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DigiCom Interview with Carolina Barsa, Chief Innovation and Growth Officer, and Co-Founder, at FitBiomics




Hello everyone! 


After a short break, we’re super pumped to start off season 3 of our Marketing Podcast. And to kick things off, we’ve got Carolina Barsa, one of the brilliant minds behind FitBiomics joining us.


FitBiomics is committed to exploring the mysteries of gut bacteria. They research the microbiome—the mix of bacteria living in the guts of these super-fit individuals to understand the secrets behind their well-being. 


Then, they use this knowledge to create innovative products designed to improve the health and well-being of everyone. Essentially, they're turning the health secrets of the fittest into easy-to-use solutions for everyone.


Now let’s dive a little into our conversation and Carolina’s background:


Carolina began with a varied background, covering everything from engineering to marketing and social entrepreneurship, which brings a different view to FitBiomics. Her journey demonstrates a deep commitment to solving problems and encouraging innovation. 


Starting as an engineer for 10 years Carolina later switched gears to business school and began a career in marketing and innovation, where she worked with renowned companies like Mars, Danone, and Unilever.


The Birth Of Nella


FitBiomics' standout product, Nella, uses advanced science to drive real change. Unlike ordinary probiotics that rely on outdated strains, Nella takes a different approach. As mentioned above, it harnesses unique microorganisms found in exceptionally healthy individuals. 


Thanks to extensive research and testing, Nella has shown its effectiveness in enhancing digestion, promoting better sleep, increasing energy levels, and maintaining a healthy gut. Thousands of customers and even elite Olympians swear by how Nella has helped them! 


An Upcoming Product: V Nella?


You heard it here first!


Expanding on the achievements of Nella, FitBiomics is looking to introduce V Nella—a product containing the proprietary strain Veillonella atypica, that turns lactic acid into short-chain fatty acids, providing a natural energy boost for your cells. 


Early studies have shown its promise in fighting fatigue, improving endurance, and boosting motivation to exercise. If anything, this showcases FitBiomics' dedication to bringing innovative and science-backed solutions to the table.


Closing the Health Gap


Carolina also touched on something crucial: making sure everyone, no matter their background, can access the help they need to stay healthy. She dives into the unfairness in healthcare, especially for women and those who aren't as well-off. 


FitBiomics is more than just making innovative products; they're also pushing for big changes in the system. They want everyone to have a fair shot at being healthy and able to get the help they need.


We're excited to see what's next from FitBiomics, especially with the launch of V Nella and a platform of discoveries for future products. It's clear that they're trying to make a real difference in how we view our health and wellness, while also working to close the gap in healthcare accessibility.


This isn’t all there is to the conversation! Tune in to our podcast now to learn more about Fitbiomics and how you too can improve your health.


Where to Find FitBiomics?


Curious to learn more about FitBiomics? Visit their website at fitbiomics.com and follow them on social media @FitBiomics for updates and exclusive offers.


EXCLUSIVE FOR OUR LISTENERS ONLY: Use the discount code ‘Digicom’ for a 30% discount on Nella!  


DISCOUNT DETAILS:  Digicom


  • For Online Store

  • 30% off entire order

  • Applies to subscriptions and one-time purchases

  • Limited to 1 recurring payment

  • No minimum purchase requirement

  • All customers

  • One use per customer

  • Can’t combine with other discounts


Try VNella before it launches for free, fill out this quick survey:




QR Code for Nella = https://qrcodes.pro/YwiohA



QR Code for VNella =  https://qrcodes.pro/hmATEC



Connect with Digicom:


We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


Transcript:


Hemant Varshney (00:00.937)

Carolina, thank you for jumping on our show this week. I'm very excited to have you here. I would love if you could introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself.


Carolina Barsa (00:14.494)

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on. My name is Carolina Barsa and I am the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation and Growth Officer at FitBiomics.


