Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

Endurance sports startup Rawvelo opens seed funding for UK expansion

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Sports nutrition Nutrition Sports drinks Sports gels Startup company Funding

The organic and vegan UK startup is primed to launch a line of energy gels and pre-mix hydration drinks and has opened a seed funding round to raise capital to expand.

Following a Kickstarter campaign in 2017​, Rawvelo launched itself onto the UK market with a line of nut-based energy bars in January this year, available online and in a number of independent specialty stores and wholesale distributor Wholegood. The bars, made using Deglet Noor dates, ground almonds and walnuts each contain just under 200 kcals; around 24g carbs and 4-5g protein and specifically target endurance.

Jason Evans, co-founder of Rawvelo, said the company is now primed to launch a line of energy gels this week, is finalising the formulation for a range of pre-mix hydration drinks and will start protein product development next month.


“Our ideal situation is that by the time we roll around to late spring, next year, when the endurance sports market kind of really picks up, that we would have all of the product lines available – the energy products, hydration drink, proteinbars and protein drink,” ​Evans told NutraIngredients.

Rawvelo has now kickstarted a one-month seed funding round with the view to raising between £600-750K (€670-837k), he said, to fund business plans such as new product development, key hires and marketing.

He said the company will continue to stay focused on the UK market with the view of European expansion in the first-quarter of 2020.

A full endurance offering

Evans said Rawvelo's “uniquely sports-focused” ​50g carbohydrate-dense gel sachets will come in three flavours: passionfruit and coconut; blood orange; and blueberry and hibiscus, which also contains 50mg of caffeine. The gels are made using juice concentrates, organic rice syrup and organic coconut sugar and manufactured using a high-pressured pasteurization technique for a preservative-free shelf life.

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“They're designed to be used during reasonably intense exercise; when you can't really eat or have gone past the point of being able to eat,”​ he said.

Rawvelo is also just finalising its hydration pre-mix drink formulations, made using freeze-dried fruit powders and organic coconut water powder as the primary source of electrolytes. The drink mix will give the brand a complete range for endurance athletes, Evans said, importantly providing energy and hydration separately.

The majority of pre-mix endurance drinks on the market promoted energy and hydration in combination, he said, but Rawvelo believes and has collated evidence to suggest these two functions are best separated. “The main reason is the body can't absorb all the electrolytes if there's too much carbohydrate. ...You need a balance of the two.”

Hemp and pea protein R&D

Evans said Rawvelo will also eventually introduce protein bars and drink mixes to its range that will be “quite key”​ in specialist sports for recovery, but also cross over into the whole foods space as a meal replacement or diet aid snack.

“Obviously, the gels themselves wouldn't cross over but definitely the energy bars, protein bars and protein drink mixes, which are all vegan, we see as being a good fit.”

Rawvelo will start development of its protein products in the coming weeks and will likely use a blend of vegan sources, ideally pea and hemp Evans said, the latter of which contains all the essential amino acids.

“We're quite firm believers in hemp being a very, very good source of vegan protein but undoubtably it will be a blend. Pea protein is also one we think works well. ...With pea protein and even more so hemp protein, it's about getting the balance and masking right because they do have quite strong flavours.”

Vegan, organic boom

Importantly, all of Rawvelo's NPD will continue to be organic and vegan, Evans said – two trends that are becoming increasingly important in the market.

“I think the two things that are picking up huge interest, not just in sports nutrition but mainstream, are organic and vegan. It feels that there is some synchronicity that we've hit the market at the right time,” ​he said.

UK-based health food giant Holland & Barrett recently announced its plans​ to launch its first ever standalone vegan store in light of rising consumer demand and interest.

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