Simple Mills

How chronic pain and a bad diet inspired this fast-growing startup

Food & Beverage
$5.4 million

Katlin Smith was in high school when she started experiencing joint pain. Around the time she turned 21, she consulted a doctor who couldn't diagnose the aches but hypothesized that they were likely growing pains. Smith didn't buy it. She talked with people who experienced similar symptoms and they suggested that processed foods could be the culprit. She started inspecting the ingredients of items at the grocery store and found words she couldn't pronounce. She cut processed foods and sugars from her diet and the joint pain lessened, she had more energy, and her seasonal allergies dissipated. She felt a difference after a few days and was inspired to create Simple Mills, a company that sells snacks and baking mixes that are free of gluten, grain, soy, and GMOs. Every ingredient on the back of the box is something familiar. Smith started with muffins and the brand has grown to include crackers, pizza dough, artisan bread mix, and even frosting. "If there is something you're passionate about and it can have an impact on people and it's not just something that people want, but something they need, go and pursue it," Smith says. --Emily Canal