The company was launched in 2017 as an on-the-go solution for brain fog and lack of energy.
IQBAR CEO and founder Will Nitze told NutraIngredinets-USA that they optimize the keto-friendly protein bars around 6 specific brain nutrients: Lion's mane, MCTs, omega-3s, flavonoids, vitamin E, and choline.
“We chose those nutrients in particular for two primary reasons: 1) They had the greatest scientific research demonstrating positive impact on the brain, and 2) They can be incorporated into a bar via delicious, whole food ingredients,” said Nitze.
“This is the first institutional money we've taken,” explained Nitze. “To date, we've operated via a sort of ‘poverty mentality’ where we did everything in the most cost-effective way possible. While I'm so glad that was our approach for the first few years of our existence, it isn't sustainable in the long run in the categories we play in. Eventually you need outside money to hit super ambitious growth targets. The key is to source those funds from the best partner possible and to deploy them in the best way possible.”
Nitze said CircleUp is exactly that partner—“They have data analytics no other fund has and they've already been super helpful with regard to strategy, hiring, and other considerations.”
According to Circle Up’s data platform on Helio, IQBAR is the 7th ranked brand in the 1,500 nutrition bar set. Both the online and offline performance are poised to grow for IQBAR.
“We believe that Will and the IQBAR team will be a force in the food for brain fuel trend. And we are excited to be a part of it!” said Karen Howland, managing director at CircleUp Growth Partners.
In the mix
Nitze said he plans to use the new funds primarily to hire ‘A’ players, as well as to invest heavily in marketing and advertising initiatives.
The investment will also come in handy as the company prepares to launch a new hydration stick pack product line called IQMIX.
“We're launching a truly one-of-a-kind hydration product in a few months called IQMIX,” explained Nitze. “The product will combine electrolytes with adaptogens and a very special compound called magnesium l-threonate — it's the only form of magnesium bioavailable to the brain. This product will be a total game changer for us, and help us to evolve from a bar company into a brain and body ‘platform’ company."
Sports and Active Nutrition Summit
NutraIngredients-USA's Sports and Active Nutrition Summit is going on right now. Next week's segment focuses on Recovery, while the event scheduled for the last week of February has a focus on Esports, which is a big growth area for cognitive support products. For more information, see below.