And I live in New York City, hence the fire sounds, or the police sounds. So a little bit about FitBiomics, and then I can share a little bit about me. But we are a biotech startup that spun out of Harvard about six years ago. And our premise is all about studying the microbiome of the most fit and healthy people in the world, looking at what is unique and enriched within their microbiome, and identifying what we can bring into novel products for consumers to benefit health and longevity. So really thinking about how we take who's,


in the modern world and making it accessible to everyone. A little bit about my past. So I actually started off as an engineer, was designing radar systems for fighter jets, which was not necessarily my passion, but I loved problem solving and analytical and just really tapping into insights. And then that transitioned into me going to business school and starting a career in marketing and social impact. So I went to Duke. Sorry, can we start this section over?


Hemant Varshney (01:22.901)

Sure.


Carolina Barsa (01:26.484)

I feel like I'm getting sick to be honest.


which does not help. All right, so I'll start over with my intro. Mm-hmm.


Hi, thank you so much for having me on. My name is Carolina Barsett, and I am the co-founder and chief innovation and growth officer at FitBiomics. A little bit about FitBiomics, and then I can talk a little bit about us, but we are a biotech startup that spun out of Harvard about six years ago, and our premise is all about studying the microbiome of the most fit and healthy people who are thriving in the modern world, figure out what's unique and enriched in their guts, and make solutions that are accessible to everyone that support with health and longevity.


how we take what is in these elite and making it accessible to everyone. And that's really a passion for us around health and wellness. Um, a little bit about my personal background. I was an engineer, um, before getting into the world of marketing and brand strategy and, uh, everything related to, uh, sales business related. Um, but sorry, real quick, just FYI, your screen is very fuzzy. So I don't know if it's my internet connection or if you can hear me. Okay.


Hemant Varshney (02:37.477)

I can hear you okay. We have independent uploads. So your upload is happening from your stream and mine is happening from my stream. But the end product is like a fully uploaded, you know, video and audio tape.


Carolina Barsa (02:40.715)

Okay.


Carolina Barsa (02:50.182)

Okay, so you can hear me fine, right?


Hemant Varshney (02:52.601)

I can hear you fine. I can like the video output file will be crystal clear because we're uploading at 720 to 1080p. Yes.


Carolina Barsa (03:02.226)

Okay. So then I'm going to just start at the section about like my personal background because I got distracted with your video being so greenie.


Hemant Varshney (03:11.043)

Sure, no worries.


Carolina Barsa (03:12.982)

A little bit about my personal background. I actually was an engineer, designed radar systems, and decided to go to business school, went to Duke, and studied marketing and social entrepreneurship to really focus on how I can make a difference in the world through creative storytelling, innovation, et cetera. So worked across various CPG companies. I've had great experiences working with companies like Mars, Danone, Unilever, agency side as well,


branding agency that was UK based and started in the US office so helping them build their US office. So it's an exciting journey and I think a lot of my atypical career paths have led me to entrepreneurship in a way that allows me to tap into so many different experiences and leverage what I've learned and apply those skills to what we're building at FitBiomics.


Hemant Varshney (04:06.677)

So, you know, working alongside you, I think your background is so interesting. It's pretty wild. Like the, you know, the first time you had mentioned to me your background, especially going from, you know, an engineer to being an entrepreneur. It's really, you know, remarkable. And also going back to going back to going back to school, business school, and just, you know, like learning this.


whole entirely different skill set. It's just like, it's incredible. And also the challenge you're taking on at FitBiomics, right? It's not like an easy challenge. As someone who uses the Nella product, and I actually have it on my desk, it is quite, like it's quite a remarkable product. Not, you know, like I have,


Carolina Barsa (04:52.33)

Yay!


Hemant Varshney (05:04.541)

the best energy every morning after I take Nella. And this is like really just, Mikey and I talk about this all the time. It's like, Nella is so good. Like how is it such clean, good energy? I sleep really well. Can you tell us a little bit about this product? Just wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about Nella because you've created such a remarkable product. I'm signed up.


Carolina Barsa (05:27.499)

Yes.


Carolina Barsa (05:32.124)

Uh.


Hemant Varshney (05:33.485)

I have team members that are leveraging Nella or using Nella every day. And it's amazing. So tell us a little bit about the product.


