In an industry where women’s needs are often overlooked, Rev member company Levelle Nutrition is changing the narrative. The Cornell-founded startup is developing revolutionary sports and endurance nutrition products specifically formulated for women’s physiology. Founders Linda Alvarez and Stephanie Schrauth are committed to fueling and empowering female athletes, with research-backed products that work with their bodies rather than against them. Their innovation is already making great strides—Levelle was recently awarded $50,000 at the 2022 FuzeHub Innovation Summit and took home the 2022 Most Customer-Driven Startup Award at Rev last month.
We recently spoke with co-founder and CEO Linda Alvarez about how Levelle got started and what the future looks like for the startup.
What is the “origin story” behind your company?
Stephanie and I never set out to be entrepreneurs; we didn’t found Levelle because we had a product we wanted to sell. Rather, we found a problem we were driven to solve.
Before starting Levelle, my cofounder and I spoke to more than 100 endurance athletes. We heard an undeniable theme of physical pain in female athletes in response to current sports nutrition products. What was most upsetting was that so many of the women we spoke to felt as though their bodies were the problem, rather than products on the market.
Levelle was founded with the belief that women’s bodies perform better with food formulated with their physiology in mind from the start.
At Levelle, we embrace the complexity of our bodies and see the opportunity for Levelle to be the needed change in the sports and nutrition space. Levelle is a sports nutrition company dedicated to creating all-natural food products that are rooted in science and speak to a woman’s unique physiology. We are making sports nutrition designed for women, by women.
What customer need is your company attempting to address?
The sports nutrition industry has failed women. Women physiologically fuel differently than men. However, current sports nutrition products on the market are formulated based on men’s physiology. The result is a myriad of physical side effects that female athletes endure during competition and training. When attention does turn to women, the focus is often on skinniness and sexiness. Currently, only 2.5% of sports nutrition products “target” female athletes but offer no clarification if they are specifically formulated for women. Adding insult to injury, many female athletes feel their bodies are the problem, instead of the products available on the market.
Levelle’s products are innovatively tailored to the female metabolism. We use low-glycemic, plant ingredients to deliver a sustained release of energy, without a side serving of agony. Our products are all-natural, real food options safe for female athletes at any age and stage of their lifecycle.
Do you have any recent company milestones or accomplishments you would like to share?
We are currently preparing for commercial launch of our first line of Energy Purées! Over the last year, we have been able to ideate, refine, and manufacture three flavors of our first product and are preparing to test new flavors and form factors in the coming months. The Cornell Food Venture Center and Pilot Plant have been amazing resources for us in developing our process flow and making sure we are meeting product safety standards through commercialization. We are so appreciative of their guidance and support through this process.
Where do you envision your company a year from now? Five years from now?
A year from now, Levelle will have products available both online and in stores. We will have developed a strong community of athletes, supporters, and customers excited for our products and our mission to increase safe and healthy product choices for women and expand the breadth of research of women’s nutrition and exercise physiology.
In five years, Levelle Nutrition will be synonymous with healthy eating and women’s nutrition. Our products will not only be used by athletes, but everyday women looking for healthy, on-the-go snack options. We will be leading the charge in terms of women’s nutrition research.