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GALLERY: K Cup Decaf Green Tea

By 1993 Sylvan and Dragone were still making the pods by hand, and brought in manufacturing consultant Dick Sweeney to serve as co-founder and to automate the manufacturing process. The prototype brewing machines were also a work in progress and unreliable, and the company needed funds for development. That year, they approached what was then Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and the specialty coffee company first invested in Keurig at that time. Keurig needed sizeable venture capital; and after pitching to numerous potential investors the three partners finally obtained $50,000 from Minneapolis-based investor Food Fund in 1994, and later the Cambridge-based fund MDT Advisers contributed $1,000,000. In 1995 Larry Kernan, a principal at MDT Advisers, became Chairman of Keurig, a position he retained through 2002. Sylvan did not work well with the new investors, and in 1997 he was forced out, selling his stake in the company for $50,000. Dragone left a few months later but decided to retain his stake. Sweeney stayed on as the company's vice president of engineering.

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