Meet Casey Nunnelly and Sabina Rizzo, CU Boulder alumnae and co-founders of Byte Bars, the no-regrets vegan energy bar. Casey and Sabina both attended CU Boulder and studied Communication, where Casey was also a member of the CU Women’s Ice Hockey team.
About Byte Bars
Casey and Sabina moved to Colorado to build a healthier lifestyle. The cousin duo couldn’t find a satisfying snack that could keep up. So, they made Byte Bars.
Casey didn’t envision herself becoming an entrepreneur, she always saw herself working in the athletic industry as a hockey coach or even a fitness instructor. As a child, she wanted to be the first female baseball player! She has found that Byte Bars allows her to explore all of those careers in a similar way. When asked where the idea for Byte Bars came from, Casey shared that Byte Bars was inspired by their grandfather, Herman Dupre, who founded HKD Snowmakers and loved the mountains. Taking after their grandfather’s love for the mountains and nature, Casey and Sabina wanted to make a product to benefit the very same community. Byte Bars are made with only raw, vegan, and delicious ingredients to keep you moving throughout the day.
When asked where the idea for Byte Bars came from, Casey shared:
“Growing up, being an athlete was a big part of my life. Energy bars were always a quick and easy snack before practice or games. I was never stoked on any of the energy bar options, so I started making my own at home with a food processor and five ingredients. Once I moved to Denver and partnered with my cousin Sabina, Byte Bars went from a concept to a reality.”
The newly partnered co-founders hired Ordinary Things, a local graphic design team based in Boulder, to assist them with branding. They launched their product in 2019 by starting off in small coffee shops, including the Laughing Goat at Norlin Library, as well as taking orders on their website. This past October, the cousin-duo launched Byte Bars in Whole Foods stores across Colorado. This was their first large retailer and a huge step for the company!
As of now, Byte Bars is primarily run by Casey and Sabina. Casey’s older brother Cam assists with financials and they have also recently hired someone to manage their promotions and publicity.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey noticed people are shopping in stores less and shifting more towards e-commerce. Byte Bars joined Snack Magic, an online snack box company that allows businesses such as Google, Amazon, Netflix, Snapchat, and Spotify to gift their employees a customizable snack box. This partnership has been very beneficial in building brand awareness and expanding the online presence for Byte Bars.
As things continue to make the shift online, Casey and Sabina continue to reevaluate ways to strengthen their website and e-commerce methods.
Future Plans and Upcoming Projects
The cousin duo is working towards saturating the natural energy bar market! Casey and Sabina have big goals for the Byte brand and hope to continue to strengthen their online presence and grocery channels nationwide. They are thankful for the relationships and opportunities that have been given to them so far and are excited to continue to expand their network!
This summer, Byte Bars will be featured at Yoga on the Rocks every Saturday and Sunday starting June 5th through August 1st. Make sure to check the Red Rocks website for reservations to attend!
Advice for Current Students
Casey and Sabina provided the following advice for current students and entrepreneurs:
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is to use your network. Talking to people about their mistakes in the past is also extremely helpful because it can help you grow. Make sure that you are always reaching out, being persistent, and putting yourself in front of people. I even sent a handwritten letter to Whole Foods after being ignored several times and I feel that’s what really did it for us.” - Casey
“When you commit to doing something, put your soul into it. Enjoy the process! Learn from your mistakes and successes alike, and listen to constructive feedback. Make yourself irreplaceable without losing humanity.” - Sabina