Berkeley alum featured as contestant on “The Bachelorette”

alejandro velez mug

UC Berkeley alumnus Alejandro Velez is a contestant on the new season of “The Bachelorette,” which premiered Monday on ABC.

Now in its eighth season, the show features 25 hopeful bachelors competing for the heart of 26-year-old single mom Emily Maynard, winner of season 15 of the network’s counterpart show, “The Bachelor.”

Velez grew up in Medellin, Colombia, and moved to the Bay Area when he was 10. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration and Education, and gave up a six-figure job in investment banking to co-found Oakland-based mushroom farm Back to the Roots with fellow alumnus Nikhil Arora.

Back to the Roots was founded upon a sustainable business model after Arora and Velez discovered in their last semester at UC Berkeley that mushrooms could be grown on used coffee bean grounds. The young entrepreneurs developed mushroom-growing kits, which they now supply to over 300 Whole Foods Markets nationwide.

“Now I’m in a position in my life with the perfect timing to really let love be a priority,” Velez said in a deleted scene from Monday’s episode.

Velez did not receive much face-time in Monday’s episode, appearing only long enough to show his initial introduction to Emily. He did receive a rose, along with 19 other bachelors, so viewers can expect to see him for at least another week.

Adelyn Baxter is the news editor.

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  • OnaMission

    On a mission to find Alejandro’s twitter or something! Someone let me know please (: 

    •  I’m in that same mission ;)- Emily let go of the best contestant on the Bachelorette- her loss- I get the feeling though that Alejandro is not one of those twitter/facebook people and doesn’t care much for the fame…

  • martinsnapp

    May their love mushroom!

  • Non-story

    On numerous occasions I found Velez and Arora illegally dumping the waste from their “mushrooms” into my business’ dumpster.  When confronted, they played dumb.  Now I’m not so sure they were playing…

    • Nikhil

      Thanks for the comment. sir. We are

    • Nikhil

      Thanks for the comment. This is Nikhil, one of the co-founders with Back to the Roots. We take pride in our company being very transparent, and are proud of where this company has come from and where it is going – and in truth, we reference those early days often. We are excited to see how the hardwork of our team and the support from you and our community has helped grow this company; all of which started as a fraternity kitchen experiment at Berkeley! I’d love to chat with you more – please call our office at 510.922.9758 or better, we’d love to show you our new facilities in Oakland! We’re at 2935 Adeline St., Oakland CA 94608 – would love to give you a tour!

      Look forward to hearing from you, catching up, and hopefully showing you around our new operations!!


  • McPhail

    Philistine garbage pervades the nation’s airwaves.