'The spike in searches for immunity, stress relief, and sleep are off the charts'

Bulletproof raises $13m: 'Searches for immunity, stress relief, and sleep are off the charts'

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bulletproof will be transitioning to new branding later this year, which will still feature its iconic orange color, said CEO Larry Bodner. Photo: Bulletproof
Bulletproof will be transitioning to new branding later this year, which will still feature its iconic orange color, said CEO Larry Bodner. Photo: Bulletproof

Related tags: Bulletproof, Investment

Bulletproof has closed a $13m capital raise led by new investors, Beliv and Rocana Ventures, and existing investors, CAVU Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures, to fuel the brand's omnichannel vision of "being present where the consumer finds it most efficient to shop," said CEO Larry Bodner.

Bulletproof​, which has been credited for starting the keto-friendly 'butter coffee' health craze when the company launched in 2013 as a health and nutrition blog founded by David Asprey, has since grown into an integrated lifestyle nutrition brand selling supplements, protein powders and bars, and 'clean' coffee products featuring MCT oil at thousands of retailer locations.

Bodner, who became CEO of the company in September 2019​, said that landing the $13m strategic investment was the result of building an engaged team over the past year.

"My primary focus has been the team. When I arrived, things weren’t perfect. Part of being successful as an enterprise is having an engaged employee base. And we did the classic Gallup survey and found that the employee base wasn’t as engaged as they could’ve been, and to me that was the first thing that had to get fixed,"​ Bodner told FoodNavigator-USA.

Over the past year, Bodner said the company was able to build a high level of engagement across the business, and most importantly, maintain that engagement even as the its entire workforce switched to remote working at the end of February. 

"When I think about being omnichannel, it’s about having a great team, listening, and executing with them. Through the team, we’ve achieved some great results like this strategic investment."

Self-care takes center stage

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed several health trends into the spotlight, which the company has been able to capitalize on, said Bodner.

"Consumers are looking for more solutions for immunity, stress relief, and energy/sleep – and that’s right where we sit,"​ he added.

According to Bodner, the firm's supplements, protein powder, and coffee products have been selling strongly as consumers seek products that fit into their evolving day-to-day routines. Conversely, the brand's protein bar business has been weaker since consumers are less 'on-the-go' than they have been since the pandemic hit. 

With the recent investment, Bodner said the company can execute its updated omnichannel strategy, which relies more heavily on its online business where consumers are spending more time researching and investigating products that meet their current health priorities.

"You want to be present where the consumer finds it most efficient to shop,"​ said Bodner.

'​The spike in searches for immunity, stress relief, and sleep are off the charts'

He added: "Consumers are searching for more information to meet their needs. If you look at any search data, the spike in searches for immunity, stress relief, and sleep are off the charts. And we think those are sticky trends."

In response, the company is leveraging its online presence and website to provide consumers with the health and nutrition guidance they're searching for by providing extensive information on its full line of products.

"You can’t really explain everything on the label, but you can explain a lot more on the website in terms of what the benefits are. I think that is where the consumer is going from an omnichannel standpoint, and frankly it’s a lot more efficient for them to shop online at their leisure and have it delivered to their homes," ​noted Bodner. 

To ensure consumers are getting the information they need about Bulletproof products, the company has relaunched its brand imagery with a bolder design and call outs on the label "to make it easier for the consumer to see the benefits of the brand," ​added Bodner. 

"Our goal is to motivate consumers. We have to make easy for consumer to understand what the product benefits are."

'Our pipeline is quite full with what we’re going to do'

Next month, Bulletproof will be expanding distribution of its new collagen chocolate enrobed bars, which are exclusive to Whole Foods stores, to more retailers. The brand will also be relaunching its ready-to-drink Bulletproof coffee, and transitioning from a larger resealable Tetra Pak to a canned product that will also be available in October, said Bodner.

New product innovation launches in adjacent categories -- which Bodner could not share the details of at the time of this interview -- will be hitting stores shelves in late 2020 and early 2021, he said. 

"Our pipeline is quite full​." 

Old Packaging (left), New Packaging (right)

Bulletproof_new

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