DTC POD Jeff Byers, Momenetus - How This Performance Supplement Brand Scaled from $2M to $36M in 18 Months
What's up DTC pod today we're joined by Jeff Byers, who is the CEO at momentous. So, Jeff, I'll let you kick us off. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, your personal background, and then what momentous is all about.
Ramon Berrios 00:02:36 - 00:02:46
Yeah, with finance, there's not as much creativity going on as you would think. You moved into biohacking finance, right.
I was at a biotech company, like a pharmaceutical company essentially, after, it was really early stage. So after finance, I joined this biotech, and they had this technology that was delivering substances through the skin. And by substances, I mean drugs. And it had really cool early data. This is my non science background. It was way earlier than I ever bond because I just didn't understand that category. Like biotech and pharma, like early stage pharma is very unique, and the life cycles take forever. I mean, they're still ripping at it and they're like ten years in now, and it could big investor, it could be billions and it could be a zero.
And it's very binary in that, whereas I don't think many other businesses are as binary as biotech and the pharmaceutical business. Anyways, super fascinating. I was employee five, and I really learned about physiology, science, clinical research, kind of by fire hose. I was definitely the least smartest human being on that team and least accomplished from a business perspective. But what I brought, and they were really intrigued by, they had this idea to use the technology outside of medicine and use it in performance sport, and given my background as a pro athlete, and then they also wanted to raise some capital. And obviously being in finance and the relationships, connections I had, I was able to help sit alongside the founder and help them raise some capital as well, which was a ton of fun. And so I kind of came in to lead consumer products, or like, this idea of consumer products and help raise some money on the leadership team, which was super. It was super fun and a crazy, unique journey, and it was my first taste into truly entrepreneurship.
And that, and ultimately that technology that they developed became part of the first product that momentous is now is. So my co founder and I, in 2018, acquired the rights to a technology that helps deliver it. And this product called PR lotion. And PR lotion became a baby or an idea within the biotech of what if we could deliver sodium bicarbonate? And most people have, like, what is sodium bicarbonate? It's baking soda through the skin. But five decades worth of research say that sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate specifically helps reduce acidity in your body. And so when you're training really hard or really long. You produce what is commonly referred to as lactic acid, and that is a limiting factor in your ability to go harder or longer. And so if we were able to deliver this substance to the skin, you could really make a pretty big impact when you think about performance in sport.
And that was this hypothesis. We got really early data at the biotech around it, and enough so that us special forces started using it to a France winner, Super bowl winning teams. And we got in after you appeared. No, before at the biotech. Right. We got this really crazy early traction, and some of it was like my network, but we had enough data, and we were really true to who we were, but that gave us the, oh, man, this has legs that we could do something super cool with it, but it also gave us the. At the biotech was like, nobody. The biotech was commercial minded.
It's like an oxymoron. We're talking about, like, phase two FDA clinical trials, right? And I'm like, hey, we buy some inventory. And that use of capital was not aligned. And so we, as a leadership team, kind of sat down and said, what are we going to do with this crazy idea product? We got, like, Navy SeALs using it, and Super bowl championed teams like our first big customer. We threw up this stupid shopify site. I know nothing about e commerce or knew nothing at the time, and nobody else really did either. We threw up the shopify site, and next thing you know, we have a $2,000 order, right? That comes in. I'm like, oh, where is this order? And it's like, can't, won't tell you the name of the team, but it was like the stadium.
And I was like, should probably call this guy, right? It was like, totally random. He's like, oh, my friend. He's the head dietitian for this Tour de France team. And he told me about it, and he's like, we bought, like, a little bit. Guys loved it. I kept him like, holy cow. Anyways, so this was all the biotech, and we're just like, what would we do with this product? And we're like, well, we can kill it, right? And just like, it's sunk, cost, whatever. No big deal.
And we're like, well, we could sell it. And it's like, we don't have enough traction to buy. Like, there's no real value, and then you lose control and all this. Or we can spin it out and create a new co. And so my co founder, Erica, who's the president of the company and really runs the day to day. Incredible background as well. McKinsey and company, incredibly process oriented, strategic as hell. We basically both were like, this biotech shit's for the birds.
It's different kind of building than what we were really passionate about. And so we spun that technology out, raised money to start what is now called momentous. But our original company was called AMp HP. And we did this on this vision of, we can build the next generation high performance company. We have unprecedented access via this product that nobody else really had. And it was never to build a d to c business. It was never to build what is morphed into now one of the leading sports nutrition dietary supplements company in the space. It was, let's do it very differently.
We believe that human performance and optimization is in its infancy. But what was happening at really elite levels and the new technologies and the practitioners wasn't coming down to the consumer. So we saw this huge opportunity. Like most entrepreneurs were like, oh, pr lotion. It's going to be 100 million dollar business product itself. Turns out it's super niche. It's a cool product, like, fascinating, and still gets what I will call the really elite performance thinkers in the world. And scientists incredibly excited because we continue to have published research come out on.
It's strong. I mean, we don't have ten years of research yet, but we have, I think, eleven or twelve clinical trials. A handful of them have been published in really good journals. But it's this crazy journey. So, long story short, we had this crazy product doing crazy things. We had a little d to c business going and it just like, man, this is not enough, right? But this product was a sprint board and it put us in rooms that are very hard to get into, whether it be locker rooms or military rooms or research labs. And we also got kind of these tastemakers that were like, this is cool. It's not big enough or it's too niche for me to get behind.
But they were all kind of.
Ramon Berrios 00:10:34 - 00:10:38
What kind of results were people seeing that got them so excited?
Yeah, I mean, basically it's all about how do you trying to think of a more layman's term. Basically it allows you to push harder. So if you're a crossfit athlete, push more watts on an assault bike over a short period of time. Or if you're like a crazy endurance, endurance athlete, just bump up just a little bit. And so you can go a little bit harder for a little bit longer. And so what you see is some performance gains that are really nice. In short, term in shorter efforts on there. So we've seen like 20% bumps in max effort intervals, which is great.
Ramon Berrios 00:11:22 - 00:11:22
Percent.
Wow, 20. But then you also see this big recovery piece where it's like, when you make your muscle more basic, your muscle is more efficient. And when your muscle is more efficient, you don't have to tear it down, break it down as much as. So there's some recovery aspect of it as well.
