Oak Ridge High School graduate Benjamin Lowry and two fellow Trojans are starting an online supplement company. Courtesy photo

Business

Oak Ridge grad scoops on tech start-up

By From page A1 | August 02, 2017

After discovering a void in the workout supplement market, military veteran and Oak Ridge High School graduate Benjamin Lowry is launching Scoop, which will allow users to customize their own workout supplements online.

Lowry, 26, served five years in the Navy and completed three deployments to Afghanistan on a counterterrorism mission. A lifelong athlete, Lowry holds the military sit-up record in Florida with 812 sit-ups in 33 minutes.

During his years in the military Lowry recalled being “inspired” by the athletes who surrounded him in special warfare, but realized there had to be a better way to buy workout supplements from what he called a lack of transparency in the multi-billion-dollar supplement industry.

“There is very limited oversight by the FDA when it comes to workout supplements, so people don’t know how much of each ingredient they’re getting,” Lowry said, adding that many pre-workout supplements contain high levels of caffeine.

“The supplement industry has a snake-oil salesman reputation for many,” he explained. “There are so many companies yelling, ‘I have the best!’”

At Scoop, Lowry explained, buyers know exactly what they’re getting and it costs less too. Customers choose ingredients, select recommended dosages for as little as 15 servings and then share their customized blend recipe with others, if they choose. If others buy that blend, the creator earns money. Users may also elect to order custom-made blends already on the site.

“People may choose what they want depending on their needs or for their individual sport,” Lowry said, including pre-, during- and post-workout supplements. “For instance, what a triathlete needs would be different from an Olympic lifter.”

His team is working on professional athlete endorsements, where the athletes would share their unique blends on Scoop.

Lowry said the Scoop team has studied recommended doses of all the ingredients and allows users to pick from a range within the appropriate amount. As a user creates a blend, the platform adds the costs for ingredients in real time so the user knows the price. There’s a small markup so Scoop may make money, Lowry said, but customers will still pay less than marked-up supplements at big box stores.

People may also upload their own labels from the site should they choose.

Scoop co-founders include Lowry’s friends and fellow Oak Ridge High School graduates Dan Rogers and Rob Pohlman. Rogers and Pohlman earned degrees in computer science and became software engineers while Lowry was in the military.

“We’re the first in this market,” Lowry said. “The sport supplement industry is $22 billion globally and is expected to grow 22 percent each year.”

Scoop uses bulk ingredients from the United States and plans to start production in Chattanooga, Tenn., this month. The team is currently raising money via a Kickstarter campaign. Click here for the Scoop campaign, which includes a video with more information.

Julie Samrick

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