Carolina Barsa (05:42.142)

Yeah, so I think that's really what sets FitBiomics apart. And what our.


product platform really is about is tapping into real science. So typically when you think about and the industry, you have biotech companies that are developing therapeutics and it's 10 billion dollars, 10 years to create a drug and only a fraction of them work. And the reality is a lot of these drugs could have side effects. And what we're doing is taking the same rigor in terms of the science, but taking a very consumer led approach and really focusing on creating


Carolina Barsa (06:16.408)

really be our healthiest. So if you think about the gut and the microbiome.


you're essentially more bacteria than you are human DNA. And so as you think about the impact your gut has on your overall ability to function as a human being, it plays such a pivotal role. In many cultures, it's considered the second brain, some call it the first brain, between gut-brain connection, gut-body connection, there are so many factors that your gut has an impact on your overall health and wellbeing. And so having, we even know that the gut can actually impact things like inflammation,


So many things and so thinking about it from that perspective and thinking about our approach where we're not taking Typical probiotics look use


microbes that have been isolated from decades ago. And there may be a handful, three or four manufacturers that supply all the probiotic brands their strains. And you can create some really amazing benefits by doing the literature research and identifying strains that have specific benefits and creating us your own formula. We're not doing that. We're actually isolating our own strains that are really unique and have evolved for today's needs and putting them in our products. And I think that's really helping us identify novelty


Not only with Nella, which does contain three species that exist in other products, so it contains three lactobacillus strains, we also have a product coming out that converts lactic acid into short-chain fatty acid. So I'm going to talk about that in a minute. But with Nella specifically, what's so exciting is that we accelerated this to market, we did an open-label study, found amazing results with people reporting things like we expected digestion but we were hearing reports of better sleep, better energy, less stress, helping


Carolina Barsa (08:01.296)

I mean, so many different things. What we did is we took that insight and said, let's do a clinical study focusing on some key attributes. So we did a clinical study, a placebo controlled study, where we looked at things like sleep and energy, and we were able to see some really amazing results, where not only were people improving digestion by 37%, but we were seeing an improvement in sleep quality by 69%, which is profound. And then an improvement in energy by 31%. And what's really exciting is that, as you think about all these benefits, what's happening in the body,


is actually having huge impacts where it's helping reduce oxidative stress, it's reducing, it's improving gut dysbiosis biomarkers, and it's really helping people with reductions in so many of the negative aspects to create better gut health, but also correlating gut-brain connection to support...


better sleep and better energy. And then also seeing things like improvement of cortisol to testosterone ratio. So really exciting results in terms of how Nella is actually having functional benefits.


Hemant Varshney (08:53.79)

Yeah.


Hemant Varshney (09:04.041)

So you're building a brand, you and the team, of course, are building a brand that is going from zero to one. It's not replicating what's on the market. It's really creating something new to solve for challenges, energy challenges, sleep challenges, digestive challenges. I can...


vouch all day for the energy challenge where it's like, you know, every day I do take Nella. I do really feel great. You know, I was an athlete growing up, not so much anymore. I try to be, but really not so much anymore. And I do sleep better, but you know, like to create your own strain, especially something that hasn't been done in decades, right. And especially, and also with like the launches of


Carolina Barsa (09:40.972)

We all try to be.


Hemant Varshney (09:56.165)

your new upcoming products. It's really you're taking a brand, a brand or a concept or an idea from zero to one because it hasn't really been done before. I've taken other probiotics that don't really do anything for me. So I, yeah.


Carolina Barsa (10:08.734)

Yeah. Oh, I.


I'm not only a co-founder, like I swear by Nella, I have had terrible IVSCD and I can share my personal story, but Nella is truly a game changer when it comes to what it's done for me. And so, I mean, we get not only have we received the quantitative data from our clinical studies, but we get qualitative feedback from all of our customers around just how profound this has been in changing and improving their lives. And I can swear by it, like I had my first colovoscopy in my early twenties and nothing, I tried everything under the sun.


before I started taking Nilla and it is like night and day.


Hemant Varshney (10:45.477)

And I think that like the, what you're solving for, right? Is like with digestive challenges, some folks are going through, right? And like it's more than some, like I get crazy heartburn all the time. And, you know, I think for all the founders out there that are building businesses, some are replicating products, others are trying to go zero to one.


