The Proof
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Eric Marcotulli, Founder at Elysium

 
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Eric Marcotulli is the CEO & Co-Founder of Elysium Health, a life sciences company developing revolutionary health products based on advances in aging research and technology to help people live healthier, longer. Its first product, Basis, is a DTC supplement that restores NAD+ levels and activates what are known as our longevity genes — sirtuins. 

Prior to founding Elysium, Eric was a partner at Sequoia Capital, leading the firm’s growth investments in mobile tech. Elysium Health has over $30 million in venture financing from General Catalyst, Sound Ventures, Mayo Clinic Ventures, and private investors.

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On his morning ritual. I am among (what I would imagine to be) a small number of people who do their best not to have a morning routine. For most of my life, my mornings were rather structured due to external factors, and I forced myself to keep to a set morning routine in an attempt to better manage my productivity. When it worked, and, for example, I was able to dedicate time to meditation or fitness, I felt great. When it didn’t, however, due to travel, meetings, or other obligations, I felt an unnecessary sense of guilt. 

Over the last year, I’ve tried to work with my chronotype instead of fight it — something that one of our scientific advisory board members, Russell Foster, a leading sleep neuroscientist, really advocates for. I’m more of a night owl than a morning person, so I’ve condensed my “routine” into the things I have to get done and can do almost every day, regardless of time constraints. I have since found that better and more restful sleep, along with a greater and more relaxed view of what defines a productive morning, have led to improvements in efficiency, creativity, and my overall sense of self. 

When I’m in NYC, I’m usually at the office within the first hour of getting out of bed. Before I arrive, I review recent scientific articles and daily newsletters while I have tea or coffee, and I share the most relevant ones with my team. I always walk to work listening to a podcast — Planet Money, Rhonda Patrick’s FoundMyFitness, and Should This Exist? are among my favorites.

On longevity & aging. It's my belief that health, and the health of those about whom you care, is the single most important thing in life. At Elysium, we believe that advancements in aging science will completely redefine how we think about health itself — and we are very much at a tipping point in the field of aging. My favorite framing of where we are in the field estimates we are today in aging research where we were with the internet in the early 1990s, or cancer in the early 2000s, but the opportunity in “solving” aging represents something many orders of magnitude larger.

As a lifelong athlete, I have been interested in health for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I was in business school, however, and we studied a life sciences company called Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, that I took a serious interest in the field of aging. Sirtris was among the first legitimate efforts to translate advancements in the area of longevity into tangible products and therapies. Aging was no longer an abstract concept or this amorphous, unstoppable force, but the amalgamation of a series of identifiable processes. 

At the time, there had already been one Nobel Prize awarded for key discoveries related to human aging, and the world’s top researchers, universities, and hospitals were all studying ways to intervene in the aging process — to slow, stop, or reverse aging itself. Aging wasn’t about old age anymore, but a window into an entirely new way to think about our health and the health of every living thing on earth.

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On his core wellness habits. Not surprisingly, and like many others, I've experimented with different ways to be healthier for most of my life, without stripping out all of the things that make life worth living. In the last year, I’ve adopted time-based intermittent fasting on a 20:4 schedule to try to gain some of the benefits associated with calorie restriction without completely depriving myself. 

For strength training, I follow the 5/3/1 method or the conjugate method of training as developed by Westside Barbell. (Side note: there’s a really interesting documentary about Westside Barbell, which originated a lot of the plans used by strength and power athletes. For the sake of full disclosure, the documentary and the training methods are not for the faint of heart). With respect to endurance and cardiovascular training, I am an avid follower of Izumi Tabata and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) methods. Admittedly, I am not the happiest doing intense cardiovascular activity, so I prefer those methods which are short and most efficient.

In addition to Basis, I take 5,000 IUs of vitamin D a day. I am also always searching for new products like Basis — those that can act as interventions in the aging process. In that spirit, I take a series of our pipeline products as we develop, study, and refine them.

On leading with science. When we chose to launch Elysium with a consumer product, we did so knowing that establishing the DNA of the company was critical both to the success of our product Basis and for Elysium as a brand more broadly. Most consumer companies, especially those in the “supplement” space, are effectively ghosts. You can’t identify a single team member, let alone individual members responsible for research, product development, and quality. You can’t find research supporting their products and formulations, and you certainly can’t reach a real human being to answer any of your questions.

For that reason, we knew that the first thing to do was to build a team of the world’s best scientists, internally and as advisors, to identify novel, natural compounds, guide product development, and inform our clinical trials. Second, we wanted to set a new standard for quality and purity for consumer products by establishing a supply chain that exceeded guidelines set by the FDA and was validated by third-parties. Third, we committed to performing clinical trials on our own products, which we think should be standard for every product that people put in or on their bodies. 

Often, in the rare case where a consumer-facing company cites clinical trial research, they are leveraging the work of others — and, almost always, the formulation, dosage, and delivery method are entirely different. While something like that would be obvious to any scientist or clinician, it’s a practice that’s clearly meant to mislead consumers into a false sense of security that we refused to perpetuate.

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On disconnecting from tech. I'm an always-on kind of person, so can relate to those who have a difficult time disconnecting. This is especially true as a business founder since I feel that remaining connected is always about doing something in service of Elysium. I have found that it requires a significant shift (something incremental unfortunately does not work), so I take at least one solo vacation each year that’s focused on rest, relaxation, and separation. 

On the more specific, tech-focused side of things, and in the interest of improving my sleep quality, I make a concerted effort to avoid checking my phone when I’m meant to be sleeping. Until I’m ready to wake up, my phone stays facedown.

On his sleep ritual. I cannot go to sleep without a satisfying dinner, especially given my implementation of a 20:4 fast routine. With my time-restricted eating schedule, I try to stop eating at least 4-5 hours before going to bed but work-related dinners don’t always allow for that. No matter my schedule, I ensure that I have at least an hour to unwind at the end of the day and let my body rest before sleep. 

Additionally, I find a daily meditation practice prior to sleep is beneficial for me — I’m much more regimented about following an evening routine than a morning routine, and meditation is a big part of that.

Eric Marcotulli, CEO & Co-Founder at Elysium Health