After a rollercoaster journey that has seen the company go from just a scrappy list to a fully-formed app, joining Just Eat FoodTech Accelerator programme and raising £200k from Crowdcube. Joel Burgess, founder and CEO of Nutrifix is optimistic for the future with plans of onboarding more restaurants and vendors across the UK later this year.
How did the idea for Nutrifix come about?
I started Nutrifix to “scratch my own itch”. In my teens, I was fit and healthy; I loved sport, particularly rugby, and even managed to get paid for it, but as I moved into my 20s, injuries hindered my professional sporting ambitions. Before I knew it I was 30 years old and no longer the fit and healthy person I’d always been.
I tried to follow numerous diets, with limited success. I was constantly eating on the go, with minimal time to read labels, and struggled to know what to eat. So, I put together a detailed list of the best things to eat when out and about – what to order at Pret, Wagamama, Eat… they were all there; thousands of meals rated according to what was best for my nutritional needs.
Soon after people started asking me to do nutritional lists for them! That’s when the seeds of Nutrifix were sewn: what if I turned the list into an app, that anyone could access on the go, to help them find healthy food tailored to their nutritional needs. The idea quickly became a mission – something I believed could genuinely take the stress out of healthy eating.
Fast forward one year and Nutrifix was born; from my initial scrappy list to a fully-formed app loaded with nutritional data, able to empower thousands of people to eat healthier.
Tell me about the early days, the type of challenges you initially encountered?
It was a bit of a chicken and egg situation for us at the start. To get more vendors on board, we needed more users and on the flip side, users wanted to see more vendors on board. To tackle this we had to get people to buy into our vision and to partner with vendors who shared our values: transparency and good healthy honest food!
What is Nutrifix? And what are you trying to solve with it?
Nutrifix is a nutritional app that takes your vital stats and health goals to locate healthy meals nearby; tailored to your body’s needs and dietary requirements. It empowers users to make healthy and informed decisions wherever they are, and whatever they fancy to eat. Plus, with our partnership with Deliveroo, our users can even have their meal delivered.
Our mission is to provide full transparency on what’s in high street food, and to help the nation eat healthily. We are not here to dictate whether or not someone should eat the odd slice of cake. What’s important is that people should know what they’re eating, so they can make informed decisions.
We believe Nutrifix has arrived on the scene at the perfect time: there is a growing trend for eating on the go and Nutrifix allows you to know, instantly, the healthiest thing on the menu to match your nutritional needs in thousands of locations.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
In 2016, Nutrifix was one of the first start-ups to join the Just Eat FoodTech Accelerator programme. The year after, following its initial funding success, we launched a crowdfunding round on Crowdcube that went on to raise £200,000.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
Launching an app (or any business for that matter) is a rollercoaster of emotions. The initial nerves of launching kept me awake at night, as the app was something I have been working on for just over a year; and there was a worry that no one would care or even download it. Happily, the launch went better than we had expected and it was incredibly exciting to see people using the app and receiving such amazing feedback.
We are really only just getting started, so there is so much to be excited about! Fortunately, I now have an incredible team to share everything that comes next with.
How did you initially get traction?
I want Nutrifix to be bigger than an app. I want it to be a trusted brand and a go-to resource for healthy eating. I want it to inspire people to appreciate how great it is to be and feel healthy.
As such, we have placed a lot of focus on our content and from the day the seeds were sewn for Nutrifix, we have consistently produced free content and shared it on all our various social media channels. This meant we already had a community and a following to launch to.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Hired people way smarter than me and encouraged them to learn through failing. Ultimately the success of Nutrifix will come down to my team, and it’s my job to empower them to do what they do best and make sure they are aligned with my vision.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Raising £200k on Crowdcube was a huge highlight, but nothing beats receiving emails from our users thanking us for making Nutrifix. Knowing Nutrifix is helping people to be and eat healthier will be a great driving force for us!
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Nutrifix team for 2018?
2018 is going to be an amazing year; we are only a small team, but we have big plans!
We will continue to improve the product and onboard more restaurants and vendors across the UK. We are also very excited about the improvements in tracking and the affordability of DNA testing, which will put Nutrifix in a unique position to make highly personalised nutrition a reality.
Finally, we will continue to produce amazing content designed to inspire and help people live healthier lives.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Work out what’s the quickest and cheapest test or thing you can do to work out whether you have a good idea. Then do it!
2. Know the reason why you are about to start on your venture. Launching a business is ten times harder than I thought it would be, and if I was not passionate about my vision I would have given up a long time ago.
3. Surround yourself with awesome people who inspire you. And find a mentor who has been there and done it, and copy them!