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Meet Valerie Milovic of Better Than Coffee in El Segundo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Milovic.

Valerie is an entrepreneur with a passion to help others stay energized in a healthy way. Through adversity and life experiences, like losing her parents at a relatively young age and moving to the US to pursue her dreams, she has found joy in making a difference in others’ lives.

Better Than Coffee was born out of Valerie’s desire to find a healthier alternative to the daily energy drinks she consumed to get going during her management years in corporate IT sales.

After needing at least one energy drink to make it through each day, she began searching for healthier alternatives. Three years and about 3,000 homemade bars later, she found a combination that provided lasting, natural energy without coffee’s crash or energy drinks’ artificial ingredients. Valerie then partnered with nutrition experts, scrutinizing every ingredient and turning down countless recipes to arrive at the bars we make today.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When you are unique, you are different, and different is not always well understood. Our bars are not candy and sometimes require quite a bit of education. We need to explain how to use the product for it to be efficient. We do not aim to have a product that fits everyone’s taste buds, but we keep working on improving for our core target.

Our second main challenge these days it is to find cost-effective ways to let our core target know that we exist in the first place. We are online and this is not always where consumers expect to find such a product for a first buy. Many potential users do not know this kind of product can even exist. Every week I hear ‘I wish I hadn’t known BTC was existing before’.

Our core target? Active people, athletes, health-conscious who would benefit from a natural caffeine source to perform better.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Better Than Coffee – what should we know?
We provide high energy bars. We stand out because of our unique blend of energizing plants and distinctive ingredients. Each Better than Coffee® energy bar contains 100mg of natural caffeine.

Our secret is guarana and maca—two plants from South America. Guarana, long used by natives for stamina and energy while hunting, provides a quick boost of natural caffeine. Maca is scientifically proven to reduce the effects of stress while maintaining an illuminating mental and physical boost. The bars are natural-tasting, in stark contrast to sugar-filled, less healthy energy bars and drinks. They are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, lower sugar and low sodium, with a good source of protein.

We offer four flavors: Dark Chocolate & Coconut, French Roast, Dark Chocolate & Cranberry, Dark Chocolate & Mint.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I am the only founder, however without the early and continuous support (moral, financial and/or competence-based) of Ina, Ales and Nico, the company, as it is now, would certainly not exist.

Jungin (Ina) Lee created the brand identity. Her amazing patience, attention to details as well as her passion for the project itself allowed us to have a very professional and, what I feel, successful brand identity.

Alessandro (Ales) Arosio brought an un-valuable food industry experience and saved me from making newbie (in the industry) errors. His corporate sales and marketing expertise allowed us to craft processes to have a solid foundation.

Nicolas (Nico) Chaumartin, one of my best friends for over 20 years, made sure I wasn’t suffering in isolation, which can be common for entrepreneurs. Nicolas is the one I turn to first when I need to be challenged or for an honest opinion. He is smart, fast to react and he sees what I do not see. Without him, I may have broken down more than once!


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