324: How Vital Proteins’ Kurt Seidensticker Generated Insane Consumer Demand For Collagen

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Kurt Seidensticker, Former NASA Engineer & Founder and CEO, Vital Proteins

How did Kurt Seidensticker go from being a NASA engineer to the founder of one of the biggest protein brands in the world? Believe it or not, his career path has been a perfect culmination of experiences—one that has led him to his current position as the CEO of Vital Proteins, a brand that was recently acquired by Nestlé and is expected to generate a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue this year.

Even when Seidensticker was working at NASA as an aerospace engineer, he was constantly running his entrepreneurial brain and thinking up new projects to undertake. After several years of working in a diverse array of industries—from cellular phone systems to high-speed internet—he decided to strike out on his own and started his own data center company and ecommerce platform.

Despite appearing to be completely unrelated businesses, these two companies served as the launching pad that allowed Seidensticker to start Vital Proteins in 2013. His ingestible collagen product took the protein market by the storm and saw over 300% YOY growth in its early days.

In this podcast episode, Seidensticker discusses what led to the incredible growth of Vital Proteins—from having first-mover advantage to finding negotiating power when dealing with retailers. He also shares his best recommendations when it comes to influencer marketing, moving fast, and so much more.

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Key Takeaways
  • Why Seidensticker decided to become an aerospace engineer
  • The business ideas Seidensticker had while working at NASA and worked on space programs, underneath was entrepreneurial drive
  • How Seidensticker came to work on pivotal projects in the cellular phone systems and high-speed internet space
  • Why Seidensticker decided to strike out on his own
  • How the data center company and ecommerce platform he built became a launching pad for Vital Proteins
  • The experience that led Seidensticker to explore the world of protein, and how he created a whole new category around ingestible collagen
  • How Seidenstricker and his team approach influencer marketing differently
  • Seidensticker’s school of thought when it comes to the power of product vs. marketing
  • The benefits of operating under the radar and having first-mover advantage
  • How Vital Proteins educated consumers and drove the market for collagen
  • Why Seidensticker recommends going online before retail, and how he gained negotiating leverage with retailers
  • Details about Vital Proteins’ partial acquisition by Nestlé
  • Why Seidensticker believes in progress over perfection
Key Resources From Our Interview With Kurt Seidensticker

334 episodes