The PowerBar company was founded by Brian Maxwell, a Canadian athlete and entrepreneur, in his kitchen with his girlfriend, Jennifer Biddulph, a nutritionist who later became his wife. He used $55,000 in cash to launch the company in 1986 in Berkeley, California. This was the first "energy bar" for use by endurance athletes, such as ultra marathoners and cyclists, while competing. This spawned a new category of food products that are now widely used as snack foods. He eventually acquired a headquarters building in downtown Berkeley.
The company eventually earned $150 million in sales before being purchased by Nestlé in 2000 for $375 million.
In February 2007, PowerBar moved its headquarters from Berkeley, CA to the Nestle headquarters in Glendale, CA. With the move came the hiring of an entirely new marketing team.