What's a piece of advice you would give them to help them create and grow their brand?


Carolina Barsa (11:19.262)

Yeah, I think the number one...


thing that I think is so critical is this notion of passion and being really intentional about your end result. And so for us, our passion is health and wellness. Our end result is really making innovative solutions, cutting edge technology accessible to all. And so by staying true to our passions and, you know, honing in on what's important for us, it allows us to really stay the course because the reality of startup life is that it is a roller coaster


and it is the most exhausting, excruciating experience as well as the most rewarding experience of your life. And I think, you know, there's a lot of glamour and a lot of founders will share the wins and the successes. And I think we sometimes forget about how hard it can be. And the biggest thing is gonna be around...


doing what you're passionate about and staying true to your values. So that way when the hard days come and the hard decisions need to be made, you're making them with integrity. And I think the other thing is surrounding yourself with people who really support and value what you're building. And aren't necessarily, whether it's investors or our business partners, they're not just necessarily seeing it as a quick transaction, but rather building a longstanding, sustainable business model that can really have a profound impact. And people who believe in your value


I think get more on board with that. So I think the biggest thing is surround yourself with people that you can trust and who support what you're doing and stay true to your values and your passion.


Hemant Varshney (12:56.501)

Amazing. And, you know, I think, I think the part where you mentioned the high highs and the low lows, like most people on LinkedIn and Instagram and like, you know, all these social channels always see the high highs, right? They don't see the 80, 90 hour work weeks. They don't see like the grunt work of like picking up boxes in a warehouse and moving it on like an early Saturday morning or, you know.


Carolina Barsa (13:24.21)

Yeah.


Hemant Varshney (13:25.761)

For me recently, it's been going to conferences and just sleeping in essentially airport lounges before a flight to my next flight, to my next flight. And just being on the road and being continuously exhausted through time zones, and sometimes I think, yes, there is a lot of glory in being an entrepreneur, but there is also a lot of...


Carolina Barsa (13:34.997)

Move.


Hemant Varshney (13:53.865)

loneliness in the sense of if you're not surrounded by the right folks or you are surrounded by the right folks, but there are times where you need to make tough decisions. The crownware is heavy and I think those parts are less spoken about maybe a little bit, but would I trade what I do and the folks I get to work with and meet? No, absolutely not. The crownware is heavy. That's what I do.


being an entrepreneur is and there needs to be resilience. So like, I love that you brought that up. That's really huge.


Carolina Barsa (14:31.847)

I think resilience is what sets strong entrepreneurs apart. And I think the ones that are successful are the ones that are able to weather the storm.


Hemant Varshney (14:43.83)

Yeah, I agree. I know we're talking about different businesses and a little bit about FitBiomics and being an entrepreneur. What's a brand that you maybe look up to or that is your favorite and why?


Carolina Barsa (15:03.258)

Oh, that's a really great question.


Carolina Barsa (15:09.95)

I mean, there's so many different brands that I look at for different reasons. The ones that I use in my personal life, ones that I grew up admiring and, you know, my understanding of.


Carolina Barsa (15:27.906)

how much marketing goes into making things look and feel healthy when they're not necessarily good for you, whether it's ingredients in our cleaning products, our clothing. So I've gotten a little bit, what's the word? Well, no, I just, I'm a little bit, a little too green, not green, what's the word? No, like a tree, I don't.


Hemant Varshney (15:41.137)

InsideScoop.


Hemant Varshney (15:47.945)

JDIP.


Carolina Barsa (15:51.21)

Anyway, I think there are a lot of great brands out there that do great work and there are a lot of brands that are misleading. That being said, I think there's some really cool products and brands in the health and wellness space that are really exciting. And I mean, I haven't tried them and I've never met their founders, but this brand called Elix Healing.


I think what they're doing is really exciting. They basically are taking old school Chinese herbal medicine concepts and making it into these elixirs that are easy for everyone to use. And they're able to customize it based on these. And they're really addressing female hormonal needs and different issues that women might have. And you can do a survey and they customize it. So I just think their branding, their messaging, their founder story.


