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“Ryan and I have eaten acai made by hand home-style in a shack on the Amazon. We’ve had experiences. Did you know he played on the Minnesota Vikings, plays classical guitar, and surfs in exotic places? The guy is complex. I admire Ryan’s success with Sambazon Acai. He definitely walks his sustainable talk. He’s core tribe.” – Chris Kilham

Ryan Black
Ecopreneur, Musician, Surfer, Athlete


Ryan Black, along with his brother Jeremy, are the guys who founded Sambazon in 2000. Southern California local surfers, they were introduced to a bowl of açaí during a vacation to Brazil. They were immediately hooked, and on their last night in Brazil they started working on a plan to share açaí with the world — that's when and where Sambazon was born.

Through extensive research, they learned about the berry's health benefits, and because the native people make more money selling açaí than they do selling non-renewable resources, Ryan and Jeremy also realized they could drive preservation by employing the people to harvest the organic fruit instead of wood. Getting people to try the exotic berry was a challenge, but once they did, customers loved it. Business really picked up after Dr. Nicholas Perricone named açaí the No. 1 superfood in his 2004 book, The Perricone Promise. Today, everyone knows about açaí, a berry popular for its unique flavor and nutritional properties.

Sambazon expanded its products and distribution and opened the first açaí processing facility in the Amazon. Sambazon went on to win the U.S. Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence. "We were recognized not so much for our profits, but for the intangible things we're doing," says Ryan. "It was really cool for the State Department to recognize something that's not just on our balance sheet." Adds Jeremy, "We've been given this incredible opportunity to make a lot of positive change with this berry."