Ramon Berrios 00:11:39 - 00:11:43
What were the alternatives and what was.
The form factor as well? You said it was like a lotion.
Nasty, and it still is nasty. And part of the thing is, like, we haven't figured. I don't think we're ever going to figure it out. Right. Because part of the technology is really viscous. It's kind of fatty, and it separates a bit. And early days kind of look like honey mustard. People called it honey mustard.
But anyway, so it's a lotion. You put it on your major muscle group, you're going for a really hard run or something. Your lower body. This product is still in a portfolio. It still serves a purpose right now. But the alternative was drinking sodium bicarbonate, baking soda. And when you drink bicarb, your stomach is full of acid. Bicarb is a buffer, which means it reacts.
And when it reacts, think about what we all did in elementary school. We made those paper machete volcanoes. Yeah, right. Vinegar, stomach acid, baking soda, sodium bicarbonate mixed together makes a volcano. That's what happens in your gut. And so it typically has bad outcomes, but they've been using it in a really elite level sports rowing track for 50 years, essentially. And they have really great benefits with it. But the problem is, if you get the timing right, you crap your pants.
Right. And crapping your pants is never advantageous to performance and really not advantageous for a consumer. Right? Like, no consumer is going to be like, let's drink some baking soda so I can ride my bike faster today on this group bike ride. No, you're like, I don't want to crack my pants. That's not mine. So it really created that space, which is fascinating.
Ramon Berrios 00:13:24 - 00:13:42
What was the biggest challenges in commercializing this? Because looking back, when you tell the story, looking back, it's like, oh, yeah, it's obvious. Like, grab a product that has rights to it and then just make it DTC friendly and have that as a competitive advantage. I'm sure there were a bunch of challenges really hard.
It's actually now that once we acquired the momentous brand, it just makes it seem so easy with known products. In a more known category. We were creating a category and a market, and we had so many things to overcome, and it was like a single product. So we had low aov, low ltv, because it turns out, outside of elite athletes, people don't push themselves to barfing five times a week, right? And you really don't need pr lotion unless you're going really hard. And so what we found is people love the product, but they use it. Use one unit a year or two units a year, and that's like, cool, $35, $65. You're like, that is not a sustainable business model on there. And so with a one product company, what's super interesting is you get all that mind share.
I'm a consumer, so every email is about it, everything on there. But I think the biggest thing for us, and what I believe has made us really successful, is we stuck very true to our mission and vision. And it was to be at the forefront of high performance. It wasn't to create a d to C brand. And again, that's not my background. And if I maybe had DDC background or a product background even, it would have been very different. But for me, the ecosystem in high performance and human optimization and wellness and being in that was all that mattered to me. I really believed we could make a pretty big difference, because what I saw as a pro athlete when I retired and my goals shifted, I didn't know what to do or where to go.
And to me, that just meant there was this huge gap. And it's our mission that we call democratizing high performance, taking how the best operate, that have really unlimited resources, and bringing it to bear to the consumer. Because as a consumer, when I retired, I was like, man, I care about brain health. I care about longevity in my body, right? I care about my sleep. I don't know where to go, who to trust, why to trust them, what's right for me. And there was just like this huge gap. What are the cutting edge technologies or what's new? Because when you're an elite athlete, you have a practitioner that gives you what you need to be great, right? You have access to the best products in the world. They aren't giving you a crappy supplement.
You don't have crappy weights, right? Everything is best in class. And then you have access to this cutting edge knowledge, right? Which is you're also like, okay, let's try this, let's do that. New things that maybe aren't fully proven or that aren't right for everybody, but that are right for you, based upon your situation. So I just saw this huge gap. There was just this huge gap, but we stayed very core to this mission. And it's been hard because we're not a traditional d to C brand because we invest in clinical research, we invest in advocacy work still. And that's a really unique thing for a d to C brand. Like last year we spent, or this year, I guess we spent 5% of total revenue on what I will call expanding access and expanding knowledge.
All things that don't directly drive revenue. That clinical research. Yeah, ultimately is a huge differentiator. And we do a bunch of advocacy work on Capitol Hill around expanding access in our category and knowledge that doesn't drive. Maybe in a couple of years it will, but we believe we need to democratize high performance and do that through knowledge and power. And that's a really big thing for a company our size and very differentiated in d to C. Like when you're like, oh, let's just go launch another supplement company, you're pumping money all into brand and product and not really mission vision and not always there's a lot.
Ramon Berrios 00:17:40 - 00:18:22
Because when you start at DTC brands, there's really two ways of doing it. Which is one is like you either join a growing sector with sort of the tailwinds or you have to create the category. And if you're going to create the category, a heavy investment is like the education piece, especially for this type of product, which is for elite athletes. But then how do you transfer that into the people who might not necessarily be elite athletes, but they are top shape and they are trying to aspire to be at that level. Did that change the way you build the product? Because elite athletes, they all sort of have same body type, et cetera, in.
A very similar mindset. I think if we go a bit into the story. So in early 21, we basically realized, hey, we need to expand before 2021. But we made a conscious, we have to expand our product portfolio and technology base and we looked at a bunch of different companies to buy, acquire, merge, et cetera with. And then we just like, let's launch our own dietary supplements, nutritional supplements. And it was something somebody wanted us to do in 2019 and 2020. And I have this. It's still weird for me to say that I am a CEO and co founder of now a dietary supplement, nutritional supplement company, because it's just the industry category.
Doesn't make me feel good, right? Because there's so much distrust and lack of transparency and bad actors and no barriers to entry.
Ramon Berrios 00:19:20 - 00:19:22
But somebody's got to fix.
Somebody's got to fix it. And that was what we kept hearing was like, well, you guys are working with the Department of Defense. You have contracts, innovation contracts, doing research with us, special forces. Like, you're working with all these pro and college teams. This is a very parallel category to what you're in. And anyways, so we said, okay, we're going to launch some products in this category. We started building it and we actually end up building a handful of products. And what we found was to really build a meaningful portfolio was going to take a lot of time, and b, to really make the highest quality products in the space was really freaking hard.
Right? You can go get a protein powder. We could go start a protein powdered company tomorrow, right. And have a product ready to ship in three weeks. That's easy, right. To make truly a best in class product that our consumers at the highest level wanted was very hard. And so what we ended up doing, and I also had this epiphany late winter in 21, was like, what makes us special is we're at the forefront of hyperforce. We're working with the best people in the world. And if we just launch a bunch of me two products that's not core you're trying to do.
