WASHINGTON — Last week, local NBC “Today” show viewers may have seen a familiar face on its “Start Up to Success” series — a three-week elimination segment that profiles entrepreneurs from around the country.
The familiar face was that of an armadillo — or two armadillos, rather. And those armadillos are the brand behind one of D.C.’s blossoming start-up food businesses: 2Armadillos, a company that makes crispy chickpeas.
Co-founders Jimmy Edgerton and Greg Katz started 2Armadillos in the summer of 2013. They make their six chickpea flavors out of D.C.’s commercial food incubator Union Kitchen with a team of five employees.
Co-founders Jimmy Edgerton and Greg Katz met in college and started the company in 2013. (Courtesy 2Armadillos)
“We keep it simple and we make a lot of them,” says Edgerton, 29, who works as a sustainable real estate developer in the District .
The idea for the healthy snack came from Katz, who works as a physician. He became fed-up with the late-night food options at the hospital, aka: a vending machine filled with high-sugar snacks and processed carbohydrates.
So Katz started making his own snacks to take to work: roasted chickpeas. When the other doctors and hospital staff started eating his homemade snacks, he knew he was on to something.
“It’s basically like a round chip. You wouldn’t think you’re eating a bean,” says Edgerton on the taste of a roasted chickpea.
It was in a beer garden on a European trip when the two college friends, Katz and Edgerton, decided to make a business out of the healthy snack.
“Everybody likes my snacks. You’re eating them right now. In Prague. Why don’t you just sell chickpeas?