THE BLOG
04/13/2016 02:48 pm ET Updated Apr 13, 2017

Successful 21-year-old Entrepreneur Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Sports Drink

Lamar Letts isn't your average 21-year-old university student. While on the one hand he's focused on graduating from Northeastern University with degrees in marketing and finance, outside of the classroom, Letts is actually focused on something bigger. His own electrolyte beverage.

Letts has visions of taking on giants like Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water with his own brand. The drink itself is pretty fantastic. It's called Hylux. It tastes just as good as the others but boasts a few distinct advantages over the competition. It contains fewer calories than Gatorade and astoundingly, only 10 grams of sugar. But what's truly astounding about Hylux goes far beyond the nutritional details.
As a freshman, Letts was diagnosed with a heart condition called myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle. While the illness itself is not anything degenerative or long-term, it was enough to end Letts' promising track and field career during his freshman year.

As part of continuing to live a healthy and inflammation-free lifestyle after the fact, a doctor recommended that Letts begin to closely monitor his diet. In doing so, he grew tired of always having to check the label and ensure he wasn't taking in too much sugar. That's when Letts was inspired to come up with Hylux. It would be a drink he and others who wanted to watch their sugar intake could consume while still getting all of the benefits that an electrolyte beverage can give an athlete.

Letts persisted in trying to get his idea off the ground. He contacted consulting firms who could get him in touch with food scientists and manufacturers that could make the concept a reality. Once he got connected and the first bottles of the drink were produced, Letts reached out to local gyms to see if they would take a chance on his product. He met his match when the local UFC gym in Boston agreed to test it out and now Hylux is poised to spread its reach to fitness clubs and hopefully someday, big-box retailers like Walmart.

So far, the Hylux has been supported by a $10,000 grant from Northeastern University, but while Letts continues to build his business outside of his busy school schedule so that he can still graduate, he and his fellow students have launched a KickStarter campaign for the beverage. The money will be used to continue to expand the distribution of Hylux beyond the local Boston area and eventually outside of the Northeastern United States.

The cool thing about the whole idea isn't just that the beverage was created as a necessary healthy alternative, Letts also has a vision for giving back. Three percent of all the proceeds from Hylux sales will go towards providing clean water to developing countries via Water.org, a non-profit organization cofounded by Hollywood actor Matt Damon.

So there you have it. A young, business-minded former athlete comes up with a wicked idea for a sports drink after being told he can't do what he loves anymore. Incredible. It's safe to say Letts and his Hylux empire are on the rise. The folks at Gatorade and Vitamin Water better check their heart monitors, because Lamar Letts and his sports drink have arrived.