That just is why I dislike this category so much.
Ramon Berrios 00:20:52 - 00:20:54
And then they're so going back and.
They'Re damaged the brand and what we had was this incredible reputation in pro and college boards. And what we didn't want to do is do it anyway. So we kept running across this brand, momentous, and I got to know one of their board members, and they were really looking for a shift. They had a very similar ethos to us. They were built in pro and college sports. Almost over 50% of their business was in pro and college sports. They were selling into like 100 plus pro and college sports teams with basically just like a protein portfolio. They had a couple of fringe products, but was a fascinating, fascinating business, and they just didn't have enough umph in it.
They were way more of a product company and they didn't have this global mission, vision, incredible brand that they'd built, incredible reputation that they had built, but they just needed a bit of a change. We ended up acquiring them and merging the two business together. So the company I founded is Amp HP. That's the underlying entity behind momentous. And we do business obviously as momentous, and it's been incredible. So when we bought momentous, how long were we both sorry we did that transaction? We basically closed July 1 of 21. So we're in almost, which is crazy also to think about. And it was honestly the hardest thing I've ever done.
And at the scale we were at together, both brands were about $5 million comic. And at the scale we were at, it was very hard, right? A culturally incredibly hard. Two very small teams, very different ethos, very different founders. Like, I am a very different founder than who started the original momentous brand and just leadership styles, philosophies, et cetera. And where she's the two business together was really hard. But part of the theory behind bringing the two business together was a dietary supplement, nutrition brand, right? And they were in these great places, but nobody was like, I'm going to go attach my wagon to them. And what we had at AmPHP was we had all these diehard, really big names. I got to know Andrew Hooperman before this merger, right? And because we were both like, andrew's really passionate about working with special forces and we were doing work with special forces and we had like this very similar ecosystem.
And what I saw was we could actually activate this ecosystem in a super unique way if we had enough products and we had a portfolio. Our challenge was we had a super niche product. What if we could access, like leverage us as being at the forefront of high performance and get the really special people excited, but leverage a huge market, addressable market. That was fundamentally broken, in my opinion. And that's what we did, right, with the merger. It took a really long time. It took us like a year to get our shit together. We did not.
We ended up raising money just pretty recently to effectively made the acquisition a cash acquisition because we just bought out that side of the company. We did an equity deal and it was right for both businesses at the time, but it was very hard, right, because at the end of the day, there's not a winner. Now you're both kind of competing. It's like, well, this is how we used to do it here. And what we ended up having was we had kind of a split cap table and one was a very kind of consumer biotech cap table and the other was a very traditional sports nutrition cap table. And we're like, well, we're blending the two together and both sides of that cap table. Like, well, I invested in this or I invested in that, and it created a lot of noise and lack of clarity and alignment.
Ramon Berrios 00:25:01 - 00:25:04
And that can kill a company if not navigate it properly.
And so how we navigated it was we found somebody who was super aligned with our vision and said, hey, let's create an event for all these people they'd been in, some of them had been in for five, six years. And we transacted out the people that were interested or were in align with the mission. And it was a tremendous outcome for company and people and new investor. We're so excited for what that brings, but anyways, and so it took us about a year to put the two companies together. And then we launched Huberman realistically in June, July of 2022. And Andrew and I worked out together right after the merger, and we basically was like, hey, let's think about doing something together. We have this portfolio, we have this reputation we can stand on. We're trusted in pro sports like anybody else, but we're still really young and nimble, and we want to create this standard of excellence that nobody else has.
And we fill the gap that Andrew had, which was, I want a really high quality company that's nimble, that can innovate product and launch new things that hasn't been doing it the same way for 40 years and really trusted. And for us, we wanted a catalyst. And this was like five months into Andrew's podcast, he was rising. But even at that time, he's in the stratosphere, right, with like Joe Rogan and nobody else, right? And I don't think anybody would have guessed that. And he's been a huge catalyst for us. But what I'll say is the catalyst behind Huberman is this relentless pursuit of being at the forefront of high performance.
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Ramon Berrios 00:27:24 - 00:27:50
And which is important because I think for people that might have seen momentous with Huberman, this isn't a sponsorship deal, clearly, from what you're saying. It's about a passion of actually having the chance to bring this into reality, of this vision of having the most high performance product and him having a chance to be a small part of it, not like an influencer. Sponsorship deal.
100%. We sell to 200 pro and college sports teams. We literally make a custom product for one of the top teams in the NFL. The momentous is on staff as a person at one of the top NHL teams, like, we're one of their advisors, they called us to help build protocols and things like that. And then we've won ten contracts with the department of Defense for innovation and research in our category. That aligns with Andrew's mission. Right. And that's what's so important about the partnership and the other partnerships we have in that ecosystem is we're not just hawking product.
I fundamentally believe this category is broken. And also I fundamentally believe that this category is actually really critical to longevity and wellness. Right. And when I say our goal is to democratize high performance, performance doesn't mean running, jumping, lifting weights. Performance is how you wake up every day and you perform. Right? Whether you're in business, whether you're a mom, dad, grandma, are you trying to maximize your life and performance? Is longevity your potential? That's exactly it. And you asked this question about athletes, and we made a shift when we decided to align into the Huberman lab. And all of that was we had to make a conscious shift away from the athlete mindset, right? And we were born in athletes, and both early companies were very, very athletic focused.
And what we wanted to become was we wanted to become a life optimizer company. And so what we did was we took the mindset that makes an athlete great or makes an athlete an athlete is this continuous pursuit of fraction or of progress. And what we said was, humans have that. There's a huge chunk of humanity that have that. Turns out Huberman's audience is like that. People like Tim Ferriss's audiences are like. Like, there's a lot of people that are thinking about what decisions do I make on a daily basis? And they care about quality, they care about science, they care about why they're doing what they're doing. They're not just aimlessly walking off a cliff like some do.
And so we really expanded. I call it we leveled up from the athlete. If we say our customer, we named them the life optimizer. And for short, they're Sam. So when I talk about Sam a lot, but Sam, athletes are a subset of Sam, of our core customer, because it has Sam is our customer.
Ramon Berrios 00:30:30 - 00:30:34
Like ICP, we have Gino or something. I can't remember.
