Chobani CEO: 'I Bet On These Guys Being Lazy'

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The CEO of Chobani Yogurt—netting more than $1 billion in annual sales—says one of the keys to his company's success is that he got the jump on "lazy" large companies.

In December 2012, Chobani expanded its nationwide network by opening its newest factory in Twin Falls, a 950,000-square-foot facility that produces as many as 4.2 million cases of yogurt a week.

In an April 29 address at New York University's Stern School of Business, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya told students that his company's five-year explosive growth is based, in a large part, on taking risk. Business Insider reports that Ulukaya says much bigger yogurt companies, such as Dannon, asked him to sell out. But instead, he decided to expand.

"I wanted to do it in another way," he said. "I bet on these guys being lazy, that they're not going to wake up that fast, and I said, 'I'm going to be fast.'"

Business Insider reports that when Chobani started, Greek yogurt made up 0.2 percent of the yogurt market in the U.S.. Now, it makes up 50 percent, and Chonani has at least half of that share, according to Ulukaya.

"Never has a food aisle been challenged like this and changed so quickly by a startup ever," he said. "Some say we’re the fastest growing startup ever, including technology."