Erica Liu Williams, born and raised in the Bay Area, was an Olympic Trials Swimmer who also competed on the Stanford Women’s Swim Team. After graduating Stanford in 2008 with a BA and MA in Communications, she began a tech career in Silicon Valley, working for companies as large as Yahoo to four-person startups.
Erica came up with the idea for gr8nola by “accident”. She was searching for a delicious yet healthy snack (other than fruit) during a clean eating program she and her NFL pro husband, Tank Williams, do every year post-Super Bowl. Unable to find a great-tasting, cleanse-friendly option on the market, she decided to create her own granola recipe. Her product was so delicious that Tank would beg her to make it year-round. In 2013, she created a side business out of it by launching at her local farmer’s market.
While balancing a full-time tech career, she’d bake every night after work to ensure ample supply for the weekend market—and no interference with her “day job”. And though she lacked food industry experience or a culinary background, the high demand and repeat customers was proof she had something special.
Within a couple months, Erica landed her first big business opportunity: “winning” the granola category at Google’s annual snack fair and becoming an official Google supplier in 2014. Google’s Supplier Diversity Program has highlighted Erica—who has become a face of the program—as a minority, female-owned business multiple times. To date, she has supplied nearly 150,000 lbs of gr8nola to some of the biggest tech companies, including Twitter, Uber, Dropbox, Square, Netflix, Microsoft and Slack.
As of Oct 2017, Erica officially leaped into her granola business full-time, with the vision of creating a clean-ingredient snack brand for the modern, health-conscious consumer and to make “clean snacking” both delicious and easy for busy and active people.
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