Yeah, it's had many names over the years. It is now. Sam and Santa seem to have stuck the company, which is great. But then when I started talking about Sam, people like, who the hell Sam? I was like, it's a customer. The. Anyways, it was a super interesting journey, and I will say the other thing that we did. And if listeners have been following us for multiple years, we've been a shit show as a d to c brand. Right up until like six months ago, we were garbage.
Our website was garbage, right? Like, hard to transact, really buggy, all that. And it all kind of comes down to my zone of genius is not d to c merchandising, d to c, any of that. I know a lot about it, but I'm not an expert at it. And where we put a lot of our resources was what I call doing the really hard stuff, like winning government innovation, contracts, product development, relationships, ecosystems, clinical research, right. And making sure we had the best damn products on the market. And essentially what we did was we did that and we got all these tastemakers super stoked on it. And those tastemakers ultimately drove and created the fuel for us to enable, to invest in the brand. And part of the thing that's mean, like when Huberman made the bet to go with us, the website was so mean and it's gotten so much better and we're going to make it so much better.
But still, up until seven months ago, our marketing team was like, four people, right? And people are like, oh, what are your retention flows like? And I was like, we got like three emails. We weren't even doing the basics, which is sad. And looking back on it, whatever's next after momentous, if there is a next, I will build differently and invest differently. But to me, and what my core competency and what I truly, truly care about is we can change the trajectory of health in this country, in this world, I think. And I think we can inspire and equip people to be better. And I think we can do that by fixing a really broken category, right? And it's not broken by the fact that it doesn't work. It's broken because consumers don't trust it and consumers don't understand, and there's so much noise in it, and there's no trust, no transparency, no true standard. And so we have that opportunity.
So the vision is not to create amazing d to C brand. We've become that and almost tripped over ourselves to do it, which I consider very lucky.
Ramon Berrios 00:33:21 - 00:33:28
And if you can't prove that you can fix that, it doesn't matter how good your conversion rates are, it's not going to work. Right.
Well, you can build tons of people, build amazing CPG D to C brands, right? Tons. And that's okay. Not everybody has the same mission vision, the same purpose of why they're doing it. And some people just like, hey, I want to build this, right? Spin it, sell it, right? Cash flow, whatever. Yeah, make some and that's totally fine. That might be what's next for me. I have no idea. Right.
And then I have a long time left with momentous and I'm really passionate about it. But I think for me there was always a level up and therefore had I believed if you want to build something that truly has massive enterprise value and can make pretty meaningful change in the world, you can't build a D to C brand. You can't say, I'm just building a DC brand. Correct. You have to go build a brand at a company. Right. And you got to do really hard things. And some people do the D to C brand stuff first.
And this is my skill set. I'm an incredibly relationship driven, curious human and just have this great network and passion for product. We went the other way. We said, let's build this network and this ecosystem and do things that nobody else are doing. We'll build the brand. We'll build pretty packaging and a website and conversion and all this stuff, other stuff as we go. And that's very dangerous too, because that's how you run out of money. Where do you end to raise a lot of money? And we raised too much money in my opinion.
Like looking back on it, one of my strength is I can raise money because I'm a galvanizer. I'm like, this is great. And we were doing really crazy things. But also that means we didn't have to focus on some of the fundamental business things we have over the last 1216 months. We have an awesome business and the team has excelled. And our people around us. Yeah, it's been a breezy journey.
Ramon Berrios 00:35:36 - 00:35:37
What is revenue?
Yeah, we will do about 40 this year.
Ramon Berrios 00:35:44 - 00:35:51
What about even before Huberman joined and when the opposition threw it up.
Yeah. So basically 5 million. Yeah. Went from like 540. And when you. And realistically our run rate up until a year post merger, so like 17 months ago was about $5 million.
Ramon Berrios 00:36:09 - 00:36:20
And does that include the government? What does it mean when you get a government contract? What do you mean by that? Because can't they just go on the website and buy the products?
Yeah, I interrupt my head. No, you're super good. So the government does purchase products and that's not what I talk about, government contracts. So we've won innovation and research contracts. It does account to revenue. And early on it was a big percentage of revenue. So our first big contract was worth $1.5 million and it's revenue. But think of it as almost like nondilutive financing from that sense.
And so they fund clinical research and they fund product development and help fund some of the team.
Ramon Berrios 00:36:50 - 00:36:52
They outsource it to you essentially.
Yeah, essentially. So we go and they say, so our first thing was on PR lotion and it was sponsored by special forces unit within the air force. And there's this practice within the air force that's called tactical dehydration and that means pilot and air crew purposely dehydrate themselves before they fly so they don't have to pee when they fly. Because the options most of the time in most airframes to pee is in a piddle pack. Right. So you pee in a bag or like it's a terrible, terrible thing or you wear a diaper and it's like no grown ass man or woman is stoked. They wanted her. So it was like, well, pr lotion has some qualities that could help retain water so minimize the need to urinate in that.
So they came to us and said, hey, let's do some clinical research. We did clinical research at University of Yukon around this showed some really good data. So these contracts are innovation research contracts. They do count as revenue and they've actually been big essentially over the last four years about a million dollars a year in revenue has come from innovation contracts. Like revenue, like nondilutive funding. It hits as revenue in the business, which is super interesting. Obviously that amount per revenue is shrunk every year because our other revenue is growing. But really even early on that 5 million.
So if you say a million was the government and then of the rest of the four it's like 50% was pro and college sports teams. And so we were a really small DS business and our pro and college sports teams business and government hasn't grown. And people are like, why? It's like they're making more pro and college sports teams. Right. It's grown nicely but it's like d to C went from realistically 1718 months ago $2 million to close to 36.
Ramon Berrios 00:39:02 - 00:39:06
What broke at that process or what came the closest to breaking?
We broke people. We did. And it's like one of my regrets on it. But we also grew. And one of the things as a founder I've realized is like you need different people at different times and people that have different willingness to do things. We rocketed through this valley of death where most companies die in this ten to $20 million a year run rate. And we got passed in like a month. Right.
And we turned on profit quick and all that. Anyway, so what broke? Being in the ecosystem, I fundamentally and kind of my personality type, I could see where this was going and it was like building. I could see what Huberman was going to do and had enough inside baseball, and I could see with some of these other partners and what we were on the cusp of. And we went big on inventory, and there were a lot of people not happy with me. Right. Again, like Pos, like purchase orders. Yeah. And we're like, it's going to get big.