Carolina Barsa (16:43.18)

and she's always really open and honest so I just I think they're a really cool brand but there's so many that I again I don't want to ever talk bad about any brands but there's so many brands that I used to like adore and love that I used to use all the time and now I realize the reality of the ingredients in those brands and I just don't touch them so it's tough but


Hemant Varshney (17:03.209)

Yeah.


Yeah, it's-


Carolina Barsa (17:06.91)

It does not make it easy, right? Everything is so expensive. We make less money, inflation is out of control. Everything is more expensive. It's impossible to eat healthy or to, you know, have good clothing or whatever it is.


Hemant Varshney (17:17.075)

It's.


It's also, you know, like I think you mentioned this before and like from all of our conversations, we've spoken so much about integrity, like no, we can't do X or I don't wanna market this way because of integrity and it's, you know, it's really cool to see on the other end that like you're through and through about integrity and like, it's just cool, it's, you know, it's really nice. Just got a couple more questions for you.


Hemant Varshney (17:50.988)

What's one question you wish I had asked you and how would you answer it?


Carolina Barsa (17:56.534)

Loved. And...


Carolina Barsa (18:01.453)

I think.


Carolina Barsa (18:05.638)

I think one question that I'd love, well, I definitely want to pitch Vianella and explain the science behind that very quickly at some point. But I think one thing that I think is really powerful is just talking a little bit about the discrepancy in our society around inequity, around whether it's healthcare access to good healthy quality products. And that inequity is something that is really...


seen very much so in the health care space, especially when it comes to women and minorities. We know women are just much more impacted by various health conditions. I mean, when you think about insomnia, one in three people experience insomnia, two in three are experiencing sleep issues since COVID. But women actually are 40% more likely to experience insomnia than men. Women are less likely to get diagnosed correctly from a disease. And I think that there's a lot of


sleep health, digestive health. I mean, you were talking about yourself. I think it's 75% of women and 57 or 58% of men experience digestive issues, gastrointestinal issues. So I think just recognizing that and just being able to see and talk about the inequity, not just inequality, but inequity that happens and the importance of trying to drive shift, drive change to shift the mindset and the conversation.


She put more focus around women's health, understanding how different conditions impact different people and making solutions accessible to everybody, I think is something that I'm passionate about. That was a little long-winded so you guys can cut it up and make it sound, but that general gist is one area that I'm personally passionate about.


Hemant Varshney (19:48.698)

Hahaha.


Hemant Varshney (19:55.213)

And, you know, what I guess, you know, what do you think future steps are to help solve for this? Because there's multiple, you know, there are multiple different ways to do it. And I very much understand what, you know, the challenges. My fiance and I speak about this quite a bit. She does a lot of work in underprivileged communities. And then my mom is a doctor. She's worked for the UN.


she, you know, her entire MO is working in and for underprivileged communities. So I very much, you know, understand, yeah, very much understand, like, you know, helping people and maybe asking the right questions instead of, you know, from my conversations, it's very much like, hey,


Carolina Barsa (20:35.65)

Love that.


Hemant Varshney (20:55.165)

hey, let me sit down and understand your background and what is going on to give you a better diagnosis, maybe, right? Like I think a lot of that happens in more underprivileged communities, but yeah, like what are your thoughts? Where do you see this movement going?


Carolina Barsa (21:13.522)

Yeah, I think.


I think a couple of things. One, I do think there needs to be a shift in how our doctors are educated. Unfortunately, the reality is they're very much trained to just prescribe these prescription pills as opposed to thinking about lifestyle, nutrition, diet, exercise, all these things. So I think that's one area. I think another area is also around just continuing to really push for more funding into, there's a rise in female entrepreneurs, which is exciting. However, women still remain grossly underfunded when it comes to,


the reality of where most of the money goes. So that being said, I think making sure that we're continuing to empower female entrepreneurs, making sure that startups that are dedicated or businesses that are dedicated to really solving health issues for women or underprivileged communities and really talking about the why. I think this is something very personal for us. A lot of...


