Guy Hacking: From mum’s kitchen to fuelling 60,000 monthly workouts

This is what they had to say

We speak to TRIBE and they tell us of their success in raising a staggering £1m in just four days!

VITAL STATISTICS

  • Company:  TRIBE
  • What it does, in a sentence:  Natural performance fuel tailored to your training
  • Founded: August 2015, London
  • Founder/s:  Guy Hacking, Tom Stancliffe, Rob Martineau
  • Size of team: 7
  • Your name and role:  Guy Hacking, Co-Founder

THE NEED-TO-KNOW

What problem are you trying to solve?

The sports nutrition market is broken. The products are highly refined and full of junk. The brands alienate us everyday athletes and there is a lack of understanding of what to eat and when to eat it.

At TRIBE we make performance nutrition from 100 per cent natural wholefoods. We tailor these products to meet your specific training needs and we lead events for everybody from our community to come together and push themselves.

How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?

In 2016 the UK market for sports nutrition and energy bars was £1.1bn. It is growing at >20 per cent year on year and is set to exceed £2bn by 2020. Our target is to have revenues in excess of £20m by 2020. Spectacular growth for a start-up but still only 1 per cent of the addressable market.

How do you make money?

We sell our TRIBE nutrition online to our customers via subscription and one-off ecommerce. We have just raised over £1m and plan to develop a retail offering in the next few months so that we become a full multi-channel business.

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this? 

The 3 founders – myself, Rob Martineau and Tom Stancliffe – all have backgrounds in private equity and law. Having spent years being frustrated consumers of the existing sports nutrition we understand our customers’ pain points. We use this insight and our relentless hard work to solve our customers’ problems.

Who’s bankrolling you?

We invested our own money to get TRIBE off the ground. We have since been backed by a fantastic collection of investors including founders of PE funds, ex-industry experts, other business founders who have exited their businesses and other value-add investors.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

Keep your ears and eyes open and be authentic. There is opportunity everywhere. We met one of the founders of ustwo – one of our lead investors and digital design giants – at a pop up we had in Old Street. Six month later they led our 2nd Round and now house us on the Adventures floor of their office. This has led onto other investors and opportunities.

What do you believe the key to growing this business is? 

We are so proud of the quality of our products and our direct-to-consumer model. The key to growth is getting our products in customers’ hands. The quality of our products will do the talking.

What metrics do you look at every day?

We look at new customers acquired per day as the key metric. Then retention and on a cohort-by-cohort basis. We measure this as the percent of active customers at end of month 1 and end of month 3.

What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Be decisive. Move fast. Test. Iterate. Improve.

What’s been your biggest mistake so far? 

We launched with a range of superfood powders. These are products that need explanations of how/when to use, which we did not provide. This ended up alienating some of our early customers and leading to stock wastage. We took the hit and liquidated that stock at a financial loss… but better that than a poor customer experience. 

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead? 

People are leading more active lifestyles and getting more sophisticated in how they train. However, nutrition lags way behind. Everybody wants to perform better in their training and daily life. We therefore see performance nutrition moving into the mainstream as people look for results. We think technology will also play an increasingly important role to help close the education gap to ensure people eat the right things at the right time.

Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?

Sanctus.io – making people work on their mental health like they do on their physical health

26 Grains – their food is delicious and made with the same principles as we have of only using high quality natural ingredients. Plus, they used to host our run clubs so we know them well!

Gather – bringing machine learning and AI to the people.

 

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