And one of the few people, we really only have two people other than my co founder and I that have been with either company since the start. So our senior director of science, he would call it senior director of human performance is Patrick Dixon. He leads all the government pro and college sports, things like fascinating background. And then our VP of product, Matt Chorney, have both been. Matt Cheney came from the momenta side. Patrick came from the amp human side. Those are only two left other than myself and my co founder. So of the two businesses pre merger, there's only four people.
Like, we also all grew people in the culture and all that. But Matt Chorney specifically, right. What he did from, like, he was running ops at that time, what he did to keep the train on the tracks, is nothing short of a miracle. And if he had any traditional ops training, there is no effing way. And we just went big and fast and hard, and we cut timelines that didn't work. And we leveraged, and we're like, oh, our manufacturer, Linda Huberman's, like, well, we're going to lose Huberman, if you notice. And they're like, you're helping this happen. And so we pulled every little string.
And our only ops goal over that growth period that we were in was keep us in stock. Nothing else. Do nothing else. Right. Fulfillment, don't care. We've optimized that since. But it was like the worst thing we can do is not be in stock. And so our supply chain we went through for a products company, a really crazy spike and a time when we had no working capital, too, or we had some working capital, but not an incredibly supportive investor base because we were fragmented.
It was really challenging.
Yes. How'd you do it? Right, like, going from two to 38 in a matter of 18 months and.
Just like, you're 36.
Two to 36, but making sure that you have the inventory to keep up, and you're obviously going to be selling out because you're not stocking $20 million worth of products. So in real time, what was it sort of looking like? What was the turnaround on the different parts of your supply chain? Were you working with one supplier there? Multiple. How did it all come together to not go out?
Zero foot cost. Right? And we are now seeing huge cost efficiencies now that we've slowed down and can do bigger pos. But we were just like, for some products, it was like, we just put pos in every week, right? And it's like, that's not sustainable. Or we're like, oh, we're going to air freight this ingredient. They're like, well, that's going to double the cost. And you're like, whatever, who cares, right?
Ramon Berrios 00:43:25 - 00:43:28
Be in stock. Rule number one. Rule number two, yeah.
And we kept quality very high, which was great. And then we really leaned heavily on partners to jump people in line and pay jump in line fees and do all these things. Because for me, the last 12, 18, 24 months is not about margin. Right? And it's important to run a real business and a sustainable business. And I think all founders can, like, you get over your skis, you get screwed. But you have to understand, there's a time to grow the pie, and there's a time to cut the pie, right? And ultimately, when it's time to cut that pie, it better be a big fucking pie, because, I mean, it doesn't have to be. It's true. And what you don't want to do is grow the pie irrationally.
But when the pie is growing, take it, right? And it's just like, grow it. And don't grow it irresponsibly. Don't take more risks than you need to, and don't break the bank. But that was kind of the thing of like, if we have this opportunity to grow the pie, let's grow the pie. And we were out of stock for a couple of seconds here and a couple of seconds there, and it was like, how do we get the truck to the film center faster? It's like, we were so close. And part of what made it the hardest is we certify our whole production line by two certification companies, and you can't speed it up. We're like, can you go faster? Like, nope. And they don't even care, right? So there are two certification companies in the world that pro and college sports use.
If your product is not either NSF certified for sport or informed sport informed choice, they will not touch your product, because every other third party certification, in their mind, is garbage. Doesn't mean anything. They won't give to their players because they don't want their players to test positive. And our category has no regulation. And so that actually became the biggest bottleneck in everything that we had.
And what does the certification mean? Is it like a one time thing.
When formulating a product, or is it every stupid crotch? It's really important. And I think that's where if you really want to build a crazy brand and be incredibly impactful, is it's all about quality, and you can't budge on that. And we're building what we call the momentous standard. And we've always kind of had this. We've never displayed it externally, but you can never jeopardize that. And so for us, it was like, we're going to third party certify and not use what consumers think of third party certified. We're going to do the only two that matter. And so what does that mean for us? That means every batch is certified, and that means both pre and post and post.
It's testing for label claim accuracy. So, basically, if you say you have 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs, whatever it is, you have to be within, like 10% variation, right. Or if it's like 800 milligrams of sodium, you better have it, right. And if you're out, you have to redo your label, or you have to make a label, and it can't contain things that aren't on the label. Right. And so, literally, what's on the label is in the package, which there are every week it seems like a new paper comes out that, like 60%, 80%, 10%, 15% of supplements that they test or dietary nutrition don't actually contain what they say they do or contain other things that aren't supposed to be it. And then the second step, which I think is really important, I don't know if consumers actually care. I think they do.
My hypothesis is that it is free of banned substances. And what you find in our categories, there's a lot of bad ingredients and bad things that are used, and not by that many players. But what happens is cross contamination is huge in our thing, in our category. Basically, like, it shipped on the same truck or in the same rail car, or it was made in the same facility as a substance that is banned in pro sports or college sports. And me, as a consumer, anyways, the only way we can work with the people we work with is to do these certifications. And I also believe, fundamentally, consumers might not know they care, but they should care. And it's on us to explain why it's so dangerous. Like, we had a vitamin D production run, and it's literally vitamin D right, in capsules.
Nobody would think about it. We failed a banned substance test with it. Meaning? Meaning when we go in to get certified, before we can release it, it gets these certifications, and it failed. And it failed because it was somehow in the chain of command, chain of control. It was contaminated or next to something that was banned. Right. And we've. With our standards and with our certifications, that production run goes into a dumpster.
Right. But the challenge is we weren't the only one that had. Right. That vitamin D was probably used in 20 other people's products. Right. And if you don't certify it. But is it going to kill a human? No. Is it good for a human? Probably not, but it's not the best of the.
And it's not what we as consumers should expect. You don't buy a beyond meat burger and, like, oh, it has trace amounts of bacon in, like, people would lose their minds. And that's where I think we have this opportunity. What makes me so passionate is we can change that because we have people like Dr. Hubertman and Dr. Galpin and Dr. Stacey Sims, like, these thought leaders. We can change the perspective, and we can change how people think and educate them, and we can create a standard that's above everybody else, but we can create a standard that raises everybody else.
