While many University business students have come to rely heavily upon the schools Starbucks for their caffeine needs, an institute at the Ross School of Business has invested in a healthy, energy-boosting alternative.

On Tuesday, the Zell Lurie Institute at the Business School announced a $100,000 investment from its Founders Fund into organic snack company SMPL.

The funds will used for expanded distribution and marketing efforts.

SMPL sells bite-sized organic protein bars in three flavors. The snacks incorporate organic fruits, nuts and superfoods in resealable bags tailored to on-the-go consumption. SMPL’s target market is busy, modern wellness consumers.

According to a press release, University alum Ellis Fried founded the company to replace the existing unhealthy or inconvenient energy bars.

“I founded SMPL out of my personal dissatisfaction with the energy bars on the market — they were either filled with sugar, didn’t deliver on taste, or I never wanted to finish the entire bar at once,” Fried said.

During his time at the University, Fried earned more than $17,000 in the 2017 Michigan Business Challenge and won the Ross School of Business BBA Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

Stewart Thornhill, executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute, said in the press release Fried has shown strong potential as an entrepreneur since his undergraduate years.

“Ellis has shown great initiative and promise as an entrepreneur, and we’re proud to have supported him at every step of the journey. We’re committed to helping him on his mission to make healthy eating convenient, and we look forward to his future successes,” Thornhill said.

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