IT DID NOT TAKE LONG FOR ANGELA Cauley and Ian Blount to concoct an alluring formula for success for Coalescence L.L.C. (www.coalescencellc.com; 614-861-3639), their Columbus, Ohio-based food blending and repackaging company. Coalescence custom blends spices and ingredients that end up in salad dressings served at Wendy's fast food chain restaurants and in Morningstar Farms' vegetarian food products.
Blount, who serves as the company's senior vice president and chief operating officer and his wife (company president), Cauley, founded Coalescence in 2005. With 42 employees, the company raked in $21.5 million in revenue last year; an 760% jump from 2008 when they grossed $2.5 million. As Coalescence expands its network and customer base, the copreneurs project revenues to reach $31 million in 2010--because of the company's incremental growth and recently inked contracts with Tyson Foods and Kellogg's.
With Blount's penchant for number crunching and Cauley's expertise in food science, the couple applied their professional acumen toward entrepreneurship. But starting a business isn't easy; they spent two years refining their business plan, passing it along to professionals with expertise in financing, venture capitalism, and the food industry. "If you're doing a good, thorough business plan, you're having other people look at it," says Blount, 40. "Once it was completed we started receiving positive responses from potential investors."
Putting their business plan to the test, 37-year-old Cauley and Blount got to work raising the $520,000 startup capital needed. "The largest barrier you face is cost," says Blount "Our first mixer cost more than my first house, and my...