Founder Feature: Mixfit
Nutritional beverages and other supplements have earned a black eye in the healthcare community for false advertising, failing to live up to the statements advertised, and being packed with sugar, fat, and chemicals. Many so-called “nutritional supplements” are not rooted in nutrition at all. Consumers are left feeling misguided and confused as to what they should consume to be as healthy as possible.
Enter the team at Mixfit. Through AI, and specific metrics surrounding activity level, diet, and individual traits, Mixfit concocts a personalized nutritional beverage for each individual’s specific needs. Mixfit is easily customizable for a wide variety of nutrition needs through the Mixfit app. After customizing their beverage, pods are delivered to your door through an automatic subscription. Furthermore, the team at Mixfit receives advising from nutritionists and scientists who ensure the product effectively promotes heath. We spoke with the leadership team at Mixfit to learn more about their product, how they created it, and how it is improving nutrition.
Interview with Mixfit
What was your inspiration for founding Mixfit? What is your prior experience?
Mixfit Leadership Team (MLT): Mixfit’s inspiration is grounded in the opportunity to make a lasting impact on health and wellness through product design, data insights, and research across three broad audiences:
- Consumers - We believe strongly that personalization is not merely a fad or the latest health trend. It is the long-term approach we should take to nutrition and it should be based on the latest science and technology, delivering what each person actually needs when they need it.
- Industry - We know that sustainable personalization is not about creating a solution for people to adapt to, but rather a solution that adapts to the individual, in real time. We need to move beyond the point-of-sale data to share insights that will lead to further enhancements in the effective formulation, product creation, and delivery of personalized supplements.
- Scientific Community - We have a long-term vision for the contextual data and see the opportunity to fuel the future of precision healthcare.
Co-founders Reza Zanjani and Marco Iotti brought their diverse backgrounds together to build synergies and bring this vision to life. As an active Food Tech entrepreneur and past member of the Open Innovation team at Nestle/Nespresso, Marco brings the biotechnology, engineering, and nutrition science to build Mixfit’s core product offering. With over a decade innovating technologies for Pharma and in clinical settings, Reza taps into the pathways of personalized medicine to tackle the complexity of consumer behavior and adoption.
How does Mixfit work?
MLT: Mixfit employs AI through predictive modeling and real-time data to serve up vitamins and minerals in a drink based on a person’s unique diet, lifestyle, and activities - all through a countertop device.
By downloading the Mixfit App, the consumer begins the experience of training MINA (Mixfit Intelligent Nutrition Assistant). Based on data shared, MINA analyzes an individual’s traits, daily diet, and activity level to determine their nutritional gap for the day. The Mixfit app connects with a person’s existing wearable apps and also takes photos of their food to capture the approximate level of nutrients in their diet.
MINA then connects to Mixfit’s countertop device to serve up a precise mix of nutrients and minerals from our Core Pack, premixed canisters containing 22 essential vitamins and minerals as well as flavors.
Consumers can continue to customize their experience further by adding one of our Speciality Pods to the mix. The Core Pack focuses on the essentials while the Specialty Pods are connected to personal goals such as performance, energy or vision health.
How does Mixfit compare to other nutritional beverages on the market?
MLT: Mixfit is creating a new type of category: the real-time personalized supplement drink. Today’s delivery of nutrition is currently static or semi-static. Mixfit stands out in the market as the only provider to be able to update the formulation of a nutrient drink in real time based on the consumer’s daily insights entered into our app. Other personalized beverage and capsule offerings are static solutions with a minimum of a month turnaround for alterations - Mixfit changes the drink it delivers every day because no one has the same day twice.
In addition, Mixfit provides an overall holistic solution that goes beyond the drink itself. In using Mixfit, people learn how their daily routine is connected to overall nutrition.
What feedback have you received on Mixfit?