Right. My biggest goal is, like, what if we just get everybody, like, this industry to self police and raise itself?
Ramon Berrios 00:49:40 - 00:50:06
I want to touch on that. So you had Huberman, right? Huberman is, like, top 1% of everything else, but you decided to keep going and add more experts in the field. What drove that? You could have just stayed with Huberman. What made you, and how did you think of, like, here's how I envision this whole thing with all these people working together to grow this.
So what I would classify like a true expert. We had all those people before he brewed.
Ramon Berrios 00:50:12 - 00:50:12
Okay.
Right. It just wasn't like the portfolio wasn't deep enough. But that's what made us special, and that's what gave me great confidence to do the acquisition of momentous is we had these people, and we were accessing these people on there. And so this list of experts, what I will say we didn't have were these. We, like, we're on Tim Ferriss's podcast and Andy Schultz's podcast as, like, sponsors, but they're very picky on who they work with and what. And Huberman has done to Huberman has created this unlock because he's de risked this category, right? Because he saw inside the sausage making of us. He saw all the experts we were working with, the dod, et cetera, and he actually understood what was making us special. And he's basically like, he is the tastemaker in our category.
He's the tastemaker for tastemakers, and that's what he's done. And so it wasn't on, like, how do we get a Galpin or a sims? Like, Stacey is, like, the leading female performance optimization human in the world. And Andy Galpin did some stuff with Huberman and has some more big things. But he's probably the smartest exercise physiologist in the world, or most popular, most easily digestible maybe is a better word. And those people are awesome. But what really, for us, our goal is, if you are a Sam, back to our, if you're a life optimizer and you're in comedy or you're a talk show host or you're an athlete or you're a business person, we want to work with you, right? And it's more so of now we're venturing into this space of let's go find the pockets of people who life optimizers that can tell our story in a really unique, genuine. Because, like, when Andy Schultz talks about us, it's cool, right? Because he puts his spin on seen, and he's now seen inside the sausage making of what makes us special. We work with the best people.
And he's like, why wouldn't you buy from the company that literally the billion dollar industries buy from? And it's really powerful on that. But this ecosystem is what I've always believed in, and it truly is a flywheel. You build it, and then now the ecosystem spins and spins and spins. It's happening with our work in the government, our advocacy work. This year, we briefed Congress twice on high performance wellness initiatives and supplementation, which is fascinating. I got to stand up in front of congressional members and talk to them. I'm kind of a knuckle dragger. I'm not the smartest person in the room, but I know a lot.
I'm super passionate. And we got to talk to him about traumatic brain injury and supplements. And we brought in a ton of our experts from pro and college sports to go brief Congress. And then we did the same thing on female high performance and the gaps in female performance and what we see in college and pro athletics and the equality gaps. It's just, like, fascinating and to me, what's so rewarding is what momentous has given us is it's given us a platform to probably affect change. And being able to be in DC and hopefully change policy to expand access is incredible, right. And not to help momentous directly to unlock this category and spread knowledge and change policy and change the way people think about this space is really important because I do fundamentally believe that our category, our industry, and it has been, is a cornerstone to health, wellness and longevity. But until we can break down some of the nastiness that comes with it, it's always going to be a hurdle.
I talk to customers and people, not even customers.
Ramon Berrios 00:54:19 - 00:54:24
You responded to me when I needed help with because I don't understand a lot of these and I'm trying to get well.
But there are so many people like you, right, that are smart, intelligent, and it's like, there's so much noise and no, let it start, where to go. And then you're like, effort, I'm not doing anything right. And that is a disservice. And that's what the goal is, right, is the goal is to make people like you. And part of the challenge is like, how do we make the website come like that? I think that's our big unlock as a brand. We are building incredible trust. But then we have to go and figure out how, on a website, do we have a, or maybe even thought on a website, I don't know how to use AI. Right, what you guys are working.
How do you use something to create and tailor a bit more like, all right, this is not just a marketing brand. This is truly the best in class. Here's why I should care about what I put in my body. And then it's like, no, here's a curated approach for you. That's important for you. That's what's super duper important, in my opinion.
Ramon Berrios 00:55:26 - 00:56:09
I think one of the biggest takeaways of this conversation, too, is going back to that, yeah, you can start a DTC brand to flip it, make some cash, et cetera. But you're obsessed with the mission. And that's the reason why the product has reached the heights it has. And if you're not this obsessed, it's going to be really hard to build a business that is as meaningful. One thing I wanted to touch on is you mentioned about the margins. And so from the outside in, some people say, have said momentous is one of the premium priced products in the vertical. But that's why, right, it's not purely for margins, it's because it's what it has to be to make this thing work.
Yeah. And the hope is, right, as we continue to scale and gain efficiencies, we gain margins and we can pass it on. Because the number one complaint we get is we're too damn expensive. And it's like, that's true, but we also, as a brand, have to communicate why. Right? Like the people like, well, I can go buy omegas from Costco and GNC, whatever, and they're a third of the price. And you're like, well, they probably have heavy metals in them, or the dosing is not correct. Like efficacious dosing and sourcing. It costs money.
And certifications. It's just like, hey, if you want to go buy a hamburger from McDonald's, it's so cheap and it does the job ish, right? But if you want to buy something that's really good, high quality, it's not going to cost buck 99, right? But we have to tell the consumer that. And we need to educate the consumer. But that also means we're not for everybody. And I have this fundamental belief our job as a business is not to create more life optimizers. Our job is to serve the life optimizers. People like Dr. Huberman and Tim Ferriss are creating more life optimizers.
And I believe life optimizers, our customers, can create more life optimizers. They can be the inspiration. Our job is not to convince them and create them convince them that they should be doing it. Our job is to help facilitate and I hope to someday give our customers the knowledge and power to help grow write this category. But if we want to democratize high performance, we have to do that with the people who are willing to listen and learn and lead them to the water, not go find some other animals and lead them to water. That's their job. Once we figure it out.
