Nutrition supplement manufacturers, beware: Raleigh-based BOA Nutrition’s nutrient-propellent technology looks to bring next-level performance to professional athletes and gym rats alike.
BOA President and CEO—and North Carolina entrepreneurial vet—Jon Pritchett said the product’s use of oxygen as both a vessel and an absorption tool is the result of years of tinkering in the hands of Hank Durschlag, the company’s Founder, Chief Innovation Officer and scientific mastermind.
In late 2020, the company raised $2.25 million in a seed round to develop and produce its first product, ENDURE, which quickly replaces sodium for high-performance athletes alongside other nutrients that aid absorption. The sodium is delivered via a high-powered blast of oxygen from a small canister—150 mg of sodium per blast.
In email correspondence, Durschlag wrote that this oxygen delivery method—known as a “blast of optimized actives,” hence the BOA name—allows for many potential products that can solve nutritional problems for all kinds of athletes.
“The nutrients are based on the problem the athlete is trying to address,” Durschlag wrote. “For example, BOA FUEL will deliver vitamins and carbs for energy. In the case of ENDURE, our clinically proven ingredients help with rapid absorption. Athletes in full exertion need sodium to pull fluid into their muscles and cells, which is very important in hydration.”
The potential in BOA’s novel nutrient delivery was enough to lure Pritchett back to his home state, and to re-connect the seasoned entrepreneur with his friend Durschlag. An idea this remarkable, Pritchett said, created consensus between company leadership, investors and partners.
“What was unique about this one, is that we both think it’s a big opportunity and something you could spend years building,” Pritchett said. “It’s not, you know, a quick opportunity to start something and then sell it. And so, we thought it was important to get the right team together and the right investors—that’s critical.”
Recently, BOA announced its first major partnership, an agreement with USA Triathlon. This reflects the company’s initial priority market—endurance sports—where Pritchett said ENDURE’s reviews are rave.
“We took our first developed product prototypes and started getting some trials, and the response was fantastic—I mean, way beyond what we thought,” Pritchett said. “It turns out that it’s sort of habit-forming, and it tastes good. Everybody that was using it said, ‘I need more, how do I get more?'”
Covid-19 presented a unique opportunity for BOA even amid widespread gym closure and modified sports events, as many amateur athletes used extra free time to take their craft more seriously.
The pandemic has also presented challenges for the fledgling company, including a team that is presently spread out across North Carolina. But amid a successful seed round, a potential Series A funding round expected in early 2022 and additional partnerships and products in the works, Pritchett is confident in BOA. By the end of next year, he hopes to see BOA cans at the race course, the weight rack and beyond.
“It’s sort of a proof case, if you will, within that niche of that market,” Pritchett said. “Then that allows us to go to all other sports and say, if it works within this triathlete community, it will work in you name it: tennis, soccer, football, whatever.”