Episode 129
October 25, 2022

Challenges, Chaos, and CPG

with Will Nitze, Founder and CEO of IQBAR

About this episode

Will Nitze joins Lee on the show today to chat about his journey to becoming the Founder and CEO of IQBAR, a brain-body nutrition startup based in Boston. In this episode, Will shares his journey from growing up in New Jersey playing competitive soccer, to studying neuroscience and psychology at Harvard, to learning about the impacts of food on our brains, which inspired him to start IQBAR. He talks about CPG hyper-growth and valuations, how he hacked his way into launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, and the lifestyle implications of being an entrepreneur.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (2:03) More about IQBAR, a brain-body nutrition startup known for their keto, vegan, plant protein bars that come packed with 12 grams of protein and six brain nutrients
  • (2:45) What it was like growing up in New Jersey, with a competitive spirit and wanting to be the best at everything
  • (13:11) What life was like after college, not knowing what he wanted to do, but taking a job in software
  • (17:50) How he got really interested in nutrition and how what you put in your body affects your brain
  • (28:00) How he came up with the idea for IQBAR, based on how he was just looking to be inspired
  • (30:00) Why he thinks everyone is inherently passionate about something, but entrepreneurs pursue it more intensely 
  • (33:55) Why he chose to go with bars first, and the first things he did to prepare to launch his business
  • (35:30) His experience in fundraising, and the challenges he’s faced, from focusing on sales through a Kickstarter campaign
  • (42:00) How he continued to grow the company and his advice on CPG hyper-growth and valuations
  • (49:00) The challenges of being a younger entrepreneur and hiring people older than him, learning what the right fit is, and the hardships of firing
  • (53:00) How to show compassion in tough times, while also being objective 
  • (57:40) The lifestyle implications that come with being a Founder, and being prepared for them, and the final advice he has for aspiring entrepreneurs

To Find Out More:



“Part of being who you are is momentum” 

“I was always into the startup world, just because I thought it was cool so I was always thinking about what I could do.”

“I loved the grittiness and the grind and the adventure of creating something from nothing.”

“I was just looking to be inspired.”

“It is fairly universal that people like being passionate about whatever it is. Passion is a fairly universally sought-after thing. But people seek, seek it out in different intensities.”

“Bars are just a form factor of what's the point? The point being brain and body nutrition.”

“Be obsessive about equity and ownership and fight tooth and nail every point of equity.”

“Almost never does someone regret firing someone.”

“Let's say you wanna be an entrepreneur, don't just go start the company, go get a job, do the travel thing, be a professional, get a job, have a boss, learn that it kind of sucks having a boss go into an office. Understand how the world works in that way, and how you interact with coworkers, what a meeting is like, how you lead a meeting, learn all of that.”

“One key piece of advice is just to understand the lifestyle implications. Like I said earlier, it's an objectively on paper, terrible lifestyle. I chose it and would choose it again, but you gotta understand the second, third, fourth order consequences of this path.”

Read the transcript

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