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CEO Corner: Marc Washington’s Supergut Takes a Science-Based Approach to Gut Health

CEO Corner: Marc Washington’s Supergut Takes a Science-Based Approach to Gut Health

Marc Washington smiling
Athletech spoke to Marc Washington, Founder & CEO of Supergut, an innovative gut nutrition company on a mission to create a healthier world through the science of the gut microbiome. Supergut has a patented line of shakes, bars, and fiber mix to promote gut health.

Supergut empowers people to regain control of their health from the inside-out using their patented line of shakes, bars, and fiber mix to promote a healthier gut microbiome. Marc Washington, the Founder & CEO of Supergut, is on a mission to improve the body’s natural ability to manage blood sugar, satisfy hunger, strengthen immunity, and more. Athletech spoke with Washington about his inspiration for founding the company, his advice for entrepreneurs, and his future plans for Supergut.

ATN: What inspired you to get started?

MW: My entrepreneurial journey started later than most entrepreneurs. I’ve been more of an executive throughout my career. But the space of health and wellness has been a large part of my pathway. It’s my own personal passion and something that I just love. I’m really inspired by helping other people live healthier. But I’ve always done that previously in larger organizations, typically as the right hand to the entrepreneur, helping them scale their business and their visions at scale.

I was taking notes over time and working with very successful entrepreneurs. There’s a lot that I learned along the way. And I discovered many things I would do differently.

It all came together a couple of years ago when stepping back kind of career-wise—thinking of what I want to do, what I want my impact to be in the world. I had this head-meets-heart moment where I had both the things I had done over time and the desire to do something differently. I felt there was a large unmet need in the marketplace.

My motivation also comes from a personal story: my sister was my motivation for starting a company as an entrepreneur. Her name was Monica and she lived with multiple metabolic diseases: diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. She tragically passed away far too young. It’s something that really shook me to my core, and amplified this fire that had been building in me to do something about it, to make a mark and to help people. I said to myself, if not me, then who, if not now, then when?

So, three-and-a-half years ago, when I started this company, I had the aspiration of really impacting health in a science-based way. I also wanted to do so in an accessible way, to make it really easy for people to live healthier.

ATN: Can you expand on the scientific process of developing products?

MW: I think about our business as: on one axis, science-based efficacy, and the other, accessibility, so taste and convenience.

The sweet spot is maximizing the combination of those two. My very first hire was a PhD food scientist that worked for me at a company that I used to be President/COO of called Beachbody.

We really dove into the research. And in particular, the angle and the aspect that we have honed in on is around the gut microbiome. It’s a leading topic and many people are becoming more and more familiar with the fact that your gut really is your control center for health. It was an awakening to see just how profound the science of the gut microbiome is, and how much we know now about the gut that we didn’t know before, and also how we know that there are ways or things that we can do to work with your gut, to modulate it, to point you in a healthier direction.

We poured through hundreds of clinical research studies and really honed in on a unique class of nutrients empowered by a class of fibers called resistant starch that are actually naturally available but just very, very limited in the Western diet. It helps modulate your gut and actually drives health outcomes like better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, curbing cravings and managing weight and a plethora of other health benefits, as well.

That’s what led us down this path of formulating our own proprietary blend that includes resistant starch and other prebiotic fibers and then formulating that into tasty food products.

We’ve since gone on and taken it to the next level and built on the science. So not just taking the existing evidence, but actually have gone out, which is also very rare, and conducted a gold-standard clinical trial on our products.

So, we’re actually not just working on the existing body of science, but we are contributing to that body of science, as well, through our own primary clinical study.

ATN: What are your short- and long-term goals?

MW: Recently, we just went through product expansion, as we want to help people transform their health through food as a functional food company that can create different products that work for different people in different use cases.

So, we expanded from shakes into other formats, including bars, which is the same concept, the same kind of resistance starch fiber blend, but in a bar format, and they’re delicious. We also offer that same proprietary fiber mix as a standalone powder as well, which is unflavored and unsweetened. We want to give people different flexibility and convenience to get these nutrients into their diet in a consistent basis. We obviously have more plans in the works about kinds of additional product expansion.

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In addition to providing products, our aspiration is to provide content, as well, that can help close some of the information gap about gut health. We are investing pretty heavily in a content engine to produce and put out a lot of educational, informative, and engaging content to help close some of the education gap around gut health. Even if you never knew about gut health, you’re interested in your metabolism, aren’t you? You’re interested in energy and immunity, right?

We think that is doing a benefit for society overall, raising awareness and hopefully by doing so, it also raises awareness and consideration for Supergut, as one of the solutions to help kind of tap into that science of gut health.

ATN: What motivates you?

MW: My North Star is impacting health results. Our culture feeds on actually delivering the promise and hearing about customers telling us that we have helped them make a change in their health for the better. This entrepreneurship game is not easy. But then I’ll go into our community because we have a really vibrant and thriving, you know, Supergut community, and I’ll read some of the posts saying: ‘I used to have you know, significant digestive issues and now I’m much more regular,’ or ‘I used to have to take diabetes drugs and my doctors actually allowed me to get off them because I’m in control now. That re-energizes me. I’m ready to attack the day when I see that. So yeah, I fundamentally care about people getting healthier.

Even as a businessman, a lot of people will start with financial metrics. Those are incredibly important and I pay a lot of attention to them as well, but I lead with results. And I believe that if we consistently can deliver people results at scale, then our revenue and our earnings and everything else will follow as a result.

ATN: Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?

MW: Make sure that whatever you’re doing, don’t take the hammer-looking-for-a-nail approach. Start from the end consumer—what problem are you solving? Then, figure out kind of what it is that you are doing or can create that can solve a problem that needs to be solved in the world, versus the other way around. Next, this entrepreneurship game is not for everybody. I’d say, before jumping in: hold on, take a beat, take a breath, and make sure that it’s something you’re willing to invest in because it’s a true investment, not just of years, but of your mindset. The last thing I’ll say is to make sure it’s something you truly fundamentally care about.

When you’re doing something that you really don’t care about, if you’re just selling a widget and you know, that next wall that comes in front of you, you might not have the energy, enthusiasm to climb that wall as much as if it were something you truly fundamentally cared about, right?

When you believe that the world needs what you’re creating and you really care about getting it out there, that gives you the energy to actually climb the walls and get back up again when you get punched. It gives you a chance at making your entrepreneurial ventures successful.

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