Entrepreneurs

This Silicon Valley company wants to 'make better humans' through biohacking

Michael Brandt has all the resume highlights that tech entrepreneurs dream of: Stanford grad, ex-Google employee and an Andreessen Horowitz backing for his startup.

He's the co-founder of HVMN (allegedly pronounced "human") — formerly Nootrobox — which sells subscriptions for monthly boxes of cognitive supplements. The company is also behind Go Cubes, "chewable coffee" bites sold at convenience stores to compete with products like 5-hour energy.

"We want to make better humans. We want to take technology and use it to help you as a system," Brandt, the company's co-founder and COO, told CNBC at his San Francisco office. "You have inputs. You have outputs like your productivity, your reaction time, your happiness even."

Michael Brandt, co-founder and COO of Nootrobox works at his desk in San Francisco
CNBC
Michael Brandt, co-founder and COO of Nootrobox works at his desk in San Francisco

Andreessen Horowitz led a $2 million investment for the start-up in 2015, as more money has been poured into biohacking-related startups in recent years.

Since the company's offerings are mixes of approved supplements, the products don't actually require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to Brandt.

The co-founder said he anticipated a shift wherein people who did not have a diagnosed medical need for pharmaceuticals regularly seek cognitive enhancements.

"You're seeing this broad consumer excitement around 'human body' as a platform and around biohacking," Brandt said. "Healthy people want to be optimized versions of themselves ... You just want to have a better day. You want to be a better version of yourself."