Gainful Raises $7.5 Million In Series A Funding To Expand Personalized Sports Nutrition Business

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Personalized sports nutrition company Gainful has raised a $7.5 million series A funding after seeing its revenues more than double over the past year.

The funding round was co-led by BrandProject and Courtside Ventures with additional participations by AF Ventures, Round 13 Capital, Barrel Ventures, and the founder of global sports agency Polaris Sports.

Gainful, which recently added a hydration drink mixes line to its core protein portfolio, extracts customer data regarding their exercise habits, dietary preferences, and fitness goals through online personalization quizzes and proprietary algorithm, and then offers them tailored products via subscription. 

Eric Wu notes how he co-founded the company with his long-time friend Jahaan Ansari out of their shared confusion and skepticism about the existing supplements on the market, citing the lack of customization has crippled consumers’ confidence along their health journey.

“You’re going to be overlooking huge parts of the market if you’re applying a one-size-fits-all approach,” Wu recently told me. “Our goal is not to create professional nutrition for elite athletes, but to create the same level of personalization and attention to detail [through our products], and make them available to everyone.”

Gainful has previously been incubated through Y Combinator in 2018, and raised their seed round by the end of the year. The company currently also offers its subscribers free one-on-one access to their own licensed dietitians and nutritionists.

Partner at Courtside Ventures, Deepen Parikh, believes Gainful sits at the cross section of two major consumer trends — the broadening definition of an athlete, and accessibility to true personalization of ingredients and products that was only available at premium prices before. 

“We’re thrilled to be co-leading the latest round in Gainful,” Parikh said in a statement. “The incredible team at Gainful has and continues to dispel the notion that sports nutrition products are only for those people who live in the gym. 

“Rather, they are focused on the everyday fitness enthusiasts who want to take something that helps them achieve their goals but is personalized specifically for them.”

More importantly, Gainful has been able to capitalize on some of the most popular consumer trends, including plant-based food that is currently valued at $21.18 billion globally.

Wu noted how plant-based options are not only emerging within the broader CPG sector, but also in the personalized nutrition category, which is expected to reach new heights by 2025 with an estimated $16.4 billion sales, according to data from Markets And Markets.

“Plant-base is definitely huge,” he said. “We do have a lot of customers, who opt into having purely plant-based products: our hydration product is plant-based, and we have blends that source from pea protein and brown rice protein.”

The Gainful team has outlined what they believe a “very aggressive roadmap” for 2021 with new flavors of core products and more complimentary products expected to launch with the support from their recently raised capital.

“Suffice to say we’re targeting plenty more growth than we saw between 2019 and 2020, and that’s going to be bolstered by this incredible marketing and brand activations,” Wu said. 

“I really think this is Gainful’s year. If you haven’t heard about us yet, you’re going to hear about us soon.”

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