Nikhil Arora

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Nikhil Arora
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CitizenshipIndia/United States of America
EducationDegrees in political science and business administration
Alma materUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
OrganizationBack to the Roots
TitleCo-CEO and Co-founder

Nikhil Arora is the co-CEO and co-founder of Back to the Roots.

Arora is a California native and first generation Indian American.[1][2][3] Arora graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business with degrees in political science and business administration.[4]

In 2009, Nikhil Arora met Alejandro Velez at UC Berkeley.[5][2] They began researching food sustainability and how to grow mushrooms in coffee grounds.[5][6] One of their mushroom crops was later sold to Chez Panisse, a Berkeley restaurant, and Whole Foods.[5][6][7][8] Together Arora and Velez founded Back to the Roots, an organic gardening company. The company now sells its products in big-box stores including Target, Costco, and Walmart.[5][9][10]

In November 2012, Arora was one of 15 entrepreneurs invited to a small business meeting in the White House. The entrepreneurs were gathered to speak with then President Obama and senior staff members about the approaching fiscal cliff.[11]

Arora has also been on the Board of Directors of the Sage Mentorship Project and Social Venture Network.[4]

Nikhil Arora in the media



  1. "Fun with Fungi: Food Business is Still Mushrooming for Two Berkeley Grads". Cal Alumni Association. 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henry, Sarah (2010-11-12). "The Mushroom Guys: A business out of UC Berkeley". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  3. Miller, Brian; Lapham, Mike (2012). The Self-made Myth: And the Truth about how Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60994-506-0.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "World Food Championships". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "2016 Leadership Award: Vision: Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez | News". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Chhabra, Esha. "Two Founders Go From Growing Mushrooms In College To Building Out A National Brand". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  7. Wandell, Deb (2009-11-15). "Business idea mushrooms from coffee grounds". SFGATE. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  8. "New Agtivists: Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez turn coffee grounds into fun fungi kits". Grist. 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  9. Bercovici, Jeff (2016-01-28). "Why This Food Startup Says Hold the Technology". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  10. Garfield, Peter Kotecki, Leanna. "A startup selling mushrooms kits to millennials just got $4 million to expand further into Costco and Target". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-10-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. Wong, Matthew (2012-11-29). "Inside Obama's Meeting With Entrepreneurs on the Fiscal Cliff". Retrieved 2020-10-22.

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