Founded in 2020, the UK-based start-up is the brainchild of Byrne and two friends, Fadi Shuman and Alistair Hargreaves.
The co-founders, drawn from professional sports, marketing, consumer packaged goods and e-commerce, have come together to develop a product platform that focuses on categories ranging from superfood blends to hydration, to sleep, beauty and nootropics.
“It has been a year that has not lacked challenges related to the creation of HUX”, says Byrne, former sales manager at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
“Everything was unusually heavy and time consuming due to covid restrictions. For example, sampling the many product iterations had to be done by sending the product individually and trying to zoom in.
“We couldn’t visit our manufacturing site in the normal way, so we had to find new ways to collaborate. In terms of financing, it also couldn’t be done face-to-face, with the product in hand. It must have come from my kitchen via a laptop.
Byrne acknowledges the positives throughout the process, with 2020 encouraging people to actively think about their health, prompting renewed interest in these categories.
Superfood and Nootropic Blends
Hux’s Superfood Blends combine organic, plant-based superfoods, proteins and vitamins into one serving that is mixed with water to create a nutritious drink.
The Superfood Blends product line also contains ingredients aimed at supporting gut health, such as papain (helps reduce inflammation and swelling) and kale (a good source of calcium which promotes gut health),
Other ingredients used include Actazin (for bolus regularity) and Bacillus Coagulans (a probiotic that helps the stomach cope with high acid levels).
Hux’s Nootropics line incorporates Citicoline (Cognizin), proven to increase neurotransmitter levels, increase mental energy, and protect the brain from damage and aging.
The range also uses Lion’s Mane, an edible mushroom known to stimulate brain cell growth, boost memory, increase concentration and mood, while aiding digestion.
“We have selected the highest quality ingredients to create highly effective, science backed and clinically proven products (for nootropics and sleep)”,Byrne said.
“These are not meal replacements, they are supplements. They color the gaps that most people have in their daily diet. We don’t promise they are magic. Being healthy shouldn’t be a chore.
“Our mission at HUX is to empower everyone to find their daily benefit by making complex nutrition simple and enjoyable; a life facilitator,adds Byrne.
“We have designed the range to work in concert, which means that all products can be safely consumed daily without exceeding the RDI for an ingredient at a detrimental level.”
Demand from e-gamers
With Hux’s offerings that include supplements for nootropics and sleep, Byrne sees a market here for online gamers looking to boost mental agility, focus, and concentration in a natural, caffeine-free way.
“Gamers have been early adopters and biggest consumers of nootropics for exactly this reason. The benefit of being connected to Call of Duty now comes to work.
“There is a usual, emotional benefit that people get from a morning coffee. However, the benefit is usually short-lived and can cause many people to feel jittery.
“HUX nootropics slowly release energy, improving focus, mental clarity, and creativity throughout the day.
“Many of our consumers are seeing a significant increase in work output, without the need to snack during the usual afternoon lull.”
The business appears to be gaining momentum now that Byrne reveals that Hux has just closed a €1.2m (£1m) funding round, which counts the founders of Bulldog Skincare among its backers .
The funds will be used in four main areas, namely brand awareness, team building, working capital and preparation for international expansion which will include ANZ, Europe and the United States.
“We will be an omnichannel brand”promises Byrne. “We are at the heart of conversations about retail listings. Watch our social media for updates on this!”
A ‘forward-thinking brand’
Describing themselves as a brand at the forefront of innovation, Byrne and Hux are open to exploring new services and/or customization products, for example, among other areas.
Whatever direction Hux takes in new markets or sectors, the company’s philosophy remains a foundation that guides its decision-making process and approach to better serve its customers.
“When we do it, we want to do it authentically,”Byrne said. “Many brands that offer personalization only have a few options that a brief survey guides you to.
“The basis of nutrition and associated deficiencies across the population are remarkably consistent.
“Our product range responds to this. Over time, we want to expand this to provide highly specialized products.
Looking ahead, Byrne identifies mental health and sleep as the next areas or priorities that the industry and certainly Hux will keep an eye on.
“Brain nutrition is the foundation for mood stability, mental clarity, and a vital marker for mental health.
“There is a huge and fundamentally important opportunity for the conversation about emotional and psychological well-being to include the important role that nutrition plays.
“We decided to go further than most nootropics on the market by including citicoline, which is fundamental for long-term brain health,” he adds.
“Sleep is the other. It’s the single most effective thing we can do every day to restore brain and body health.
“Hardly anyone has enough; or if they get hours, the quality of that sleep is very low. This is a huge subject, where the right supplements can be very effective.
Another area ripe for product expansion is healthy aging, although Byrne recognizes that the essential nutrition contained in the current line of Hux products, if consumed daily, would greatly aid the aging process.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to improve people’s health,”he said. “However, it’s an important topic, and there’s a lot more we can do. So you’ll see innovation from us in that regard.