Each month as part of StartHub Startups to Watch Program we connect with the winning company to learn more about them. Our February Startup to Watch is Nutrimedy, an telenutrition company. Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Karolina Starczak, CEO of Nutrimedy. Here’s what we learned:
Tell us about your company. What is Nutrimedy?
Nutrimedy is a leading telenutrition platform that connects users to licensed clinical dietitians through a mobile HIPAA compliant app. With Nutrimedy, users are matched to dietitians based on their unique goals and healthcare needs. Then using the app, they can track their progress, record meals, message their dietitian and set up video sessions, keeping them supported, empowered, and engaged in their health. Nutrimedy’s newly released mobile and web application not only offers a direct to consumer solution but also leverages the technology with employers, health systems, and health plans to improve engagement and deliver a personalized convenient approach.
What is your background?
I am a registered and licensed dietitian by training, but over the past 11 years, my career has evolved from the emergency services field to digital startups and population health. After spending years focused on the employer wellness space, I wanted to help create a solution that had the flexibility to address multiple areas in health improvement and condition management but could be personalized to account for factors such as access barriers, socioeconomic status, readiness to change, and self-efficacy.
How did you come up with the idea for Nutrimedy? Who is your target customer?
The original member of our founding team, Jonah Cohen, MD, started Nutrimedy to improve health and reduce chronic disease by enabling access to convenient, expert and personalized nutritional counseling. As a physician, he saw firsthand the lack of availability and long wait times that patients faced with in-person appointments. The company started as a B2C solution, but as the idea grew and developed the approach began to expand to self-insured employers, innovative health systems with value-based contracts, and biotech companies looking for additional patient engagement and support tools.
How do you think Nutrimedy is going to disrupt the market? What are the main differentiators between you and your competitors?
An important differentiation is the ability to blend technology with a human touch. Many current solutions in healthcare focus strictly on a purely digital approach, which does little to account for the unique facets of an individual and does not promote engagement. Health improvement is complicated and having a person support that journey creates a different level of flexibility, personalization, accountability as well as self-discovery. In many ways, improving health and changing behavior are similar to starting a company. In theory, the steps and overall process make sense, but once you add on real-world barriers and issues the execution becomes much more complicated and often requires additional support. What also makes Nutrimedy unique is that our practitioners are all verified registered dietitians with clinical experience trained in medical nutrition therapy (MNT), behavior change techniques, and nutrition counseling. Additionally, our platform keeps the user active through custom trackers to monitor progress, secure messaging, and various tools to facilitate engagement and support.
Who are your main investors?
The company has been funded by individual healthcare angel investors, strategic partners, serial entrepreneurs and physicians who truly believe that we are meeting a vital patient need. We are looking forward to kicking off our next fundraising round in March to help accelerate our growth.
Why did you decide to start your business in Boston? How long has your company been around?
The idea for Nutrimedy was born in 2016, but the company was funded and incorporated in 2017. Boston was the perfect birthplace due to its strong startup ecosystem, world-class healthcare institutions, and subject matter experts who believe in dedicating their time to help advise startups. Our core team is from the greater Boston area and we have been very grateful to be a part of three fantastic startup accelerators: MassChallenge, PULSE@Masschallenge, and Boston Children’s Hospital Accelerator.
What resources in the startup community have contributed to the success of Nutrimedy?
The resources in Boston have contributed greatly to our success starting with the Boston Children’s Hospital Accelerator, which was the first accelerator we were selected to join and continues to be one of our strongest champions. The Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) team has supported the growth and development of Nutrimedy by providing expertise and positioning our product for success by working closely with our team as we graduated from our beta platform and built the newly released Nutrimedy mobile application.
Both MassChallenge and PULSE@Masschallenge have been incredible opportunities to learn from other startups while working alongside them in the co-working space and attending networking events. Due to the focus on healthcare, PULSE has generated multiple opportunities and opened doors to partnerships with innovative organizations that truly want to see us thrive.
How do you use StartHub professionally?
StartHub has been our team’s go-to resource for local events, resources, and investors especially as we are gearing up for our next fundraising round. It’s a great way to stay on top of local startup news and find ways to connect with or learn more about other innovative healthcare companies in the area.
What are the next steps for Nutrimedy?
We don’t expect a single dull moment in 2018. Nutrimedy kicked off the year by releasing the new Nutrimedy mobile application and we are preparing to release NuExpecting, our pregnancy solution, in early April. Our team is looking forward to launching our first employer and national provider group pilots in April, with several more pilots scheduled to go live mid-summer and fall. While we gain market validation and focus on new customer acquisition in 2018, we are also targeting late March to start our next fundraising round.
What is the most important thing our readers should know about Nutrimedy?
Like any solution in healthcare, Nutrimedy is a piece of a very large and complex healthcare puzzle and we are interested in learning how we can collaborate and partner with other startups and organizations. Don’t hesitate to reach out and get to know us a little better!