Bulletproof’s coffee with butter isn’t just a crazy diet fad — it’s now a venture-backed business.
Bulletproof, the company behind the butter coffee and a line of other biohacking products, is expanding into a line of cafés and a new product, FatWater.
Its first Starbucks-like café will open in Santa Monica, serving up the trademark Bulletproof coffee. Customers can order the traditional blend of coffee, butter and its patented XCT oil (similar to coconut oil) — or they can add-on “stacks” of other supplements to give the coffee a boost.
A “black hat coffee hacker” will be on hand to help customers choose their coffee and coach them about the Bulletproof philosophy, said its CEO and founder Dave Asprey.
“The goal is not to be the next Starbucks. The goal is to take this idea of biohacking and bring it to people in a way that they can feel it and bring it into their daily habits. It’s basically an upgrade to what you do in the morning,” Asprey said.
Biohacking is a DIY-movement springing up in Silicon Valley in which people expirment with various supplements or devices that they believe lead to increased productivity, mental acuity and other benefits.
A well-known biohacker in Silicon Valley, Asprey starts his day with a cup of Bulletproof coffee, often mixed with some herbs. He takes a variety of nootropics — including some that aren’t even legal in the U.S. — that he says increases oxygen to his brain. He follows that with a handful of other supplements. In January 2015, he estimated that he had spent $US300,000 in 15 years to biohack his life.
Asprey is aware that not every person who tries Bulletproof coffee will take it to the same level as he has. By opening a coffee shop though, there’s an opportunity for coffee to be a “gateway” for anyone to be empowered to change how they feel or think, he said.
Turning biohacking into a business is not as insane as it may sound when you look at it who is backing it and why. Trinity Ventures, who led the $US9 million round, is an investor in Starbucks, Jamba Juice and Fitbit.
Bulletproof, it turns out, may be the hybrid of all three.
“This movement towards having control of your own health and well-being is not a fad,” said Gus Tai, a partner at Trinity Ventures who is joining the board of the company. “Bulletproof’s core philosophy is empowering people to take control of their own health and well-being to reach the level of mental acuity and performance that they’re desiring.”
The self-improvement movement has been around for decades, Tai said. Its part of the reason devices like the Fitbit, and the broader category of “wearables” and fitness trackers, have seen such success.
As the average consumer want to learn more about their health, they’re going to want to change it, and Asprey wants to make it easier by letting people walk into a Bulletproof café and feel the difference, he said. The storefronts will not only focus on coffee, but will also sell the company’s collagen bars and its newest product, FATwater — a water infused with oils that Asprey said is supposed to “hack” the body’s hydration.
“The easiest way to show someone the power of this is to say ‘hey, let’s go in and try it one time,” Asprey said. “Most of us are putting coffee in our bodies, so it’s a great place to start, but it’s a different vision than another coffee shop.”