Gainful is taking on the protein powder market with customized protein blends delivered directly to your doorstep

Whey or plant protein? Before workout or after? Agh! Founded by Eric Wu (Georgetown ’17) and Jahaan Ansari (Berkeley ’18), Gainful’s personalized, direct-to-consumer protein powder makes finding a protein supplement less daunting.

Walk down the aisles of your local GNC and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with an overwhelming array of protein supplements. It’s a whirlwind of bodybuilder marketing and overreaching health claims. Recognizing how broken the protein-supplement shopping experience is, students Eric Wu (Georgetown ’17) and Jahaan Ansari (Berkeley ’18) founded Gainful, a startup disrupting the $5.4B protein supplement market by offering consumers a custom-tailored formula to fit their body type and fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to boost athletic performance or just trying to stay full until lunch, Gainful has a protein powder for you.

To get started, customers take a short quiz at where they provide details on body type, current fitness level, fitness goals, health habits, dietary restrictions, and more. A proprietary algorithm, which the team affectionately named Gail, then steps in and uses machine learning technology to instantaneously calculate an ideal protein powder blend made with simple and honest ingredients. No more decoding labels. No more guesswork.

Customers can opt to have their protein delivered monthly (30 servings per month for $45) or place an a la carte order (30 servings for $49). The best part? A monthly Gainful subscription also includes 1-on-1 access to Gainful’s own Registered Dietitian for expert advice at no extra cost.

Co-founders Eric and Jahaan met during their freshman year of high school. They were inseparable, playing on their school soccer team and co-founding the Newbury Park High School Recycling Club. While they attended different universities, the two friends stayed close and in 2016 began working together on Gainful. They picked up relevant experiences throughout college: CEO Eric spent a summer working in venture capital at True Ventures and Jahaan spent his summers in software and chemical engineering at Johnson & Johnson. Both were involved with their entrepreneurship communities on campus — Eric credits Georgetown’s StartupHoyas events and Georgetown alumni mentors as critical resources getting them off the ground. Jahaan leveraged The House, Berkeley’s startup institute, to help Gainful find legal counsel.

Last summer, Gainful went through The Brandery, a startup accelerator for consumer brands based in Cincinnati which was a catalyst for their business. The team is now based in San Francisco.

We’re thrilled to have Gainful in the Rough Draft family. To learn more, check out and stay tuned for updates!

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Adina Davis

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Rough Draft Ventures // Red Sea Ventures // Wharton

Rough Draft Ventures

Covering all things student startup