Eat the Bear, a protein powder startup based in Charlotte, has been rapidly expanding since its 2011 founding.
The company was born out of founder and CEO Jude Colangelo’s idea for a protein powder that was clean and effective, high in protein but low in calories and completely free of sugar — and that actually tasted good. He presented a cinnamon bun-flavored powder to his friends and family, and the business snowballed.
The products, which now include flavors like vanilla, chocolate and chocolate peanut butter, are available online (where they have a rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon) and in hundreds of stores across the U.S.
The company, which creates products in two categories -ETB Naturally and Sports Performance – saw $1 million in sales last year and is expected to hit $4 million by the end of 2016.
Long story short, ETB shows no signs of stopping and has officially inked a multi-year endorsement deal with Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who uses the protein powder as part of his nutrition plan regularly.
The three-year endorsement agreement will involve Kuechly not just taking on an equity position within the company, but also a seat on the board of directors and a place within ETB’s advertisements and commercial signage. He’ll also be the face, inspiration and engineer of a slew of new products within the company’s Sports Performance line that will be released by the end of this year.
Partnering with Kuechly was an easy decision for the company, as they believe he reflects perfectly the ideals of the company and that both he and ETB are “on parallel paths in different industries,” Colangelo said in a statement.
Both started out “around the same time, Luke quickly becoming one of the football’s biggest superstars” and ETB emerging as “one of the fastest growing sports nutrition companies in the country.”
Kuechly, who shares with ETB the “mantra that some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you,” said in statement that he is “excited to partner with them over the next few years.”