Women's History Month
Women Making History: Julia Collins, Co-Founder of $1 Billion Company, Zume Pizza
Photo Credit: Getty Images
For the entire month of March, WBLS is highlighting, “Women Making History”. This week we're recognizing Julia Collins, the first black woman to co-CEO and co-found a $1 Billion company, Zume Pizza.
The Company launched in 2015 and is headquartered in Mountainview, CA and has a team of humans and robots (literally) that work collectively to create the safest food production. Zume courses 100% of its ingredients from local farmers who use sustainable agricultural practices and ethical farming methods. Zume pizza aims to contain much fewer calories and fat than its pizza competitors. There are around 270 fully insured employees that hold the mission of making healthy food fast and acceptable to everyone.
Collins, is really is one of a kind. After graduating from Harvard University and focusing on biomedical engineering, she took a career shift and began attending the Stamford Business School. She interned at Union Square Hospitality Group where the early Shake Shack was being formed, then landed her first restaurant job after graduation. After that, Julia pursued restaurant management and ownership.
After developing two successful restaurants in NYC, Collins returned to Silicone Valley and combined her love of food and technology with the development of Zume Pizza.
“There was nothing that would please my family more than for me to get this incredible degree in [biomedical engineering]. The problem is I wasn’t living my authentic truth. It wasn’t until I came to Stanford Business School and I permitted myself to live in my authentic truth and to say to myself, ‘Julia, it’s food, this is what is meant for you...’"
Zume valued at $2.25 billion after raising an additional $375 million in 2018. Why robots? According to Collins, it’s to simply create safer jobs. “Eliminating tasks that are dangerous, like sticking your hand in and out of an 800-degree pizza oven and letting a robot do that task so that you preserve the occupation of being a cook. You preserve the job, but you remove the tasks that are dirty, dangerous and dull — all of those things that human beings shouldn’t be doing.”
Although Collins will be stepping down from her prized company to pursue her next business venture, she plans to continue making history.
“I am so excited that I have the opportunity to use all of the learning and all of the momentum that I gained while I was at Zume to build my next company”, Collins said. "The company is going to be the first food company built on a 100% regenerative supply chain. We’re moving into food and food products that actually regenerate, replenish, and heal the earth.”
Collins is also passionate about social injustice and is a board director/mentor for both the ‘Black Girls Code’ non-profit organization in NYC and ‘SheHo’ organization that serves as a mentor to young Harvard and Stamford alumni. She also plans to begin angel investing that focuses on female entrepreneurs of color, to help them combat the struggles she once faced as a beginning black female entrepreneur.
Thank you to Julia Collins for overcoming the obstacles that many female entrepreneurs of color face, when finding investors and becoming a mentor to other young women with the same aspirations!