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Founder Feature: Valerie Milovic

“Better than coffee” might sound like heresy to some of us who know more about our baristas than our roommates. But that is exactly what Valerie Milovic, founder of Better Than Coffee, boldly proclaims of her line of caffeine-loaded energy bars.

“In my previous work experience in corporate IT, I was always on the go, working long hours and downing coffee and energy drinks to make it through. When I realized that drinking a couple of Red Bulls a day was not in line with my health goals, I decided to look for something better,” Valerie says.

Her work took her all over, from her native France to the UK, Morocco, and Bulgaria. Everywhere she went, Valerie checked out the regional offerings in energy enhancement products. What she found worked best were two ingredients from another part of the world.

“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,” explains Valerie.

But she didn’t just turn these super foods into another energy drink. Understanding that portability is key, Valerie crafted a line of delicious, bittersweet bars containing these ingredients.

“Three years and over 3,000 homemade bars later, the Better Than Coffee concept came to life. We partnered with food industry experts to adhere to the strictest international regulations and to scrutinize every ingredient. Our R&D team rejected countless recipes before arriving at the guarana- and maca-powered bars we make today,” Valerie recalls.

Better Than Coffee has a slew of athlete ambassadors who swear by the bar. Among them are some badass women: Tiffany Rose Mockler, former US National Synchronized Swimming Team member and current pole dance instructor; Shannon Mick, ultramarathoner; and Heather Gollnick, professional triathlete, winner of five Ironman titles, and owner of Iron Edge Coaching.

Valerie contends that her corporate software sales experience was excellent preparation for her new career as an entrepreneur. Leading international sales teams in different parts of the world and working incredibly long hours has some overlap with the requirements of the founder’s life.

Stepping away from the demands of the corporate world has allowed for some newfound mellowness for this lady boss.

“I love knowing that each day brings something new. I am generally a positive person but living on the ocean side in Los Angeles makes it particularly easy to get out of bed in the mornings. The older I get the more I enjoy the 'little things' in life, a smile, a moment with a friend, a walk at the beach,” Valerie says.

The importance of connection is one of the reasons Valerie is delighted to be a member of The F Project. 

“We need others to grow and being part of a community is essential to me. We are stronger when we support and are supported.”

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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