2018 Speakers

Chris Hunter, Co-Founder & CEO

Chris Hunter

Co-Founder & CEO, Koia

Chris Hunter is the Co-Founder and CEO of Koia, the 100 percent plant protein drink that is naturally craveable and uses simple ingredients to deliver unparalleled nutrition. In 2016 Hunter joined the Koia team, quickly scaling the brand by launching it nationally at Whole Foods Market in September 2016 and driving it to become the most productive protein brand in the natural channel in less than 18 months. 

Hunter fell in love with the beverage space early on and began developing products with simple buzz factors that resonate with consumers. His stamp on the beverage industry first began in 2005 with Phusion Projects. 

After seeing the huge popularity in combining caffeine and alcohol, Hunter and his partners created Four Loko, a high-profile flavored malt beverage, that they grew to be the 8th largest brewer in the country at its peak. In 2013, Hunter’s lifestyle and tastes evolved as he took a greater interest in artisanal products. Under the Innovative Brewery subsidiary, Hunter created a strategic partnership with Small Town Brewery to nationally brand, market and scale the craft beer, Not Your Father’s Root Beer. After becoming a father, his attention shifted to the natural food and beverage space, which ultimately led him to Koia

After his second son was born with a dairy and gluten sensitivity, his family immediately became a dairy-free and gluten-free household. Hunter and his wife, who recently became a nutritionist, began paying attention to labels, ingredients and making more conscious food choices. Both Hunter’s family and the company relocated to Southern California as it’s the ideal market for Koia to succeed. 

Hunter believes plant protein is the future, but that it will only work if people love how it tastes. Koia achieves this as it’s low sugar and high protein but doesn’t compromise on flavor. Koia is now sold in more than 1,800 stores across the country and has plans to significantly expand its current portfolio in the coming months. 

Hunter grew up in Northeast Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Marketing. Hunter currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three young sons, where he maintains an active lifestyle by practicing yoga, cycling, running and surfing.