company including Citigroup, UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Qualcomm, Inc.  Alex is a May 2009 summa cum laude graduate of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with a degree in business administration and a minor in education. Alex has also been named 2010 PODER Magazine’s 20 Influential Hispanics Under 40, one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs.

Check out an article about Back to the Roots on Planet Green.

Come hear Nikhil and Alejandro speak! Register now.

Can’t make it in person? Watch the livestream.

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One Response to “Founders of Back to the Roots to speak!”

  1. YESS! These guys are awesome…