New sport beverage attracts investors

Flinders University start-up Preserve Health has raised more than $500,000 in seed capital to launch later this year.

The funding from angel investors and high net-worth individuals, including active investors with experience within the sports and beverage industries, will be used to fund the market launch of PREPD – a new range of hydration-boosting drinks set to revolutionise endurance sports performance, says chief executive David Vincent.

PREPD is backed by more than 20 years of innovative medical research at Flinders University, led by Global Gastrointestinal Health Distinguished Professor Graeme Young, which originally focused on improving severe dehydration in children living in developing countries.

The Flinders research team identified a special resistant starch to promote fluid absorption in the gut, tapping into an unused hydration potential in the body to absorb up to 6 litres of fluid per day.

Preserve Health chief executive David Vincent at Flinders at Tonsley Innovation District.

Then they adapted the medical formulation to meet the specific hydration needs of elite and amateur sportspeople, and created PREPD, set to be a game changer in sports hydration.

PREPDP Preserve Health CEO David Vincent, says: “The latest research shows that dehydration can negatively affect sports performance by over 5 per cent, even when athletes are drinking to thirst. This means that even if you don’t feel dehydrated, your performance can suffer.”

PREPD is a two-part system of drinks designed to boost hydration, “allowing athletes to perform at their peak and stay there,” Mr Vincent says, adding the PREPD drinks “taste like a smoothie due to the special starch, which delivers a hydration boost unlike anything else currently available.”

“Our Prime and Recover drinks are consumed pre- and post-exercise, and can help athletes hydrate up to 30 per cent more effectively,” he says

PREPD was developed from proof-of-concept to market ready stage in partnership with Steric Trading Pty Ltd, which owns and manufactures the popular Staminade sports drink brand.

Steric Managing Director Richard Brownie says that “as a complement and enhancer to electrolyte drinks, PREPD has the potential to drive incremental revenue and grow the entire category.”

Preserve Health will initially target PREPD towards professional, semi-pro and serious amateur endurance athletes, however Mr Vincent says anyone who trains, exercises or competes for an hour or more is likely to be sufficiently dehydrated to benefit from PREPD.

“Having trialled PREPD with over 100 athletes across a broad range of sports, the typical feedback has been overwhelming positive with athletes feeling more energetic and suffering less cramps towards the end of sport, and noticing less bodyweight (fluid) loss and less headaches afterwards,” Mr Vincent says.

With exciting results from a 2014 clinical trial with the Adelaide Crows expected to be published in the coming months, PREPD will then launch in October. PREPD will initially be available direct through the website and in selected sports specialty stores and gyms.

Early development for PREPD was supported by a South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund grant from TechInSA, the SA State Government’s start-up support agency.

TechInSA Chief Executive Mr Joe Thorp says: “Preserve Health’s recent seed funding round is a great achievement for an innovative startup in the beverage industry, based right here in Adelaide.

“Their success also highlights the value of early commercialisation funding to bridge the gap between the research lab and the marketplace as a catalyst for further private investment to grow new high tech companies in South Australia,” Mr Thorp says.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Robert Saint, says: “Preserve Health’s seed capital raise is a fantastic success story for the translation of cutting-edge research into community benefit and demonstrates Flinders University’s ability to build lasting industry partnerships to drive business innovation.”

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