Yeah, Ramon, the other thing that I was going to say that was so interesting about the conversation is just like how you guys place a priority rather than going after something that's fully commoditized and spinning up a brand and like, okay, great, we've got a great DTC operation. You're doing the hard stuff first, right. In trust. Right. And trust wins out in a commoditized world because that's where the consumers are going to go. It's like, where do we find the trust? And the other thing is, sometimes all paths to business aren't linear, right? Like you were saying, when you're building that flywheel, you have to start with one thing, and that one thing leads to another thing, which leads to another thing that you may not see when you're just starting out. But in your guys'case, like you were saying in the beginning, you guys were selling almost like, as an enterprise, sort of almost an enterprise, pharmaceutical business, selling to defense contractors and to sports teams. And now, all of a sudden, once you're able to unlock that trust and unlock that flywheel, then your business was able to do something, like you said, go from two to 36 in, like, 18 months.
That's not something that any d to c business just does because they have a sick website. You know what I mean?
100%. Right. You got to be truly differentiated. Again, we have this differentiated, and then we found an opportunity to play in a really big TAm nutrition supplements. TAm is billions and billions, and it's fundamentally broken in my mind. But you can't. We could have just built another sick, fruity, pebbles flavored protein, right? And those companies are. They make good money, right? And they're out there and not knocking them at all.
We just took a different approach. We play in the protein space. We just said, we're going to build Ferrari fuel. We're not going to build pinto fuel, right. We're going to be really diligent in why we build it and how we build it. And I believe it becomes very hard to leave momentous when you can add true value and differentiation. The goal is have a consumer be like, why would I use anything else? Right? Yeah.
Ramon Berrios 01:00:07 - 01:00:13
That's how I buy momentous. I honestly just buy. What is it called? The brain supplement?
Brain drive.
Ramon Berrios 01:00:14 - 01:00:43
Brain drive. And I just buy it. I don't question it because I know I found my solution, and I'm just not going to waste any more time doing the research because I know this is probably the best product for people who are listening, and they're like, yeah, but, Jeff, I don't have a product that's patented or anything like that. What are some of the ways that people could differentiate? And what questions should they be asking to see how they can differentiate their business from everything else in their industry?
Yeah, I think to find truly patented products is incredibly unique. Right. And what I hope you heard in the story was like, we have a patented product, and it was the springboard. It's not what drives us revenue anymore. Right. We used it to get into the space that we're in, and we used it to interweave high performance and mission vision into the rest of the brand. And so I think there's so many different ways to differentiate. You can differentiate on service, you can differentiate on quality, you can differentiate on just overall experience that the customer gets or the positioning within the market.
Like even just like the gap, the use cases on that and all of those things. But it takes a while and it takes a long time to figure out product market fit.
Ramon Berrios 01:01:37 - 01:02:07
The positioning is something alone that can tedx your tam. Like, if you do it right, positioning is probably one of the best investments of time. As a strategic operator of like, where can I create a category here? And sure there's going to be the cost of education, but what you unlock on the other side, it makes the investment very worth it. So as we get towards the end here, I know you guys have raised some money. What are the plans? What's coming up next for offering?
Yeah, never raise money again. Number one plan. I think really what gets me most excited is we now have the ability to really build team in a meaningful way. I think we're at this unique stage that to go from 40 to 200 million in revenue sometime in the coming years, right. That's built on team, that's not built on an entrepreneur's back, right. And there's this big transition that myself and my co founder have to make as leaders in the business. And no longer do we get to make every decision and do everything. We have to build a really team and we have to inspire and equip those people while still living the mission and vision on there.
But I really believe it's all about in service of the customer. If we can continue to find better ways to serve the customer and serve their needs and give them real value, it's going to be really incredible. So continue to innovate in product, continue to live this mission and vision to democratize high performance. We're doing some incredible things with the House and Senate of the US Congress to really change some of that. At some of the work I'm most proud of, I think product, we've got some cool stuff on the product side coming out. Like we're going to continue to get better and just really the customer experience, how do you enrich it? How do you get pike? We got to get people into the right products at the right time and we got to educate why. And I think knowledge is power. And I think especially for our customer, for that, I think it's also just like we've had way more waves.
Like if we go to a surfing analogy, we've been in this crazy set of waves and we haven't been able to ride that many waves. Because we haven't had the right team, the right bandwidth. We haven't had capital, whatever it may be, or inventory or supply chain, and now it's not. Huberman and a guy like Rogan are like unicorns. There's like one of, well, what I.
Ramon Berrios 01:04:23 - 01:04:43
Was going to say is the good part about that, though, is that you have to develop the skill of being very selective about which wave you're going to take. And so that takes knowing which wave is a good wave. And now that you will have the positioning and the readiness to catch those waves, you did develop that skill of knowing what is a good way.
Well, not just that. I think the other thing you said, jeff, that I think is so important applies to any business, is like you were saying, when the pie is growing, grow it as big as you can, right? When the opportunity is there, clearly the market conditions. I know we were talking about Huberman, but I think what a lot of listeners may not even understand is, like, Huberman, just like maybe two and a half years ago, he published, like, episode one or something of his podcast. I remember listening to, literally his first episode, he had, like, less than 100,000 followers on Instagram. And it was just some like. And I listened with a friend. We're like, driving on a road trip to Vegas, and my friend's like, why the hell are you listening to this guy? And now he's massive, right? But in the same way, when the pie is growing, when things are growing, you have to capture that market.
But I think what you have to realize is you still fundamentally have to have a good business underneath it, right? Which means you have to have clear line of sight into margins. You have to understand where you get efficiencies from. Because if you build a giant pie and it's not sustainable, right, it's just an empty pie, just a crust. But I really believe we knew when we chose to not optimize for margin or profit, that there is a day we can. And scale helps get you that for sure. But also, when you go, you go.
You knew what you had, too, right?
And we know, like, oh, expediting production runs and doing all this.
Ramon Berrios 01:06:16 - 01:06:21
Did you ever have a thought of, like, am I crazy here? Am I a little under.
A lot of people? Like, how much do you want to order? Are you sure? Do you really think so? Our budget for this year, our forecast was our base case model, I think was 23 million, right? And we'll do 40. And I remember presenting 23 million, and they're like, you're out of your mind. I was like, oh, we're going to smash this. And they're like, you were out of your mind. And January 1 was like, cool run rates above our base case. Yeah, right. But that was part of it. And I think as being an operator, you get lucky sometimes.
And we got the right wave at the right time. And I'm like, but to get in that position was really hard. We paddled our ass off and we had to survive for a long time. When we merged the two companies together, we were both relatively flat businesses and we were flat for a whole year post merger. Right. Because it took so long.
