How We Created A $500K/Month Braincare Supplement [Rated #1 In The World]

Published: August 18th, 2022
Dan Murray Serter
Founder, Heights
from London, UK
started January 2020
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Dan, and I’m the co-founder of Heights- a ‘braincare company’. WTF is braincare? Yes indeed, that’s what we thought too, which is why we set out not just to build a brand, but a whole category…and it’s starting to work.

Our launch product is the ‘smart supplement’ & before you think ‘oh just another supplement’ we’re the #1 rated supplement in the world on Trustpilot (the most trusted review site), with endless respected customers and over $500,000 a month just 2 years from launching (during the pandemic, with a fully remote team), and the customer best retention rates in the game, so we’re pretty convinced we’ve made something uniquely special.

Best of all - we’re one of the world’s few B Corps, so we know we are having a positive impact on the planet and society.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

This is a pretty unusual founding story because we started the company after a pivot - our company, Grabble, had become the top shopping app in the UK - grown to millions of users but struggled to turn revenue into profit - and after trying multiple things, we ran out of steam - so we offered to give the money left in the bank (about $1M) back to our investors. Much to our surprise, they said they would rather we used that money to wipe the slate clean and come back again with a new idea we were passionate about.

Our strategy was always simple - hook people on the newsletter and bring them into the journey of the nutrients and what science says you can do to take care of your brain.

During the journey I’ve had suffered an intense variety of mental health experiences including depression, anxiety & finally insomnia for 6 months that led to a long search of trying multiple solutions, ending up with a dietitian recommending certain supplements & despite my skepticism - I tried them and they worked within a week, I started sleeping again.

The problem was there were over 10 capsules and they cost over $200 for the concoction. So, along with my best friend, we started writing a newsletter that hit inboxes every Sunday which, in under 3 minutes, promised to share one thing according to science that can help you to take care of your brain and mental health, according to science (referencing back to the studies ‘for the nerdy’).

We were testing to see how interesting this was to people and it turned out it was popular so started growing. We were originally just sharing a newsletter but it began to get pretty good organic traction and was being read by a lot of quality scientific experts, who were reaching out to chat too.

One of those was Dr Tara Swart- a world-leading neuroscientist who wanted to create a product as we had in mind - and like that, the idea for the ‘smart supplement’ was born. As founders, we had no experience in nutrition, neuroscience, or creating physical products (in fact our last business was a mobile software company), but we did know how to pull a vision together and execute so the three of us brought on board Sophie Medlin, a leading dietitian and began the process of trying to make a unique product together.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

We did 200 customer interviews with people over 3 months and learned so many supplement takers' biggest problem wasn't the interest in taking them - it was remembering to because they all go in a cabinet and get forgotten about. It was this insight that led to us reimagining the packaging and bottle experience from the ground up, coming up with something stylish and unique that people were proud to keep out on the show.

Our biggest challenge was that the supplement industry is full of cheap products and suppliers who are all used to making poor cheap products they don't care about. We embarked on becoming a B Corp from day 1 which meant that we were committed to only working with the very best - and beyond that sourcing every single nutrient from the highest quality sources possible - so stuff like going to conferences in Geneva to find a blueberry extract farmer in Italy who could produce the quality of antioxidants we needed, made the whole process 100x harder and more painful, but worth it in the end!

We received multiple versions of our product in the first year of setting up that were nowhere near the quality and standard we had asked for - we were also committed to being fully plant-based, combining the omega 3 oils with the vitamins inside, but without leaking, and no caking agents or synthetic fillers - which meant we received endless versions back that failed one of those tests as suppliers were not used to working with founders trying to design something so unique - but we persevered towards our vision, and prevailed!

Describe the process of launching the business.

By the time we launched, we had been writing a newsletter in the background for about 18 months building an audience, so we knew that we had a good group of people interested in what we did. 3 months before launch we invited 100 readers on to a free trial, with an automatic email of ‘buy now’ at the end of the 3 months so they could be first - 84 of those people signed up, and we recently checked 79 of them are still subscribers to our product today!

