That Worked Out Well: Quest Nutrition Sells for $1 Billion, 9 Years After Founding – Inc.


In announcing today’s deal, the Simply Good Foodsplaceholder Co. said Quest expects revenues of $345 million this year. Like Quest, Simply Good is a well-known maker of protein bars. It sells under the brand names Atkins and Simply Protein. The Quest brand is stronger among younger, urban consumers, while Atkins appeals to an older, suburban crowd.

Quest was started by Tom Bilyeu, Ron Penna, and Mike Osborn, all software industry veterans, in 2010. Their first protein-packed nutrition bars duplicated a recipe devised by Penna’s wife Shannan Penna, then a fitness trainer. The company’s initial growth was driven by free handouts to fitness influencers, and the fitness industry would remain a bedrock of its customer base. As Quest grew, it branched into foods such as low-carb, high protein chips and even pizza.

Quest has been widely referred to as a billion-dollar company since at least 2015, so the price may actually come as a disappointment to some. The founders managed to bootstrap the company until 2015, when it cut a deal with VMG, a private equity firm. That deal reportedly valued the company at about $900 million. 

The founders of Quest were not immediately available for comment.

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