The driving force behind one of today’s fastest-growing beauty brands, Huda and Mona Kattan are known for changing the beauty game – building a billion-dollar Huda Beauty brand out of Dubai. And it seems like they’re not quite done with their ambitions just yet. Following their launch of HB Investments, an initiative that builds more global businesses, the sisters are funding and mentoring entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness industries, with the first launch introducing us all to Ketish.
It’s no surprise that they’ve been long-time advocates of holistic wellness, so it only made sense that their second venture to launch out of the HB Angels Investment incubator be one that reflects positively on both the mind and body.
After two years in the making, the new HB Angels brand is called Humantra, a global supplements brand on a mission. Founded by Dave Catudal, a passionate health educator and entrepreneur, Humantra offers a supplement-buying experience unlike any other while addressing 4 key pillars of health: hydration, gut health, brain health and sleep. Bringing awareness and knowledge to the people that want to take ownership of their health, Humantra is bound to elevate health and wellness journeys, starting with its first hero product, Hydration Hack.
Now that it’s finally available in the region, we got the chance to speak to Dave about the brand’s debut, how his road to living a healthy life came from a plethora of obstacles, the Kattan sisters’ ultimate advice and starting a global movement with Humantra.
Congratulations on the launch! Can you tell us about Humantra and what it offers?
Thank you! We’re thrilled to bring Humantra to life. We’re here to raise the bar for supplement quality and health education, teaching people to become more empowered about their lifestyle and health choices. The supplement industry is so impersonal and product focused — but we exist to change that. We’re health coaches above all, and we educate first, and produce supplements that support the most important pillars of health: hydration, gut health, and sleep.
What are some of the brand ethos?
Our brand ethos is to put the same amount of integrity and care into our formulas and customer service as we do with our own wellness. We never take shortcuts on quality, and we make supplements that we take and want our family and friends to take. We only produce formulas that we’re extremely proud of.
Can you tell us about the origins of the name, Humantra?
Humantra has a deep meaning for us. We really wanted to create a brand that puts community first, and one that acknowledges the mental and physical challenges we all face as humans. The “Human” part of Humantra symbolizes the fact that we are all humans, trying our best to navigate life, health, and happiness, and we’re all learning as part of an evolving journey.
“Mantra” is symbolic of our habits and our life’s path. Our lifestyle is the result of our habits, and a mantra is something that we repeatedly do. We like to teach by example, and we teach that the quality of our habits dictates the level of our wellness. Combined, Humantra symbolizes unity, collaboration, and the journey that we’re all on together.
You’ve had quite a challenging path. Can you tell us a little bit of that ‘backstory’?
I grew up in a very active family but there were definitely some health challenges. My family was hit hard with cancer. My younger brother, Phil, fought Leukaemia for several years from the age of 4, finally being cured at the age of 9. A few years later, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 Adenocarcinoma at the young age of 46 and passed away less than a year later. I was then diagnosed with testicular cancer in my early twenties, which was successfully treated but left me unable to have children.
How did your previous challenges shape you, your career and the way you look at life now?
As challenging as it was dealing with so much cancer in one family, I’m grateful for this experience because it strengthened me and made my purpose and mission unshakably clear: to help people live healthy lives and avoid the illness that my family experienced. My father died when I was 17 and since then, I’ve been on an obsessive pursuit to learn everything possible about nutrition, natural healing, and the power of the mind. All of this experience has allowed me to expand my perspective with regards to the emotional/physical health connection and helped me be more compassionate and effective as a health educator.
Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with health now?
I look at wellness from an emotional and mental health perspective now above all because I learned that illness starts in the mind, and manifests through the body. We are spiritual beings in a physical body, and our emotions are the driving force behind our habits and ultimately, our health. The state of our mood and our mindset is so important. I now spend more time on my emotional fitness and less time on my physical fitness, and I’m healthier than ever since making this shift.
“As challenging as it was dealing with so much cancer in one family, I’m grateful for this experience because it strengthened me and made my purpose and mission unshakably clear: to help people live healthy lives and avoid the illness that my family experienced.”
What would be the first thing you’d advise to those looking to improve their health?
Don’t overcomplicate it. Improving your health is a very simple formula. Being healthy is a product of consistency and accountability, so my advice to everyone is to focus on progress, be patient and be disciplined. It’s a journey, and you stay focused and keep yourself accountable because nobody can do your 10 thousand daily steps or push-ups for you.
If you could start a movement that would bring people together, is it through Humantra? If not, what would it be?
That’s a great question. Actually, the original brand name that I had for Humantra was Uniti. My vision is to bring people together and raise the collective consciousness of healthy living, which radiates outwards when you start building a community. I’ve already noticed that Humantra has a special magic to it — it’s a vibe. You can’t fake it, buy it or fund it… it’s a sense of authentic purpose and the clear desire to serve others. I’m so thankful that Humantra is already resonating with so many people, and we’re just getting started!
Can you please tell us about the support that you have received from HB Angels and what it has enabled you to do?
Being with HBI is a blessing because it allows a creative and passionate founder like me to access really smart people that understand the business and economic aspects of building a brand. I was a solo entrepreneur for many years and limited myself and my creations due to not having the support and infrastructure. Now with HBI, I can finally “get out there” and share my health formulas and education with the world, in a sustainable and scalable way.
How much advice have you received from the Kattan sisters themselves?
The family are incredibly supportive of my big picture vision and ambitious goals for raising the bar in the supplement industry, and I can always personally reach out to them for advice. As Humantra grows, knowing that I can leverage their experience and knowledge, gives me a huge amount of confidence because they have built an empire that started as a blog. They are more than just investors; they truly understand the challenges that new businesses face, and they know how to overcome them.
Mona is part of the Humantra’s journey after meeting in 2019, is that correct? If so, can you tell us a little bit about that first encounter?
I met Mona through a mutual friend, who recommended me as a health coaching and breathwork guide. I immediately loved her energy and could see that she had a huge heart and just wanted to help people. We connected on a personal level in a way that gives our business partnership today more substance than your typical investor/founder dynamic. The Humantra journey started from there!
Where would you like to see Humantra, one year from now?
One year from now I want to see Humantra even more involved in CSR, giving back through charities and making an impact as health educators in the UAE and the Middle East. Humantra as a brand can amplify our effect and help us accomplish our mission to hydrate the world!
Lastly, what is a quote that you live by?
I wouldn’t say I live by it, but a quote that really resonates with me is Henry Ford’s words: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” To me this pretty much says it all: everything is in our mind.
To shop and discover more, please visit Gethumantra.com.