Sports & Active Nutrition Summit Start-up Star

Q&A: Glaxon on shaking up the sports and active nutrition category

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Image courtesy of Glaxon
© Image courtesy of Glaxon

Related tags Sports & Active Nutrition Summit USA Sports nutrition products start-up

Glaxon entered the market in 2019 with a small suite of sports nutrition supplements. Since then, the portfolio has grown to some 100 products, featuring space-themed branding and individual comic art for each label with innovative formulation concepts and first-to-market ingredients.

Here, Michael Bischoff, founder and CEO at Glaxon, discusses going deep on the science, intentionally targeting the skeptics, and new concepts in the works like a fat-burning thermogenic craft beer.

Glaxon will be featured as one of this year’s NutraIngredients-USA Start-up Stars​ at the upcoming Sports and Active Nutrition Summit (SANS)​ in San Diego, CA from Feb. 12 to 14.

NIU: How did Glaxon get its start? What need/opportunity did you see in the sports nutrition market?

MB: At the time, it was 2018.  We noticed a lot of saturation in the sports nutrition market with a lot of brands making remarkably similar formulas with a lack of true innovation.  We saw our opportunity to come in and shake up several different market categories by taking an approach that was deep in science that would hopefully change the way that both competitors and consumers thought about many product types from pre-workouts to protein.

NIU: Could you tell us how you have gone about selecting the ingredients in your formulations? Who formulates Glaxon products?

MB: It takes a village to come up with what we produce. I usually propose a product category and talk about what I specifically want to change about it.  Our chief science officer/formulator, Joey Savage then takes this idea and finds the practical ways that the end goal can be achieved through various cellular mechanisms, and somehow either through his current network or impeccable searching can find new or obscure ingredients that somehow manage to get the job done.  This is then vetted by the rest of our staff for flavor, functionality and effects to make sure that our consumers will enjoy how well they perform.

NIU: Who is the Glaxon target consumer?

MB: We make our products for the skeptics, the tough critics and overall industry fans.  Some would call our customers the “super-users” because of their dogmatic approach to what they think is efficacious yet are appreciative of the scientific nuances that we present.  We have done this with intention from the beginning in the hopes that if you can convince the skeptics, then they will become your most devoted consumers and will spread the word to those in their radius that they can influence.  So far that has worked, and perhaps sometimes to a disadvantage in reaching a wider audience amongst the entirety of the supplement space.

NIU: How has your brand/product portfolio grown since launch? What are your most popular products to date?

Michael Bischoff Glaxon
Glaxon Founder & CEO Michael Bischoff © Glaxon

MB: Glaxon initially launched with one product in the nootropic category, but when the company was founded, we had the vision of continuous improvement.  With this vision, it was our goal to be constantly improving product formulations in a constant phase of discontinuing and relaunching products on an almost annual basis with formulation improvements.  This could be because either new technology wasn’t previously available, or because our economies of scale had beneficial effects on our COGS which enabled us to give our customers more while maintaining the same levels of profitability.  

We have easily launched over 100 products since our inception in 2019 through product reformulations/updates, flavor extensions of any given SKU, limited editions, product line extensions and unreleased prototype products.  However, our main two products that seem to have taken the spotlight are our SuperGreens greens powder and our Astrolyte electrolyte—probably due to their flavor profiles.  Greens have been historically difficult to flavor, so SuperGreens coming to market allowed it to differentiate itself from competitors while providing more athlete-specific benefits outside of the traditional greens realm.  Astrolyte was an early entrant into hydration products within sports nutrition and its relatively low cost, high amount of servings and good flavor profiles enable consumers to easily check their hydration box with something enjoyable as well as economical.

NIU: What sets Glaxon apart from other sports nutrition brands on the market?

MB: The Glaxon brand stands out in three distinct categories: packaging, innovation and flavoring.  Our packaging is unique in the aspect that our products are mismatched by design.  You won’t find your typical streamlined brand with us.  Some of our label structure is conserved amongst each SKU, but we take the opportunity with each product to create a product identity with its unique art.  

With innovation, you’ll find many first-to-market ingredients within our brand and many formulation concepts that you won’t find with any of our competitors.  We take a precise approach with each formulation, elaborating on old science with new and exciting concepts.  Flavor is what hooks each user, and it is the most instantly gratifying part of the product experience.  We work with several flavor houses to create unique flavors that are memorable to the user and unreproducible by anyone else.

NIU: Are there new products/initiatives/formats in development?

MB: A lot of possibilities!  We’ve dabbled in various product categories showcased last year at our first GlaxCon event in Houston, TX.  There, we were able to share with the public prototypes of an innovative RTD energy drink concept with lower caffeine and more nootropics to support cognition.  We also debuted the concept of a low-calorie, thermogenic, fat-burning craft beer.  Then we also allowed our users to taste a “better for you” high protein cereal that featured an edible hydrophobic nano-coating that extends the bowl life of cereal and keeps it from getting soggy in milk.  We also have concepts of savory protein bars, next-generation probiotics and some potential skincare applications that we’re still working on.  What’s exactly next is hard to say, but we certainly have a lot of projects going on in the background.

NIU: Where do you see the most opportunity/room for innovation in the sports and active nutrition category?

MB: The weight management category has certainly waned lately in terms of encapsulated formulations with more of a shift toward beverages.  However, the increasing popularity of GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic shows that there’s still a lot of interest in weight management, but in a new context of this mechanism.  We at Glaxon are always interested in understanding these new mechanisms and methodologies to see ways of achieving the same result, weight management in this example, but to do it from a new perspective.  The same can be said for underutilized mechanisms of muscle growth, the prevention of muscle protein breakdown and accelerating the muscle repair process.  Saturation within the sports nutrition category in this case can sometimes be a good thing because it shows us where the “beaten path” already exists and how we should take on the burden of finding new paths to the same goals within each category.

NIU: What Glaxon accomplishment are you most proud of to date?

MB: This would be the first use of an ingredient identified by artificial intelligence in a sports nutrition product.  We had been previously following the company Nuritas since their original collaboration with BASF for PeptAide, which never really saw any commercialization, and reached out initially because we thought that this was a compelling approach to R&D in nutritional products.  We took notice that they were working on a product for muscle growth called PeptiStrong, which at the time had some in vitro​ data and one rodent study but the mechanisms of action were compelling.  Since the material was already GRAS, we decided that we would take a risk and go ahead and develop a product around the PeptiStrong ingredient.  This wasn’t well received initially, by competitors or consumers because of the lack of data, but after two subsequent human trials, PeptiStrong solidified its place in the market as the muscle breakdown blocking, muscle building, myostatin diminishing non-hormonal anabolic that it is today.  This launch and the following human trials further bolstered the innovative reputation of Glaxon, and since that time the popularity of the ingredient PeptiStrong has been increasing significantly in sports nutrition.

Sports & Active Nutrition Summit

The Sports & Active Nutrition Summit will be held in San Diego from Feb. 12-14. The Start-up Stars will present their companies, and industry leaders will discuss topics including the state of the market, the modern sports nutrition consumer, women’s health, disruptive tech, the microbiome, recovery and adaptation, regulatory developments and more. For more information and to register, please visit the Sports & Active Nutrition Summit-USA​ page.

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