It all started when Sean Kelly watched a woman at the gym grab a Coca-Cola from a vending machine, then hop on an elliptical. Her only beverage option was soda.
That didn't make sense to the Columbia Biomedical Engineering/Pre-med student. Kelly believes that rather than treat disease, it is better to prevent it through good nutrition.
Four years ago, he launched H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending, a company that sells vending machines filled with healthy foods.
That wasn't his first venture. While still in college, Kelly founded Fit Fuel, a distribution company providing healthy food to vending machine companies.
By 2007, he was ready to go from supplying vending machines to selling them. Kelly drew on savings and capital from Fit Fuel and partnered with Stanford University MBA, Andy Mackensen to found H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending in Santa Monica, Calif. The two invested $300,000 and got former Fit Fuel partners to put in approximately $500,000.
''We want to be the leading anti-obesity company in the country,'' said Kelly.
H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending offers a line of machines stocked with protein bars, yogurt, gluten-free products and other healthy options. The machines are also topped with digital LCD advertising space. Revenue last year was $3 million. Kelly said the company could make $7 million to $10 million this year. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to obesity-fighting and malnutrition charities.
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