Startup Showdown Winner Barcode Inspires Performance
It’s the new year, and most of us are assessing the quality of our fitness and nutrition. So in the spirit of timeliness, consider this: would you eat a candy bar while working out?
We’re guessing no. And yet, most of us don’t think twice about downing a traditional sports beverage, which can have as just much sugar in a single serving. If you’re wondering, that’s around 30 grams (more than two tablespoons). Even if you don’t mind intaking some sweetness while you sweat, you’d probably agree that the formula doesn’t sound all that healthy.
From SoFi Stadium in LA, Startup Showdown winner Barcode pitched a true fitness water alternative. Compared to the leading sports beverages, Barcode is low-calorie. It has 90% less sugar and 50% less sodium but 8x more vitamins and minerals, including ashwagandha, magnesium, and D3. Plus, it’s 100% plant-based and vegan.
Barcode is a hydration beverage packed with nothing but performance. That’s because the Barcode team knows a thing or two about the subject.
The Barcode Backstory
Co-founder and CEO Mubarak Malik spent ten years in the NBA as the Director of Performance with the New York Knicks (2013-2020) and Los Angeles Lakers (2021-2022) before starting the company. He’s recognized as a leading performance, strength, and conditioning coach for his work with professional athletes in the MLB and NBA. Mubarak earned advanced degrees and certifications in the space, including Certified Strength and Conditioning with Distinction. And publications like Strength Training for Basketball, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Sports Illustrated have featured him.
“I’m no stranger to hard work, and I’ve dedicated my life to the study of human performance. I left my career as the head of performance for the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers because I believe so strongly in providing better health options to make everyone, everywhere, perform their best. I know that my purpose is to make sure that everyone can realize the benefits of Barcode and not just the elite athletes I’ve served for over 20 years. ”
COO Adam J. Louras is a high performer on a different but relevant playing field. He’s a seasoned founder, serial entrepreneur, investment banker, and successful capital market investor. For more than 20 years before co-founding Barcode, Adam advised and built major global CPG brands.
And the brains behind the brand is Michelle Hayden. She grew up playing basketball, volleyball, and dancing, so she’s always understood the importance of recovery and caring for her body. Michelle knows how important it is to hydrate with a product that packs vitamins and minerals into a clean format free from unnecessary sugar. And she’s working to bring that message to the market.
Together, this dynamic trio has created a product that inspires people to take better care of themselves.
The Barcode Ethos
The genesis behind the name is the root word “code.” It works on two levels — one motivates the Barcode team and the other drives the athletes and consumers they serve.
For the Barcode team, “code” is a system of symbols used to spread secret information. They are determined to expose the secrets that fitness beverage brands hide, like extra sugar and missing vitamins and minerals. And they’re doing that by with a product that delivers on its promise. For consumers, “code” is purpose. It’s our inborn drive, the spirit that drives our path toward destiny. It’s genuine and pure inside.
A Win for Barcode is a Win for You
In November 2022, Barcode won Startup Showdown hosted by Panoramic Ventures, earning $120,000 in capital, mentorship, and momentum-building exposure. No surprise, this team plans to use the win…to work toward more wins. And with their experience in the fitness market, brand-building, and the CPG industry, it’s likely they’ll succeed.
Mubarak shared that the ultimate plan is to become the go-to fitness beverage in the US. They’re in the first steps to getting there. They are working to, “make sure that we build our brand correctly and prove to consumers that the liquid in our bottle is superior to anything that has been introduced to the market before.”
Like the product, the team is honest and true to their code.
At the moment, Barcode is building its narrative and getting the product into the hands and gym bags of people who value their health. Because their formula is “extremely clean,” they have permission to do that in retail markets like Erewhon and Whole Foods. Their target consumers shop in those stores because extremely rigorous product standards hone the product selection to only the purest offerings.
At the moment, females represent 60% of the Barcode consumer base. But the company is warmed up and fueled for growth. So if you’re one of the 23% of Americans who have set a goal to get healthier this year or you’re an athlete looking to level up your fuel, Barcode is an easy, tasty, clean way to win.
We asked the Barcode team why they would recommend Startup Showdown to other entrepreneurs, and here’s what they said:
“Absolutely! While the funding helps tremendously for the overall winner, everyone who participates can be a winner if they take advantage of the guidance, mentorship, and connections that the Startup Showdown provides. We were able to have meaningful conversations with over 20 investors, more than five professional athletes, and hopefully hundreds of future Barcode consumers.”