One-size-fit-all diets don’t work, which is why SNPitty is looking crack the personalized nutrition code. Designed to help people loose weight and keep it off, the company sequences your DNA to develop a program that works best with your metabolism, delivers personalized, nutritionist-developed shakes and bars to your door and provides ongoing app-based, psychologist-designed coaching to help you overcome your cravings. The product is currently in Beta.
As we get ready for FoodBytes! San Francisco, the premiere food startup pitch competition taking place in San Francisco on March 16, we are spoke with SNPitty CEO Landon Steele, who will be pitching at the event. Our interview is below and has been edited slightly for clarity.
Want to see SNPitty and 19 other game-changing food and ag startups pitch? Snag your ticket to FoodBytes! SF on Thursday, March 16 for 20% off with the code FTC HERE!
Danielle Gould: What problem does your company solve?
Landon Steele: We solve the problems of weight-loss and weight maintenance. Obesity is an increasing pandemic and current approaches are not working. We take an ultra-personalized approach combining genetics, psychological profiling (food personality), personalized meal replacement, and neuroscientist developed coaching.
DG: Why is your team qualified to solve those problems?
LS: The founders have a personal passion for the product, having both had our own weight-loss and associated health journeys. We want to use science to make it easier for others. We are biotech and health-care veterans with experience building companies from the ground up. Tony has a PhD in molecular genetics, and Landon has a Master’s in biochemical engineering. Tony was most recently VP of BD at Solazyme, and Landon was COO and founder at a healthcare company that recently had a successful exit.
Our scientific advisory board are luminaries in their fields. We have connected the most progressive thinkers in this area to create a revolutionary solution to one of the world’s most intractable problems – how to lose weight and keep it off. Our business advisory board includes PR and marketing, software engineering, product design and business strategy.
DG: Who are your target customers?
LS: Our target customers are older (35+), mass affluent and interested in weight loss. Traditional weight loss companies target women more than men, but we believe that SNPitty’s high tech approach will appeal to both. We have directly addressable market of over $3 billion just in the US.
DG: How does each component of your service work (i.e. DNA test, your algorithms, meals and coaching)?
LS: 1. “Test You”: We test the following to develop a unique report on the diet that will work best for your metabolism.
- Your genetic profile is assessed using an in-home saliva kit (similar to 23AndMe and Ancestry.com)
- Your food personality is assessed using online structured psychologist designed questionnaires
- Your baseline weight and activity are assessed using simple questionnaires and (eventually) via smart phone and wearable integration
- Your life-style preferences (e.g. vegetarian, like to cook) are measured via a simple questionnaire.
2. “Feed You”: We provide personalized prepackaged breakfast and lunch meal replacements (shakes and bars). We also provide personalized recipes from a curated database of 1.5M recipes (via partner).
3. “Support You”: We offer you personalized, psychologist-designed, app-based coaching (via a partner with
experience in app based health-care compliance). You also have access to a personalized gamified way to reduce unhealthy food cravings (currently subject of a patent application) and community support.
DG: What research do you use to inform nutritional recommendations?
LS: We use a combination of primary peer reviewed academic literature and proprietary research from our scientific advisory board as the basis for our recommendations. For example, in peer reviewed studies, subjects on a gene appropriate diet have had 220% more fat loss than those on a gene inappropriate diet. App-based, gamified training has been shown to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods; brain imaging studies showed a change in reward centers, and the subjects lost more weight than controls! SNPitty will bring this cutting edge research out of the lab and to consumers. This is the subject of a patent filing.
DG: What specific genes do you evaluate to personalize recommendations?
LS: Many of the genes we use to personalize weight-loss recommendations are derived from primary research and prospective clinical trials in the genetics of weight-loss. However, the way in which we combine these is proprietary and the subject of patent filings, so we cannot disclose them at this point.
DG: Have you conducted clinical trials for SNPitty? If so, what were the results and have you published the results in a peer-reviewed journal? If not, do you have any plans to offer a clinical trial?
LS: Members of our scientific advisory board have carried out clinical trials on the nutrigenetics of and psychology of weight-loss. We are leveraging these and other proprietary studies to create the SNPitty platform. We have filed IP and plan to carry out clinical trials using customer volunteers.
DG: Let’s talk food. Who designs your meals? Where is the food produced? How is it delivered?
LS: We are working with a number of food partners to develop delicious personalized meal replacements that match our gene appropriate nutrient profiles. For example, one such partner is Step One Foods, the leading therapeutic food brand in the US. We are co- developing delicious, convenient, personalized meal replacements bars.
DG: What challenges are you facing with launching SNPitty, and how are you overcoming them? Do you anticipate any regulatory hurdles?
LS: Our biggest challenge at this point is raising the capital to turn our vision into a huge commercial reality. We are have had tremendous response from every consumer we have talked to both informally and as part of focus groups. Now it is time to find the right early investors who understand our big vision, and who can provide the funds and mentoring to launch the product into the stratosphere.We have regulatory experience (novel food ingredients, skin care, and healthcare). We have a strong basis for believing that we will not be subject to FDA regulation.
DG: What differentiates SNPitty from other personalized nutrition startups like Habit and DayTwo?
LS: While SNPitty’s approach is unique and differentiated, we believe that personalized nutrition is a whole new industry with explosive growth potential, and there is room for many players Specifically, neither Habit nor DayTwo focus on weight-loss and weight maintenance. Neither incorporates psychology as part of their personalization and neither has packaged meal replacements as part of their business model (Habit is planning fresh meal delivery, similar to Munchery).
DG: Why are you participating in FoodBytes! San Francisco?
LS: We were excited to find FoodBytes since they and their audience are in our sweet-spot at the intersection of delicious food and science, just like SNPitty. We know that innovative food companies are looking for cutting edge approaches to help people take control of their weight and their wellness. FoodBytes will be the catalyst for a healthier future for SNPitty’s customers!
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Author: Danielle Gould