Archive for July, 2013

The Chobani Story

Hamdi Ulukaya is the CEO of Chobani Inc and one of the best entrepreneurial stories of the decade. He started Chobani in 2005 and Chobani Greek Yogurt two years later. He’s a World Entrepreneur of the year winner (2012) and when you meet him literally oozes entrepreneurial spirit. Sales this year in Chobani are expected to exceed the $1bn mark (yes 1 billion dollars in Yogurt!) and on an accelerated growth path in that doesnt seem to be slowing down as the company becomes a gigantic institution. Yet when I had the privilege of meeting Hamdi he had his feet squarely on the ground and unquestionably the one person I’ve met that afterwards I could help but wanting to emulate. Hamdi Ulukaya owns 100% of the company, which is unheard of for a company so successful. Convincing banks to finance such a aspirational business goal must have been a constant challenge.

Hamdi Ulukaya and Ronan O'Brien
Billionaire Hamdi Ulukaya and I

10% of Chobani’s profits are donated to the company’s charitable foundation, Shepherd’s Gift Foundation. Hamdi Joked that it’s a great idea when your starting but when the figures get to the hundred of millions and advisers suggest giving away hundreds of millions – well your commitment can be tested. Fortunately Hamdi is committed to being remarkable and making a difference, so his tithing is set to continue.