Episode 66
August 10, 2021

Raising the Protein Bar

with Isabelle Steichen, Co-Founder and CEO of Lupii

About this episode

Isabelle Steichen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lupii. Women owned and Brooklyn based, Lupii makes delicious, nutritious, and sustainable Lupini bean powered foods, starting with Lupii bars that currently come in four different flavors, packed with over nine grams of protein and only using five to six ingredients in each bar. In this episode, Isabelle shares with us her journey from growing up in Luxembourg, to studying abroad at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, to working with a few startups, which led to a consulting gig with Human Ventures, where she became an entrepreneur in residence and developed a concept for Lupii. She talks with us about how she met with over 70 people in her search for the perfect Co-Founder before meeting her business partner, Alexandra, why they decided to fundraise on the Republic platform, and how the pandemic forced them to shift their focus from retail to selling direct to consumer.

This episode is sponsored by

In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • What got Isabelle so interested in the plant based food space and how she has spent her time learning so much about it and seeing the opportunities present in it
  • How she came to realize the incredible benefits of Lupini beans and the huge opportunity there was to build a platform and a brand around this bean that many people did not know about yet
  • What brought her to the US for one year during her undergrad, took her to grad school in Europe, and got her into the startup space once back in the US
  • What valuable lessons she learned from the startups she worked with and how those lessons translate now into how she leads her company and how she values the people on her team
  • How the opportunity to run with her idea for Lupii came about and what it took for her to find the perfect Co-Founder
  • What the fundraising process has been like and what conventional and unconventional ways they are raising funds to grow the company
  • How they changed their strategy once COVID put a pause on their retail relationships and why selling on Amazon has been helpful to them in the early stages of their business
  • What advice Isabelle has for getting through the hard times, being a good leader, a good Co-Founder, and also building something bigger than just a business
  • What is next for Lupii and where you can find them around the US and online

To Find Out More:



“We are using the whole bean, which means that you're getting all the protein and all the fiber and all the minerals without any of the added junk. So that's pretty innovative in this space.”

“It's great to want to take the playbook and tear it apart and throw it out the window. But it's also really important to even know how the playbook was written and you need experienced people for that.”

“I think the trust piece is so essential, especially if you start something new and nobody knows you, and you have to build your reputation, it's important that you create trust and you can only create trust if you listen.”

“It's important to listen and take in information and then make decisions from there, versus thinking you know it all because you don't.”

“Surrounding yourself with a team, with a Co-Founder, that has complementary views is not easy because you tend to want to hire people that are like you. Get people on board that are different, that operate differently, that have different backgrounds, so that you can make informed decisions…”

“Really, the job of the leader is to set everyone else up for success.”

“You need to be open minded and self reflect and understand why am I behaving this way and why is this person behaving that way and how can we find a middle ground and do the best out of both? Because I think that's a great way to build a successful business with complementary skill sets and ways of doing things.”

“What we love about Amazon is the fact that we get exposure to customers who would otherwise not find out about us. And we have had really honest, direct feedback, which is so important for us in the early stages of the business.”

“Lupii is a platform for the Lupini bean. We're not a bar company. We're a Lupini bean company. We really see the bars as the first product range that we launched with.”

“What I've learned is really there are hurdles that will feel tough at times, but then things will always work out if you just continue being committed to it and working at it.”

Read the transcript

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