Founder Interview: Joe Faulkner-Edwards – bulking up the masses

Founder Interview: Joe Faulkner-Edwards – bulking up the masses

9th May 2018 by Louise Harvey

[Advertisement feature by Whey Forward]

This week we caught up with Joe Faulkner-Edwards, founder and CEO of the multi-million-pound health and fitness company, Whey Forward Health Industries.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for Whey Forward?

Prior to Whey Forward’s inception, I was earning a living as a health & fitness journalist – writing primarily about nutrition. At the time, I had also been scouted as an Olympic hopeful prior to the London 2012 games and was undertaking a rather vigorous training routine. Training with elite athletes, I witnessed first hand the effects strenuous exercise has on our body. There were a number of incredible athletes, right on the cusp of international ability, but it was those that stayed injury and illness-free that made it onto the global arena. I unfortunately, did not.

In conducting my research for one particular assignment on anti-ageing supplementation, I unearthed a whole body of research about how specially formulated whey proteins are being investigated for their ability to boost many aspects of our health – a Canadian product was even being prescribed to sufferers of HIV and Cancers. This fascinated me: a food product with profound health benefits.

I won a small grant from a university to further develop the idea – enough validation to forget about the olympics and pursue this true passion full-time. 6 years on and we have finalised the formula, secured a patent and established the supply chain. We’re finally ready to launch the product that will change the whey protein market forever.

How have you seen the health and fitness industry expand and develop in the last few years? Why do you think this is?

As a writer, athlete, and now health and fitness entrepreneur, I have been involved in the industry in some capacity or another for over 10 years. The growth of this sector over the past decade has been quite staggering.

I think this is being driven by the social shift towards taking care of ourselves. Exercise and eating right is now “cool” and has hit the mainstream. What was once a specialist market for athletes and enthusiasts, this lifestyle and these products are now being adopted by the mass market consumer. It’s a very exciting industry to be in and driving positive change is highly motivating.

What’s been the most exciting moment in the Whey Forward journey so far?

There have been many! Seeing a stranger using one of our PROMiXX vortex mixers for the first time is a particular moment that stands out – the sense of pride as I watched him animatedly show it to his training partner!

That’s a personal moment… Moving the team into our amazing new headquarters at the beginning of the year holds particular significance, too. Constructing our dream workspace and giving the whole team a sense of pride everytime they walk into the office is quite special.

All that said, launching REGENATIVE later this year will be our most exciting moment by far!

Why are you raising capital through crowdfunding?

We have had a good relationship with crowdfunding – having ran two highly successful Kickstarter campaigns. It’s a nice opportunity to tell a story and show the world what you have achieved. Plus, with 400,000 product users and millions of social fans, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of the brand they love.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Health, fitness and nutrition has always been a passion of mine, but it was my passion for writing and storytelling that led me to complete a degree in journalism. Out of university I worked at the BBC for two years. I craved more autonomy and left the BBC to pursue freelance journalism whilst also training as an Olympic hopeful in London.

Starting a business allowed me to combine my skills of research and storytelling with my passion for health and nutrition. I’ve never looked back.

What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Absolute accountability. It’s not for everyone but I love the sense that I am ultimately responsible for my future and there are no limits to the possible outcomes.

Being a health and fitness entrepreneur also means I have an opportunity to make a positive impact – keeping that sentiment core to our mission keeps us motivated and on the right track.

What advice would you give people who are eager to set up their own business?

Do it! But remember you are going to need some help. Starting and running a business requires you to be a master of everything – but that’s not exactly real life. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – there are some great resources available to you, from government-backed mentorship schemes and accelerators, to local entrepreneur networks and educational events. As you scale, don’t forget to check-in with outside advisors, too. It’s important to see the full picture and external feedback will help ensure you avoid tunnel-vision.

Where would you like to see Whey Forward in a year’s time?

First and foremost, we will see thousands of people integrating REGENATIVE into their daily nutrition program and experiencing better health and wellbeing. We will have grown our team, furthered our R&D and intellectual property and be stamping our mark on a multi-billion-dollar industry!

If you’d like to ask Joe your own questions, you can do so via the discussion forum on the campaign page, where you can also find out more about how Whey Forward will be bringing their exciting new products to market.

Investing in startups involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. This blog post has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited.

Louise Harvey

Louise Harvey

Senior Associate | Investor Team

Digital Agency Kent