We've seen personalization sweep across many industries, from beauty to fashion, to tech, health an travel. Unsurprisingly, it's now taken the wellness world by storm too, particularly nutrition. Taking care of your body is serious business, especially for entrepreneurs, SO it's no wonder that startups capitalizing on this trend are cropping up with increasing regularity. DayTwo, for example, collects stool samples and tailors a diet to individuals based on their gut microbes. There's also STYR, who monitor physical activity and send you bespoke supplements based on what your body needs. And then there's Habit - a new nutrition service that merges the best of two words: personalized nutrition and food delivery, who recently received a $32 million cash injection from Campbells Soup.
Habit was developed by seasoned and serial entrepreneur Neil Grimmer (who built and sold Plum Organics for $249 million), Habit is redefining our expectations of personalized nutrition. The service starts with a highly scientific analysis of how your body processes and metabolizes food (involving one saliva sample and three blood samples interspersed between an immensely rich and calorific nutrition shake). From this, Habit can ascertain how your body metabolizes certain foods. They then use this data this to create bespoke nutrition plan for their users. Grimmer got the idea after going on a personal journey with health, during a particularly unhealthy period in his life. After spending some time with a personal nutritionist, he realized that his tailored, specific eating plan, backed by science, should be available to everyone. And so Habit was born. I got a chance to chat to Grimmer to discuss Habit and soak up some advice for other entrepreneurs looking to build a thriving business.
#1 Own The Ecosystem
After creating a bespoke eating plan, based on your biometrics, Habit then offers an opt-in meal delivery service, with meals designed for your body type and a health coaching service to help keep you on track. While 23 and Me and Blue Apron have both been around for a while, Habit combines two emerging fields; meal delivery and biometric data, in a way that puts consumers in control. In doing so, we can see the semblance of a wellness ecosystem, owned from start to finish. Habit will give you the personalized data that you need to create a wellness plan, the meals to eat and a coach to keep you on track. In the future, Grimmer sees potential partnerships with companies like Fitbit and other wellness apps to help expand their footprint. Ecosystems are not only a financial solid model (just think about Apple), they are help to boost compliance and get results.
#2 Make The Data Meaningful
It makes sense that anything that's personalized to you, with detailed actions, will feel intuitive and become easy to follow. Especially when comparing it to generic advice from a nutritionist or doctor. The level of personalization Habit offers is made possible by data. And while there's more data than ever before, Grimmer sees Habit's role as helping to make sense of that data. He says, "We're here to take data and turn it into wisdom. That means giving clear guidance and direction that will inspire people to make healthier choices." Without insight or action plans, data is useless. It's all about the action the data inspires.
#3 Prioritize A Kickass Customer Experience
Habit recognized early on that customer experience would be the difference in people using the produce routinely, or using it as a one-off gimmick. To ensure they created a memorable, beautiful experience, their third hire was a designer. Their role was to infuse personality and stickiness at every stage of the journey. Grimmer says, "Every touch point should be highly personalized and highly seductive." And it deliver. For example, even the test kit is engaging. It is fashioned after a book, with sleek, stylish pages representing a new chapter to help extract the story of your body.
#4 Live The Brand
Habit is not just talking about optimized nutrition - they are living it every day. Their office is designed to ensure the team understands the company's goal - to help people unlock the best version of themselves through nutrition - at an intuitive level. There is a big, open kitchen where ideas and meals are shared and a gym for yoga and crossfit in the back. Teams that are normally siloed work alongside each other so ideas cross-pollinate and innovation thrives; the engineers are only separated from the food preparation area by a big glass wall. Grimmer is adamant that working side by side helps everyone work towards the same goal. He says, "We are all unique and different and we should harness what's unique and different in us to be the best." No matter how busy things get, every week, there is a company huddle to share out news and reinforce the company culture.