A pair of entrepreneurs focuses on ‘nutrients for your brain’

If you’ve found yourself on tech websites, then you’re familiar with those cute videos demonstrating the latest products: young, modern people happily using whatever the company is selling while cheery music plays in background.

Nootrobox, a nine-month old startup, has a video on its website that’s intent on showing why its line of “smart drugs” is different from anything else that’s come along.

This video focuses on a man at his computer, working intensely, headphones on. “You realized a while ago that nothing is magic,” an unseen narrator says. “That every big accomplishment is just a dream.”

Near the end of the video, he gulps down a little pill. It’s not magic, and won’t take him from zero to 100, but it gives him the focus he needs to get back to work.

The video was directed by co-founder Michael Brandt, who also moonlights as an adjunct professor in the advertising department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In fact, his students helped him create the video. “It wasn’t a matter of giving back,” he says. “They’re just all so good.”

Brandt and co-founder Geoffrey Woo created the pills, which they call “nutrients for your brain.” The two-person startup is intent on setting itself apart in the nootropics (or dietary supplements) industry.

Brandt understands the immense amount of trust that its customers are putting in Nootrobox.

“If Google or Apple came out with a pill tomorrow,” he says, “I think a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily trust it, and those are super trustworthy brands. People are eating something—it’s a really intimate relationship. The fact that people have trusted us so much, and told their friends, has been delightfully surprising.”

So, imagine a society full of Bradley Coopers. In a recent op-ed in TechCrunch, Woo and Brandt have laid out their vision: “We’re not talking about Limitless where Bradley Cooper takes a super drug and gets unique mental prowess. Intelligence is a network effect. Imagine the new forms of interaction, social relationships, and productivity that we don’t yet comprehend.”

Right now, Nootrobox offers two products: Rise and Sprint. Rise is the standard-bearer, the holder of the brand. Brandt says it improves your memory, stamina, and motivation. If Rise is the day-to-day, the Honda Civic of dietary supplements, then Sprint is the McLaren racer. It is supposed to move you in a way that Red Bull or any other high-caffeine drink don’t. Brandt calls it a “better cup of coffee” and also “very soothing.”

Perhaps the way Nootrobox differs from the quick-energy fixes out there is that it isn’t a quick-energy fix. It’s a system. And systems don’t change you. You change because you adopt the system. It’s a mindset that’s becoming increasingly common among those who don’t want to take no for an answer in business, and it’s the type of thinking that Nootrobox helps, quite literally, to foster.

You have to spend money to make money, as the old adage goes. But even if you do have a genius business idea, what happens long before the venture-backed funding comes flowing in? It might take a few PB&J sandwiches and kitchen table meetings before your startup becomes solvent. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are known for being […]

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