Ramon Berrios 01:07:27 - 01:07:27
Wow.
Well, and it just goes to show also, you're telling us that seven months ago, you're like, what? Even was my website seven months ago? But this is years and years into the journey of your company. This isn't like an overnight thing. And even what you're telling me is the momentous that we see today. Doing 40 million a year is not even what you have in plan as you continue to scale this 100%.
Yeah, the space is huge and the playbook that everybody's following has been done and done and done again. And it's like, that is not the right playbook for. And I'm not talking about, I think brands like Element and AG have done an incredible job. I don't consider they're kind of in our category. They got singular products, very different, but dietary supplement as a whole, omegas, creatine, proteins, et cetera, it's just like the same playbook. Everybody's running the same playbook, right?
Ramon Berrios 01:08:27 - 01:08:32
When people wake up to this, they're not going to want to go back when everyone realizes it.
But the other thing is, I fundamentally don't believe people need to take five products. You might graduate into that, but most people just get them into one or two skus, maybe three that are impactful for them, and they do it consistently, they're going to have massive benefits. The problem with our category is the real problem with our category, and what you see is like, LTV is super low stickiness. There's no loyalty. People just bounce on in and out because retention is because nobody knows why they're taking, or they're like, oh, why am I taking this? My budy told me to take it. I don't remember what it does. And guess what? When you don't remember what it does or why you should take it, you just stop taking it and therefore it has no impact.
And there's a ton of ingredients and then you've got supplements that are bundled and supplements that are like individuals and then retailers too. They might just go the long tail and be like, I'm going to create a skew for every ingredient and it's.
Just going to be that, yeah, it's a complicated space and like most things, it's like 80 for 20 rule. The fact of the matter is there is a handful of products that actually can drive meaningful impact. Everything else around you near.
Ramon Berrios 01:09:51 - 01:10:08
I spoke with one of my good friends. He's like the biggest health freak of my health freaks of my circle of friends. And I asked him about, for example, ag. He's like, do your body can't process like 100 something sort of ingredients at once?
Do you agree with that?
Ramon Berrios 01:10:09 - 01:10:12
How many readings on average, do your products have?
For example, we have a lot of seaweed, but there are some that have 610 different ingredients. I just fundamentally don't believe in proprietary blends. I think it's deceiving. I think it's part of what's wrong with our market. I really respect ag and really respect what they've done. I don't know if ag today, if they were a star with 75 ingredients, that that would fly. I do think what they've done is create an immense amount of awareness around health and wellness and their product does do some good, right? I mean, it clearly does. It has great people behind it.
Now, does everything in that product work or is it efficacious doses? Probably not, but I think that is in a lot of cases. And I think what they've done is very good for society. I really do. And they are a massive, massive brand and I'm proud to kind of be in their ecosystem on that. So aag, love them to death. But I think, you know, go back to proprietary blends. It's just know, don't look behind the curtain. And it's like, that's not like, why do you need a proprietary energy blend, right? This shouldn't be secret.
And in my opinion, we as an industry use those things to hide it. And so it's like, it's okay to have blends of product. I'm not the biggest fan of blends because it's really hard to get the most efficacious dose or what the clinically backed dose is in blends. But it's okay to have a blend like a multi ingredient formulation. Totally okay. But especially when you're thinking about true dietary supplements, you want to have single ingredients so you can dose up and dose down, right? Because that's super important to be able to be an n of one. By that, I mean we're all unique and different, and our bodies do different things. And so when you have a blend, you don't know what's best for you, you don't know what's optimal.
And I think it's really cool when you can be like, oh, let me take out this, see what happens. Let me take out that and see what happens. Or let me add a little bit more example for me. My biggest thing is brain health. As a pro football player, I hit my head. I did six years at SC. I did four years in NFL. I was an offensive lineman.
I am scared to death about long term brain health. It is my biggest fear that I have that when I'm 70, I start losing it. I don't want to end up being like Joe Biden. I want to live as long as Joe Biden. What can I do? Omega are a great example. Omegas have a ton of clinical research behind brain health. Really high doses of omegas. And ours is a two surfing size, just pure, right? Tha EPA omegas, 800 milligrams of each.
I take four. I double dose because I know the implications of it. I'm also 240, right? Like, I'm a big man still and I have a big frame and I need different doses. Sometimes you don't want big doses of some things, and other times you do, right? Like, some things can be toxic in high doses or not as good for you or habit forming. Other things can't. Like Omega three s in higher doses. And it's going to hurt me.
Ramon Berrios 01:13:53 - 01:14:09
Brain drive is. So I tried a few brain enhancement products, and braindrive for me was the one that just didn't give me any headaches. I was trying some that I was getting a raging headache and it had too much caffeine or something. And I drink cold brew already.
Yeah.
Ramon Berrios 01:14:09 - 01:14:17
So I can modify these ingredients. And so what was the idea behind Braindrive?
Yeah, Braindrive was actually a product that was involved in the acquisition. So it was a pre putting the two companies together. It's a very well designed nootropic, super clean, and ingredients in the right ratios that I think are really impactful. The nootropic space is really noisy and loud, obviously. And I just think there's so much misinformation in there. And at the end of the day, the thing that works the most, like the best thing ever for cognition is caffeine. Caffeine freaking works. It's a drug, right? Like, stop.
And we don't obviously put caffeine in there. We do a true nootropic blend and it's been very good for us. Yeah. So, like, brain drive is something I use very rarely, but I use it for very specific reasons. Right. And it's like when I want to focus, have some clarity, do the benefits of it. It's really for me, but it was designed with some of the best minds in the space. And what's crazy is we sell a ton of it into pro and college sports and we don't sell it to the athlete.
The athletes aren't the ones using. It's all the coaching stuff. It's crazy. It's like one of those things like the coaches need more brain dry and then you're like, did you destroy?
Ramon Berrios 01:15:59 - 01:16:27
Yeah. Well, jeff, this was awesome. Thank you. Thank you for sharing with the audience the story behind momentous, everything about the product. It's motivating to see how obsessed you are with the mission and get to meet someone who's those products I consume. So we're excited to follow along the journey and see you guys hit that past that nine figure and continue seeing momentous growth.
Yeah. Thanks, guys.
Ramon Berrios 01:16:28 - 01:16:29
Thanks, Jeff.

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