Julian Hearn's Bio

About me in 10 seconds

Julian Hearn

Hello, my name is Julian and I’m the Founder and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Huel.

I built my first company (Mash up Media) from scratch as the sole founder with $1,875 investment. Within three years Mash up Media was making over $3m profit per year, and I successfully sold it to Internetbrands in 2011.

I’m now the founder of Huel which I bootstrapped to over $50m in revenue, and a valuation of $275m within four years of launch. We've just completed our 8th year in which we generated $231m rev + EBITDA profitable.


Quick timeline to get you up to speed

  • 1972: Born in Buckinghamshire, England.
  • 1988: Graduated school at 16 with virtually no qualifications (I barely got good enough grades to make it to University).
  • 1988: Worked in a store for a year.
  • 1989: Worked as a laborer - dug holes in the road for two years.
  • 1991: Girlfriend said I was too sharp to dig holes, so went to college.
  • 1993: Graduated college with distinction, couldn't land a job, so headed to university.
  • 1996: Graduated university with a honors.
  • 1997-2008: Climbed the marketing ladder to become Head of Marketing (Starbucks, Tesco, Waitrose, MFI, Emap, etc.).
  • 2008: Kicked off my first company with a $1,875 personal investment.
  • 2011: Sold Mash up Media to Internetbrands for a multiple of the $3m annual profit it was raking in its third year.
  • 2012: Launched next business, Bodyhack.
  • 2013: Put Bodyhack on pause and started working on Huel.
  • 2015:  Huel hit the market on June 17th, straight out of my garage.
  • 2018: After bootstrapping Huel to $50m annual run rate we took $25m investment from Highland Europe, putting the company's value at $275m.

Why I created Huel

I wanted to create something I was proud of.

My first business was a cash generator, it solved my objective at the time to make my family financially secure, but it wasn’t a business I was proud of.

Huel is completely different; money wasn’t the objective. Sure, the lifeblood of a business is money, but Huel is so much more than that. Even if it were a tenth of the size I would still be into it just as much.

I wanted to create a business that did the right thing for the planet, for its staff, and most importantly for its customers. I wanted to create a brand that people would be proud to be associated with.

The litmus tests were:

  1. would my friends use and wear the clothing unprompted
  2. would my son be proud and tell his friends “my daddy runs Huel”

Both have been achieved.

How I grew Huel

Making a success and creating a brand isn’t easy. Here are my top tips.

  • Take Action – Inaction equals zero chances. Reading, researching, and planning are useful, but they're not starting. Act now, get a product to market ASAP to learn from real customers.
  • Work your arse off – Success demands effort. No shortcuts. Do every job in the business for at least the first 6 months so you can teach the next person how to do it the way you want it done. Become obsessed for a certain period. 
  • Make customers happy – Understand customer needs, talk to them, be a customer yourself, engage on social media, and deliver what they want.
  • Create a powerful and enduring mission – A clear, concise mission is your north star. It aligns the entire company in the same direction.
  • Build a Beloved Brand – the late Steve Jobs said “People buy brands, not products.” Create a strong brand, be proud, and care about every detail. 
  • Remember, brand is every touch point – The product, the look and feel, the way you speak to customers, the delivery box, emails, website, adverts, etc.
  • Speed Matters Learn to get things done quickly, set short deadlines, and hustle. In a competitive race, aim to work faster and smarter.
  • Don't be afraid to fail – Everyone fails. Huel isn't my first company, but it's the most successful because I've learned from failures along the way.
  • Overcome Barriers Creatively Expect new problems daily. Mark a new path by creatively solving problems and overcoming barriers. Don't take no for an answer.
  • Find Lasting Motivation Startups are tough. Without a burning motivator, you'll struggle to last. Keep a powerful motivator to endure the challenges.
  • Cultivate a Strong Culture A great team builds a great company. Create a culture where the best people want to work. Write a culture document early on, defining your DNA and expected team behavior. 
  • Stay Innovative – Never rest on your laurels. Competitors improve, so must you to stay ahead. Stay hungry, keep pushing, and keep innovating, or another brand will steal your lunch.

As featured in…

Awards I've received

TV and radio appearances

Press coverage about me

  • Forbes – profile of Huel with some quotes from me
  • GQ - Secrets of the hyper productive
  • Business insider – about the raise and some quotes
  • Evening Standard - the background on how I set up Huel
  • Wired – profile of Huel with some quotes from me
  • Elite Business – a very in-depth article about me
  • The Times – profile of Huel and I (requires sign-up)
  • The Telegraph – some quotes from me
  • Telegraph – about the $25m raise and some quotes from me
  • Mr Porter – a profile on me and my first stab at professional modelling ;)

Podcast interviews I've done

Podcasts I listen to...

  • The High Performance Podcast - Elevate your entrepreneurial game with insights from top sportspeople and entrepreneurs. Learn their non-negotiable behaviors, how they reach the pinnacle, and how they stay there.
  • The Diary Of A CEO by Steven Bartlett - UK's top business podcast with a stellar guest lineup. Steven, a remarkable entrepreneur, founded Social Chain and took it public for about $250m before turning 29. PS. episode 35 is particularly good!
  • This Week in Startups - My favorite, pivotal in my journey. With over 900 episodes, it's a treasure trove of startup wisdom that'll keep you engaged.
  • How to Start a Startup - From Y Combinator, the most successful incubator. Only 20 videos, but packed with actionable advice, a must-watch for startups.
  • Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders - Stanford University's podcast featuring Steve Blank, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Ballmer, and more. An old but gold collection, a cost-effective alternative to a Stanford degree.
  • How I built this - Dive into the stories of big companies like Airbnb, Shopify, and Dyson. While light on actionable advice, it provides insights into the entire journey.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show - Hosted by the author of the 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss deconstructs world-class performers across various fields to extract actionable tactics, tools, and routines.
  • The James Altucher Show - An intriguing podcast with a diverse guest range, from business to authors and psychologists. Get different views and perspectives from the norm.

  • Venture Voice - An oldie but goodie, featuring excellent guests like Reid Hoffman and Derek Sivers.

  • The Kevin Rose Show - A "podcast for the curious," where Kevin Rose interviews technologists, scientists, meditators, and productivity hackers, offering valuable insights.

Places to find me

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