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As a product-centric engineer, I’ve always loved building things that can help other people. I founded my first company, Trusted Childcare, in 2014 — creating a marketplace that could make life easier for busy parents.
It gave me my first taste of the “startup bug” that would fuel my propensity for finding solutions to big problems. It was also the first time I started thinking about how my career impacts my health.
Getting an idea off the ground
After Care.com acquired Trusted Childcare in 2017, I felt exhausted. Our team had put countless hours into building the company. In the process, I realized I’d been ignoring my body, so I took an interest in tracking my nutrition, sleep and exercise.
The benefits of staying active and eating healthy are apparent. Every study will tell you that you’re much more likely to feel better, live longer and prevent long-term health problems when you take care of yourself daily.
After making a few small changes, I felt better and was filled with renewed energy to pour into my work and personal life. But I wanted more insight into what was actually going on inside my body. I wanted data — and I quickly realized how the technology in this area was lacking. That’s when I discovered continuous glucose monitoring technology, and NutriSense was born.
My co-founder and COO Dan Zavorotny and I jumped out of the gate with our idea and were itching to start helping people better manage their health using real-time data. But we quickly realized that something was missing. We knew what we wanted to build and understood the data well, but we needed a moat to set us apart.
Finding the missing piece that made all the difference
We reached a turning point with Kara Collier — our VP of Health, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. In addition to providing our customers with the ability to access their body’s data, we could now help them analyze it, educate them and suggest ways to improve their lifestyles. This way, anyone could make informed nutrition decisions and optimize their health.
Data and technology can only take a business so far. In the age of social media, having access to trustworthy resources is critical — especially when your health is on the line. We’re not the only company providing access to this type of product, and there are plenty of apps that can help you watch your diet. So, we chose our own route. We backed our technology with real people who understand health and nutrition and invested in the value of human connection.
3 takeaways for success
Our team now focuses on creating a unique customer experience that allows users to personalize their nutrition, receive instant feedback to drive behavior change and have a human experience to guide them on their health journey.
These last few years have certainly been unprecedented, and knowing how to navigate exponential growth can make or break your business, even without a pandemic in the mix. Our team decided early on to prioritize selecting the right people to execute our idea, and I could not be more excited with where that’s gotten us. In less than three years, we’ve grown to more than 120 eager, curious and motivated A-players working towards the same mission. Here’s what I’ve learned in the process:
- A good product is only as good as the team behind it: There are many people out there who can build an app and sell it, but passion, knowledge and human connection make all the difference. Great tech is important, but the key is pairing it with an experienced team that can get behind your mission.
The right team will define your company culture: Building the right team doesn’t just help you stand out in a crowded market. It also makes it much easier to cultivate a company culture that will keep your talent motivated and inspire others to want to join you. Let your employees have a say in creating an environment where everyone can thrive.
- Recognize the value your team brings, and reward them for it: Once you’ve found the right people, retaining top talent becomes just as important as recruiting them in the first place. It’s especially true in the age of fully-remote work. Make it a priority to reward your top performers, invest in their growth and empower your team to learn from one another.
Taking a data-driven approach to optimizing health has been incredibly rewarding, but even more so is knowing that our collective expertise powers our success. In the startup world, uncertainty is a given. But there’s one thing we’ll know for sure: We will always be a team of passionate people creating an experience our users deserve.