BIT Startup Of The Week: Nomsy – “Bringing you the food you want and need”
A: Robert Greenfield (CEO), Nick Conflitti (CPO), and Jonathan More (CTO)
Q: Give us a brief summary of your background in tech (2-3 sentences)
A: Robert Greenfield has a full-stack development background and has worked at the likes of Goldman Sachs, Cisco Systems, and American Express in projects spanning from Big Data, Business Intelligence and Automation. He’s also developed personal project applications like Blaclist.co and BlackBayArea.co to help develop quality tools for the Black Community.
Q: Tell us about your company:
A: Today over 52 million diabetic, food allergic, and celiac Americans have to Google what they can eat on a daily basis to avoid getting sick. Many of them use information found on extremely old forum posts and Facebook groups for answers that their lives depends upon. The safe consumer brands that are trying to reach this audience, are unable to due to inadequate marketing budgets, lack of e-commerce usage, and blind mass marketing techniques that don’t track how online content engagement leads to retail sales. Nomsy is a social network that allows users to visually share and discover diet-filtered topics, recipes, and places by posting within a community that understands their restriction. So far, we’ve grown in the following ways:
- Acquired 40K+ users to date
- 42% of our users are active (bi-weekly)
- Graduated a GAN Accelerator, $50K grant w/ warrant
- Raised $85K and have only give up 0.36% equity
- Invited to the White House as a minority-led startup
- Have a major client (Enjoy Life Foods) within our target market
Q: What does your company do or make?
A: Nomsy empowers Consumer Package Goods companies to know how much of their social media content engagement is converting to direct sales of their product. Nomsy enable clients to increase social media engagement, and lower client marketing costs by connecting them to niche consumer markets through our online platform.
Q: What problem does your company aim to solve?
A: Nomsy solves the following problems:
- For the user, we solve the problem of not being able to find quality, diet-relevant food content online that’s safe enough for their dietary restriction
- For the CPG, we unveil the online content engagement-to-direct sales gap by better connecting the deals the company has available with the content that our users naturally engage with due to their dietary restriction
Q: How does the current version of your product solve that problem?
A: The current web version of our product solves these problems by offering a business account platform for food companies and a wealth of visual resources for diet restricted users (nomsy.co)
Q: What is your company’s mission?
A: Nomsy’s mission is to bring the on-demand food economy to those with dietary restrictions across the world. Nomsy is going to re-innovate the “diet” software market by individualizing the food discovery experience for those with dietary restrictions & preference based diets.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a startup founder?
A: My biggest challenge as a startup founder is balancing the need for user growth and revenue growth for a B2C company. In fact, part of our pivoting process is leaning more towards a B2B business model when it comes to supporting the company and developing new features for users. Maintaining exponential user growth via social media marketing strategy is also a difficult task to manage.
Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?
A: Of course! When things are slow, founders tend to lose passion because the culture of making a startup great is based in patience – not instant gratification. When I get down on myself or my ability to lead the team, I look back at my mission statement and ask – has my target consumer found a solution to solve their pain? The answer is no – so that means I have to keep working to realize what I started. Being an entrepreneur of color makes things immeasurably more challenging, but that means each success is even more deserved. My original co-founders decided to stop working on the company, leaving me alone during a time in which I needed them most. But, with persistence, I rebuilt a team that was exponentially more capable than the last.
Q: What lessons did you learn from that challenge?
A: Don’t give up. If the market is voicing a need and your customer discovery is indicating that there is a high pain point for your projected target audience, keep on trudging away!
Q: What has been your biggest victory?
A: Our biggest victory was securing a contract with Enjoy Life Foods, one of the biggest companies within the specialty foods market.
Q: How did it make you feel?
A: It was great! It really showed our team that we are headed in the right direction and no just making things up as we go!
Q: What lessons have you learned from your successes?
A: We’ve learned the following:
- Always have your team internally review (every 2 quarters) what you’re doing (meaning what you’re working on, why you’re working on that and not something else, and how what you’re working on will eventually bring you users/$$$
- Always strategize for how you can make money utilizing B2B AND B2C approaches. Sometimes one will take off before the other
- Don’t hold on to old ideas if they aren’t making any progress
- Always have your team do iterative customer discovery (every 2 quarters) to make sure that the market is still indicating what you have determined is a major pain point
- Don’t spend money on your MVP! Use wordpress or some template based platform to test demand by solving the problem in the most simple way possible. If it’s hardware – use 3D Printing
- If team members leave, keep on pushing and find new ones via Angelist and/or Linkedin – you are not alone.
- Always show that you appreciate your team – you are not a boss, you are a leader that is of equal worth to that of anyone else on your team
- Everything I learned about automating your marketing and building a following can be found here: http://robtg4.co/portfolio/automated/
- If you don’t have a coder and want to make an app you need to either:
- Learn how to code via Udemy (IT IS EASY YOU CAN DO IT! Look into React Native – I personally learned how to code for my venture to succeed)
- Find a CTO ASAP
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to an aspiring tech startup founder, what would it be?
A: Do whatever you are wanting to create now, fail, iterate, and then succeed. Failing is part of fine tuning your hustle to become successful – learn from it and get back up!
Q: Has your company received funding? If so, what type of funding? From who?
A: We’ve recieved $85K in funding from the Coolhouse Labs (GAN) Accelerator, SPARK Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Q: How can users find more info on your company?
Q: Where can they download the app?
A: Not on mobile yet but will be in early 2017!
Q: How can people contact/follow you/your company?
A: People can follow us or get more information from the following:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nomnomnomsy/
- Dairy Free: https://www.instagram.com/dairyfreenoms
- Gluten Free: https://www.instagram.com/glutenfreenomsy
- Nut Free: https://www.instagram.com/nutfreenoms
- Twitter: @nomsy_yum
- Email: robby@Nomsy.co
Platform Tour: https://vimeo.com/172265096
Blacks In Technology’s Startup of the Week focuses on spotlighting and promoting Tech based startup companies founded by PoC or have PoC in top leadership positions. Want your startup company featured as our SoW? Submit your company now by completing the following form.
- BIT Hangouts On Air event – Outreachy Internships Pay Underrepresented Groups to Work in Open Source Software w/ guest Tony Sebro
- BIT Startup Of The Week: Abacus – “Helping students using real time data”
- Upcoming Twin Cities Blacks In Technology Software and Tech Meetup – “Leaders In Tech and Tech Pathways”
- #BITTechTalk ep. #105 w/ Amanda Spann
- BIT Startup Of The Week: Socialgive – “Making donating easier through social media”