If you had asked Vitaminwater co-founder Mike Repole a few years ago if he’d anytime acknowledgment to the cooler industry, he would’ve responded with a angry “no.”
Well, that acutely didn’t stick. Fast advanced to 2015, and Repole’s latest venture, BodyArmor, a sports alcohol claiming it uses a convalescent compound than its competitors, is assertive to acquire $100 actor in retail revenues for the year. It additionally has ablaze amateur backers, including NBA athletic Kobe Bryant as its No. 3 investor, and NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, who asked to get complex with the aggregation because he admired the alcohol so much.
BodyArmor isn’t abashed by PepsiCo-owned Gatorade, which controls an cutting majority of the $8 billion sports alcohol market. “I anticipate Gatorade is an iconic brand,” says Repole. At the aforementioned time, Repole suggests that the alcohol is accomplished its prime. “To me, it sounds awe-inspiring that a casting I grew up with 35 years ago is the aforementioned casting that my kids abound up with. It doesn’t accomplish sense.”
That cerebration partly aggressive a video business advance BodyArmor appear on Tuesday. The gist: Gatorade and added sports drinks aren’t with the times, nutritionally speaking. But BodyArmor, naturally, is.
BodyArmor, which Repole founded with Fuze Cooler architect Lance Collins, has alveolate a almanac of its own back its 2011 launch. Repole tells Fortune that it’s currently the alone sports alcohol startup to still be blame afterwards four years back its founding, as Gatorade has historically ashamed the antagonism aural two. He estimates that his beginning company, which is headquartered in Queens, New York and employs over 100 full-time workers, holds about 1% of the sports cooler market. Repole is assured that BodyArmor will accretion added acceptance amid shoppers as soda sales abide to abatement and convalescent options accretion ground.
“After 50 years, no one has been able to get to this stage,” says Repole. “Our best affair activity for us is the casting and how it’s aing with athletes and how it’s aing with moms.”
BodyArmor is fabricated of 10% attic baptize and what it touts as all-natural ingredients, including 15mg of sodium, 300mp of potassium, and a bulk of vitamins. Compare that to a accepted confined of Gatorade, which contains 250mg of sodium, 65mg of potassium, and no “significant source” of vitamins, according to its diet label.
While BodyArmor claims that added sports drinks out there aren’t healthy, others beg to differ. A few years ago, Gatorade removed aerial fructose blah abstract from its recipe, substituting the amoroso with a added accustomed variant, says John Sicher of Cooler Digest. Sicher additionally explains that there are additionally abundant varieties of Gatorade for altered occasions.
Repole, 46, was built-in in Queens, New York and advised sports business in college. At 29 years old, he started a bottled baptize aggregation with Darius Bikoff alleged Glacéau. That venture’s capital product, Vitaminwater, took off and was eventually awash to Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion.
Glacéau’s advisers profited amply from the deal, as The New York Times appear in 2011:
Repole, the coach, took affliction of his players. Glacéau’s 600 advisers all had banal options: 50 of them cashed out with added than $1 million, accession 150 with $500,000, and 200 with added than $100,000.
Repole is addicted of speaking in sports metaphors. “I appetite to win at the accomplished akin in business and beleaguer myself with bodies who accept the aforementioned passion, focus, and acuteness as myself,” he says.
Part of Repole’s role as “chief coach” at BodyArmor, it seems, is recruiting an all-star casting of athletes who aren’t paid to endorse the artefact but are instead arrive to booty an disinterestedness pale in the company. Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, bare no adulation to get involved. In fact, he tells Fortune that during his assignment on Stanford University’s football team, he would alcohol the artefact consistently back it was abounding in the fridge during his inferior year. “It sounds a little to be acceptable true,” Luck admits. He capital to apprentice how he could assurance on to the business. “It was one of those things back I angry professional, [I asked] how does it assignment back you’re a pro?” He accomplished out to his agent: “He fabricated the calls,” says Luck.
Other BodyArmor broker athletes accommodate Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, Mike Trout of the L.A. Angels, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, and Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock.
Luck says he appreciates that BodyArmor includes the athletes in their business decisions. “They’ve been actual accessible about their cardinal sales and marketing,” explains Luck. “They capital a lot of ascribe from us…. The association at BodyArmor acknowledge the opinions of the athletes, and I anticipate it’s accurate for us to be involved.”
Repole is adventurous to advance Gatorade for afraid with what he claims is the aforementioned recipe, although that isn’t the case. In accession to alteration the amoroso in its recipe, Gatorade additionally removed a arguable additive alleged brominated vegetable oil from its articles in 2013, acknowledgment to a address launched by a teenager. At the time, Gatorade said that it was removing the vegetable oil due to customer appeal and not for bloom concerns. The aggregation didn’t acknowledge to a appeal for animadversion for this story.
But Repole does accord Gatorade acclaim for afraid about for over bristles decades and counting. BodyArmor, he says, wants to “hydrate athletes for the aing 50 years” so they’ll accept covered athletes “for 100 years together,” he says, with humor.
Sicher of Cooler Digest says that BodyArmor has its assignment cut out for itself if it absolutely affairs to booty on Gatorade. “Competing adjoin Gatorade would crave abysmal pockets, ablaze branding, and lots of patience, and the likelihood of success alike again is questionable,” he says. “Gatorade is one of the best able brands in not aloof the cooler industry but in the U.S.” Sicher explained that while No. 2 sports alcohol Powerade “ramped up a few years ago,” it’s currently underperforming, giving Gatorade alike added power.
Repole seems to accept that charge for patience. While the aggregation has enjoyed a 210% addition in sales so far in 2015 over aftermost year, he says he is arena the continued game. “I anticipate we’re on to article big,” he says. “It’s a chase not a sprint.”
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