"What has held the most meaning in my career has been the opportunity to teach and mentor committed entrepreneurs, guiding them through the thrilling maze of obstacles that beset new enterprises."
William B. Rosenzweig has spent more than twenty-five years integrating the practices and perspectives of an entrepreneur, venture investor, and educator. He is regarded internationally as an expert in cultivating and transforming impactful ideas into thriving enterprises.
Will was founding CEO (and Minister of Progress) of The Republic of Tea, an award-winning specialty tea company that is credited with creating the premium tea category in the United States. As an entrepreneur and investor, he has been involved in Odwalla, Trinity Springs, Winetasting.com, Yummly, and Brand New Brands, a functional food incubator he founded in 2004.
In November 2014, Will joined forces with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to launch The Food Business School (FBS), the CIA’s new center for executive and graduate education. As Dean and Executive Director of The Food Business School of The Culinary Institute of America, Will is working with industry experts to create specialized programs that enable and empower entrepreneurs to design, deliver, and lead transformative innovations that address the world’s most pressing food challenges—and its greatest business opportunities.
Will is co-author of The Republic of Tea: How an Idea Becomes a Business, which was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time. His work has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Sound Money, Business Week, USA Today, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Will is also founding managing partner of Physic Ventures, the first venture capital firm dedicated to investing in keeping people healthy, where he has supported innovative early-stage companies including Revolution Foods, Pharmaca, Recyclebank, Novomer, Gazelle, EnergyHub, Watersmart, and Yummly. Based in San Francisco, the firm’s strategy is to capitalize on major economic, social, and political trends that shape health and sustainability.
Since 1999, Will has served on the faculty of the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley, where he initiated and taught the first MBA courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Venture Development. Will continues to serve as Chairman of the advisory board to the Global Social Venture Competition. He has been a Price Kauffman Fellow and a visiting faculty member at London Business School.
From 2000-2004, Will was also a team member for the Rockefeller Foundation’s ProVenEx Fund, the first Foundation sponsored “impact” investment vehicle seeking “double bottom line returns” in for-profit businesses.
In 2010, Will was honored with the Oslo Business for Peace Award, which represents “the highest distinction given to a businessperson for outstanding accomplishments in the area of ethical business.” He was the only American selected among seven global honorees by a committee of Nobel Laureates.
In 2013, Will was named chairman of the Vitality Institute Commission, a national effort focused on promoting health and well-being and preventing chronic disease.
In 2014, Will was named on the Purpose Economy 100 list of leaders who are “the first to research, develop, and shape markets that foster community, expression, and impact.” In 2016, Will was recognized as one of the 7 shapers of the future of food by Bon Appetit magazine.
He serves on advisory boards for The Culinary Institute of America, a Gates Foundation funded project on Sanitation, and SustainAbility, a London-based think tank. Will is a sought after speaker and also an avid gardener, and blogs at www.ideagarden.com.
Photo credit: Jonathan Cherry
FBS’ Food Venture Lab is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and future food economy professionals ready to take their ideas to the food industry market place. In the course of 15 weeks you’ll work in a hands-on “idea lab” with a focus on delivering real-world results. You’ll combine business theory with an emphasis on practical applications of how to bring a new food idea to the market. Using your own interests, expertise, and ideas for a food business, you will identify and define pressing challenges and unmet needs in the broader food-system then develop market-based, entrepreneurial ventures to solve them.
The Scale Up Your (Authentic) Business intensive gives you the know-how and tools to make the leap into mainstream, sustainable scale, in a capital efficient manner, while staying true to who you are.
Will Rosenzweig heads Physic Ventures and is an avid gardener, believing that businesses - much like plants and flowers - don't grow in a linear fashion. He is in his office where the Oslo Business for Peace award is on his left and his garden on his computer is on his right.
Chances are, if you work, you eat food at work. If you work full time, at least one in four meals is likely consumed at the office or during work hours. If you're a young engineer in Silicon Valley, you might even eat all your meals at work.
As concerns grow globally over the health, social and environmental impacts of food, the moment is ripe to turn these challenges into business opportunities.