A lot of what's out there is addressing a symptom and masking it, putting a bandaid over a symptom. And what we're doing at FitBiomics is saying, no, we want to get to the root cause and fix what's at the root of everything because then everything else will start to get better. So I think continuing to really make sure that the money matches the conversation.


Hemant Varshney (22:24.665)

Yeah, amazing. I think just adding to that, I think good new, like creating good nutrition in a lot of underserved neighborhoods, right? Like I think this is happening across Detroit right now where there are big plots of land and now those plots of land in the city are being used to grow gardens, which in turn...


are creating like healthy, healthier product, which again, like you said, what is the root issue, right? It's what we're eating, it's what we're drinking. That is very, very important. And you're working on solving that challenge. I think for a lot of underprivileged communities across America, it's, you know, the food that folks are eating aren't maybe the best or is not maybe the best or not nutritious. There's...


uh, you know, uh, a lot of cheaper junk food option than healthier garden options that, you know, need to be more prevalent across the country. So, yeah.


Carolina Barsa (23:32.534)

Yeah, I think to build on that a little bit, it's not just people, I mean, even someone who's very educated and who might know what to look for. And you're like, well, I'm buying fruits and vegetables. I'm buying chicken, I'm cooking all this stuff. There's also, or I'm buying this healthy alternative.


Again, the reality is there's so much toxins in our food that lobby policies, lawmakers, like these things need to change to really control the infrastructure and the practices that go into the development of our food. So that way we are getting food. Like if you think about an apple today is not nearly the same nutritional content that it was 15, 20 years ago because of farming practices and because of this need for people to just churn out a lot of output.


Unfortunately, the farmers are suffering because the farmers that are trying to do it right are not getting the same Funding which is unfortunate, but I think I think there's a lot to a lot to really uncover and push I do also want to quickly just talk a little bit about Vianella which is coming out


Hemant Varshney (24:35.857)

Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Well, I would we'd love to, you know, hear about it. Yeah. Tell us.


Carolina Barsa (24:42.504)

Okay. So.


So VNL is actually what we discovered when we were at Harvard. And what's super exciting is Nella came out as a proof of concept, and we were amazed by what it was doing. And so it's been a game changer for so many people, which is great. But with VNL, what we're seeing from a functional aspect, what it does is it basically is a microbe that converts lactic acid into short-chain fatty acid. So taking something that is a byproduct of fatigue and turning it into an energy source for your body cells.


We did a pilot clinical study as well as a decentralized larger clinical study. And we're seeing consistent reports around people not only experiencing less fatigue, but also reports of them saying, I feel tired, are down significantly, people are exercising more. So we're also seeing this really interesting correlation of motivation to exercise. We're doing a couple of grants over at Harvard now where we're continuing to study the impact of Viannella and how it can really support for.


insulin resistance. So a lot of really exciting opportunities for VNL to support.


I mean, the feedback we're getting is out of this world, and hopefully we'll be able to share all of the studies officially very soon, but really exciting results. Our pilot clinical study has been published, but our decentralized study, which has amazing results, will be published hopefully in the next six months or so, I'm hoping.


Hemant Varshney (26:34.677)

Amazing.


Carolina Barsa (26:34.774)

But yeah, it's really exciting and that product should be coming out this summer. So if anyone's interested in trying it, they can actually potentially try it. We can send you a link for where people can sign up to get seated with some Viannela and all we ask in return is for feedback.


Hemant Varshney (26:49.545)

Amazing and Carolina for our listeners, where can everybody find you and where can they find FitBiomics?


Carolina Barsa (26:59.454)

Yeah, so you can find us at fitbiomics.com. We're also on social media at FitBiomics, F-I-T-B-I-O-M-I-C-S. And I'd love to also have all of your listeners get access to Nella with a discount code so we can create a discount code for your, you'd let me know what the code you want it to be. It could be Digicom and we can, there you go. So we'll do a 30% discount for Digicom and people can try Nella and get some of the best sleep of their life.


Hemant Varshney (27:19.173)

Digicom. Digicom!


Hemant Varshney (27:29.193)

Amazing. Thank you for jumping on the show with us today.


Carolina Barsa (27:32.342)

Thank you for having me.


Hemant Varshney (27:33.973)

course.


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