Opinions expressed by businessman the collaborators are theirs.
As a product-focused engineer, I’ve always enjoyed 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 affects my health.
Related: Building Your Startup Team: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Hire
Develop an idea
After Care.com acquired Trusted Childcare in 2017, I felt burned out. Our team had spent countless hours building the company. In the process, I realized I had been ignoring my body, so I became interested in tracking my nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
The benefits of staying active and eating healthy are obvious. Every study will tell you that you are much more likely to feel better, live longer, and prevent long-term health problems when you take care of yourself daily.
After making some small changes, I felt better and filled with renewed energy to pour myself into my work and personal life. But I wanted to know more about what was really going on inside my body. I wanted data, and I quickly realized how lacking the technology was in this area. That’s when I discovered continuous glucose monitoring technology and NutriSense was born.
My co-founder and COO Dan Zavorotny and I came out of the gate with our idea and were eager to start helping people better manage their health through real-time data. But we quickly realized that something was missing. We knew what we wanted to build and we understood the data well, but we needed a moat that set us apart.
Related: How to hire someone aligned with the company’s mission
Finding the missing piece that made all the difference
We decided to invest in expanding our customer-facing team, which meant hiring people who understood the problem and were as invested and passionate about our mission as we were.
We reached a turning point with Kara Collier, our VP of Health, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. In addition to providing our customers with access to their body data, we could now help them analyze it, educate them and suggest ways to improve their lifestyle. In this way, anyone could make informed nutritional decisions and optimize their health.
Data and technology can only take a business so far. In the age of social media, having access to reliable resources is critical, especially when your health is at stake. We are not the only company that offers access to these types of products, and there are many apps that can help you monitor your diet. So we chose our own route. We’ve backed our technology with real people who understand health and nutrition and invested in the value of human connection.
Related: How to build a team that embodies your company’s voice and mission
3 points for success
Our team is now focused 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 past 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 on our idea, and we couldn’t be more excited about where this has taken us. In less than three years, we’ve grown to over 120 enthusiastic, curious and driven A-players working towards the same mission. Here’s what I learned in the process:
- A good product is only as good as the team behind it: There are many people who can build an app and sell it, but passion, knowledge and human connection make all the difference. Good technology is important, but the key is pairing it with an experienced team that can support 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. This is especially true in the age of remote work. Make it a priority to reward your top performers, invest in their growth, and empower your team to learn from each other.
Taking a data-driven approach to optimizing health has been incredibly rewarding, but knowing that our collective expertise drives our success is even more rewarding. In the world of startups, uncertainty is a given. But there’s one thing we’ll know for sure: we’ll always be a team of passionate people creating an experience our users deserve.