MLT: There has been very positive feedback around the concept of and the approach to what Mixfit is tackling from industry experts and consumers. Specifically, Mixfit’s ability to bring together a sustainable solution across four distinct facets: nutrition science, precision engineering, software technologies, and formulation sciences. We know that taste matters and across demographics, we hear that the drink itself is “light, clean and fruity.”
Mixfit has tapped into a need.
Interview of Mixfit co-founder & CTO Marco Iotti at Vitafoods Europe 2018. Interview courtesy of FoodBev Media:
Based on additional feedback we’ve received during our pilot program, there are a few product innovations coming, including updating our artificial sweetener formulation to stevia, adjusting the connection between the Core Pack and device to reduce product loss, and decreasing the overall size of the countertop device.
The scientific community is excited and generally happy to finally see a commercial approach to nutrition that places science at the center of the product. While at CES, the American Heart Association and others saw a future for collaboration around further preventative health outcomes. Mixfit is an intuitive way to transport all the complexity of nutritional science in a very simple and consumer-oriented approach. We hear similar statements from large companies looking at us with interest as we bring a science-driven approach to the B2C industry.
What is a surprising fact that you have learned about nutrition/nutritional supplement industry?
MLT: The sources and amount of attention received since our launch at CES had been somehow unexpected. We knew personalized nutrition was one of the major topics in the supplement industry but we couldn’t imagine the level of interest that our solution would generate. We learned that most of the industry is aware that personalization would be an incredible advancement and that the correct implementation would be a complete game changer.
We are doing our best to be that game changer and lead the industry toward a solution based on setting the best standard possible: meeting the needs of each individual.
In your opinion, how can digital health innovation improve access and affordability to nutrition-related products and services?
MLT: Access and affordability can be improved through “relevance” and “effectiveness.” Digital health innovation can contribute towards both of these measures by targeting the delivery of information and providing access to products that are relevant for individuals, based on their digital health data, measuring effectiveness, and providing contextual data to drive forward new product development and nutrition science. The Quantified Self spans demographics through the adoption of mobile and wearable technologies providing countless data points. Digital health innovators are in a prime period to move beyond insights and deliver one-to-one models of personalization.
Personalized medicine has been in our vernacular for years. The opportunity is to bring personalization towards improving preventative measures for all, moving away from opinion-based solutions or one-size-fits-all population guidelines.
There has never been more data to tap into in order to employ scientific findings and change how we think about personalized health. The challenge is how to infuse these data insights into products that drive delivery, action, and efficacy.
Based on your experience, what advice and/or insight do you have for your fellow health-tech entrepreneurs?
MLT: Don’t be hesitant to look outside of your home country for investors and partners. Within the US, we found most VCs having funding mandates that did not include manufacturing, and they were focused primarily on digital innovation. While every encounter was very supportive of our vision, most VCs could not engage because Mixifit is disrupting not just one, but three sectors - dietary supplement, hardware/appliances, and nutrition science. We identified that the food and beverage ecosystem in Switzerland could be more attuned to Mixfit’s mission and by participating as a finalist in MassChallenge Switzerland, were able to accelerate synergies with global partners like DSM for our ingredients and Givaudan for our flavors.
Realize that entrepreneurship is not a 100-meters-run but more of an ultramarathon. Ideation is of course incredibly important but everyone can have good ideas. It is harder to have the motivation every day to keep working on a concept and improving it little by little. This advice may not be anything new but focus and resilience are incredibly important if one wants to be a successful entrepreneur.
Do something because it is right and not for personal interest or an economic return. The strongest motivation one can have is doing something because it is the right thing to do. We strongly believe that Mixfit will positively impact overall global health and this is the right thing for us to do.
What are your next 3 major milestones at Mixfit?
- Create next-generation devices optimized for in home and business/gym
- Expand Mixfit solution availability in major markets globally
- Enhance MINA capabilities through expanded adoption and data at scale, as well as training predictive models and machine learning to complement nutrition science recommendations.