We were using our ‘pre seed’ funding of $1M to build the first version of our website on Shopify & launched it with a pretty strong content strategy to deliver the story of braincare. In our first month, we made $40k which was a pretty good start!

Our strategy was always simple - hook people on the newsletter and learn one thing they can do to take care of their brain, and then bring them into the journey of the nutrients and what science says you can do to take care of your brain, through the funnel into the product discovery - and once people buy they are aware of why it's a good idea to start, and usually stay customers over the long term.


Tell your ego to shut the fuck up regularly.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our core efforts were to create marketing funnels from our email - and things like our “get your braincare score” tests that were put together with our PhD level Chief Science Officer, Tara, really helped as it gave people a measure of where they were now, clear actions of how to improve and then gave them a chance to consider other options that included nutrition as part of the mix.

We have always done a lot of content and launched a youtube live interview series that has had hundreds of thousands of views, and wrote multiple free PDF guides and courses to help people with various ways to take care of their brain - and invited a lot our amazing customers onto our Braincare Podcast (every episode just 15 minutes) which features amazing minds from Jay Shetty and Stephen Fry to the world's top neuroscientists and mental health experts.




As we’re a subscription company, retention and managing churn has always been our biggest driver - so we are really hot on content and providing consistent value to our customers post-purchase. Our customer care team is available 24/7 and are trained nutritionists meaning we can answer most questions for customers over the long term too, so we treat our customers as they should be - golden idols we adore and are desperate to keep!

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today we are a team of 20 people across 5 countries (UK, USA, Turkey, Thailand, Nigeria) working together remotely to build the best company we can.

We are at around $500k monthly recurring revenue and growing over 10% a month consistently - with plans to hit $10M ARR before the end of the year.

We have over 50,000 followers on Instagram - our main social channel, and 150,000 email subscribers who receive our weekly email.

Logistically we have a shipping and fulfillment warehouse in the UK and one in the USA now ready for scale as we have just started selling in the USA - with our first 2 employees joined - one on West Coast, one on East Coast so we can cover multiple time zones - if you count Thailand too, we now have total global coverage.

100% of our sales are through our website, all DTC - and we have achieved these amazing results all from just one product in one market - the main difference between ours and others is we consistently improve our product - this is our 5th iteration and upgrade.

We finally have product number 2 coming out towards the end of 2022 (a smart probiotic - for mood and cognition specifically) and are starting to scale our US operations too.

Our long-term goal is to get to $100M in revenue within 4 years with a limited product suite, but a deep understanding of our core customers, and their motivations and to continue getting the most outstanding reviews like we already do, about how we are improving people’s lives.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Throughout the entire journey, we, the founders, have committed to ‘building in public’ which has been a great process - ever since the first week of our newsletter, sharing how many subscribers we had - through to posting our results for everyone to see, every single month like clockwork.

We went through a period of things not working (for about 5 months we couldn't grow) and we still shared all of that in public and lessons learned along the way - and why that was great was people supported us and valued our honesty, even investors.

It's an uncomfortable thing to do but it's pretty amazing and makes it much more worthwhile once you come out the other side (if you do, of course).

The biggest challenge has been to be patient with team members not performing and trying to get a sense of who is capable of growing to each new challenge and who isn't and therefore needs replacing!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Shopify Plus Skio. We used Recharge for subscription for ages and it was honestly terrible - it's the worst unicorn company I've ever encountered, I have no idea what they do. Anyway, we also use Klaviyo for email which has been fantastic (though we started on Mailchimp which was much simpler for the starting point).

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Secret Leaders podcast, and books; The Source, The Cold Start Problem, Let my people go surfingThe Untethered soul and The power of now whenever my ego is getting too loud.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don't get trapped in the game everyone else is playing to rush for everything to work by burning stupid money on stupid ideas. Have patience. Very few businesses make it that do that and very few people inside those companies are happy - focus on building something great with some patience and joy in your heart and you’ll attract the right people to do it with - which is the most likely chance you have of enjoying the journey. Also, tell your ego to shut the fuck up regularly.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Strategy and operations manager, social media manager, customer service exec
Here’s a link to our careers page.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Dan Murray Serter, Founder of Heights
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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