From Finance To Cookies: This Wharton Grad Turned his Eye Toward the Dough
Freshly launched on January 31, 2022, Zach Ranen and Jeff Yoskowitz’s RAIZE is all about disrupting the healthy cookie market.
The goal, said Ranen, founder and CEO, is to give cookie connoisseurs “a soft, bakery-fresh cookie that [stands] above the store-bought options.” Their big point of difference? All cookies are preservative-free, have no added sugar or artificial ingredients and are only one carb per cookie. They’re also gluten-free.
Headquartered in NYC and produced out of a kitchen in Paterson, NJ with a ghost kitchen in Long Island City, RAIZE draws inspiration from the words ‘raze’ and ‘raise’. As their website explains: “The company is ‘razing’ the idea of traditional desserts while ‘raising’ the bar for what dessert can be.”
The cookies, which come in Two Chip (milk and white chocolate chips), Chocolate Chip Pecan and Maple Walnut – as well as three cookie sandwiches – were inspired by Ranen’s own eating journey. As someone who led a healthy lifestyle but always found himself cheating on unhealthy desserts, he started looking into how his eating habits were affecting both his ability to lose fat and his chances of maximizing his overall health. Though he knew he had to eat less sugar and fewer refined, high-glycemic carbs, he didn’t want to give up dessert.
Wanting a readily available cookie, he felt limited. He also felt he could do better.
The only issue? The avid Keto Diet fan is not a baker (he studied economics at the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania and most recently was working in finance for Warburg Pincus, a global growth investor). Though he formulated his plan in 2021, he knew he needed a chef.
He found a partner in Yoskowitz, the former program director of the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and now RAIZE’s chief product officer. Ranen liked that Yoskowitz also had prior experience as the owner of his own wholesale bakery and was a founding partner at a consulting business called Food Startup Help.
Just a few months into their business, RAIZE is currently prioritizing being a direct-to-consumer company, meaning they ship to all US territories and Canada. Future plans call for more flavors and perhaps more store placement (a list of New York City stores is available on their website).
As Ranen says: “My friends and family thought I was a bit crazy to leave my finance job to start a bakery but they became believers at first bite!”
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