In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Dan Zavorotny, co-founder and COO of NutriSense, a platform using continuous glucose monitors and nutritional counseling to achieve better health outcomes. Dan shares the impact of combining real-time biometrics with actionable insights for overall wellness.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at NutriSense?
Dan Zavorotny: Our mission at NutriSense is to help anyone discover and reach their health potential. We utilize continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology, advanced analytics inside of our mobile app, and 1:1 dietitian coaching to offer insight into health that spans four pillars: nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep.
By monitoring glucose in real-time, we provide personalized and real-time feedback on wellness habits and what one needs to do to improve their overall health.
What sets NutriSense apart from other solutions is our emphasis on the importance of uniting the efficiency and usability of our technology with the expertise of credentialed nutrition professionals. We believe that push notifications alone don’t produce real behavioral change — but having guidance from a health expert in combination with real-time data can.
That’s why it was imperative for us to ensure the counsel users receive on the platform comes from a real person with real experience in the field. We keep a laser focus on the member experience, ensuring that we build a solution that works, not a brand that looks flashy. We design our services to produce better wellness outcomes for our members, thus improving adherence.
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
DZ: In my previous role in healthcare consulting, my job was to maximize profitability for hospitals and insurance companies. During my career, I noticed two troubling trends: The US spends more money on healthcare every year per capita, and we as a country are getting sicker every year due to preventable diseases (type II diabetes, heart disease, etc.) that are caused by poor lifestyle decisions.
I was on a trip to San Francisco for a healthcare conference and a childhood friend (now co-founder Alex Skryl) invited me out for dinner. He was wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in an effort to improve his metabolic health through more positive nutrition habits. While glucose monitoring wasn’t new to me, our conversation finally allowed me to see the opportunity to create immense value for a large segment of the US population.
Together, we had engineering prowess and business acumen and needed only to find someone to own the health expertise. Kara Collier, a registered dietitian nutritionist and now our VP of Health, was the perfect person to join our founding team.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
DZ: At the early stages, there are only two goals for a company: to build and to sell. Alex’s background is engineering, so he built, and with my expertise, selling fell under my purview.
The irony is I didn’t know how to sell. My background was exclusively in finance, so my skill set was seemingly not relevant. The first thing I did was conduct an online search for “how to get customers,” which, as you can imagine, resulted in hundreds of articles.
I dove in and started learning how to drive website traffic. Influencer marketing seemed like the fastest way to go on a low budget, and that turned out to be a great decision, as we gained 500 customers before we spent any money on paid media. To describe this early experience, I would use the word “GRIT.”
How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?
DZ: The addressable market for the type of personalized support we offer is widespread. We want to help anyone discover and reach their health potential, and to get there, we have to acknowledge that there are already 89M Americans who are prediabetic and 34M who have type II diabetes.
Further, the current global wellness market is estimated at more than $1.5T, according to McKinsey, with annual growth of 5–10% thanks to a rise in both consumer interest and purchasing power in a post-COVID-19 world.
This tells us there is a clear need for solutions to help people take control of their health, and NutriSense can give them a resource to do so.
Through continuous glucose monitoring, leveraging data-driven analytics, and offering access to credentialed nutrition professionals, we’re able to help people understand how their body functions in relation to food, stress, sleep, and exercise.
Our members want to learn about their bodies, both generally and in real time, so they can make better health choices. We solve the interrelated problems of capturing data from our bodies and interpreting what it means.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
DZ: Our core customer is anyone looking to take control of their health and reach new lifestyle goals.
Currently, our members are a wide-ranging group of men and women that tend to be aged 30 and up. This includes people who realize they are missing information about how their body responds to changes in lifestyle decisions and/or are willing to invest in a tool that offers them a comprehensive view of their health.
Many are interested in monitoring blood glucose, living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes, and/or learning more about how their lifestyle and behavior affect their health. We also have Olympic and professional athletes on the platform.
While continuous glucose monitoring can be beneficial to any lifestyle, our ideal customer is someone who is focused on their health and is a.) committed to better understanding their body’s response to changes in habits, and b.) willing to take action against those insights.
As a company, we are less focused on the starting point of our members and more focused on how we can be a partner to them through every stage of their health journey.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
DZ: Through 2022, our main priorities are growing our membership and evolving our platform to take a more holistic approach to health — beyond glucose monitoring. We’re looking to build a wider range of tools to address four key pillars of health, including tracking additional markers of health.
Our platform is most effective for people who are already interested in putting effort into managing their health, so we plan to continue educating people and inspiring others to become more invested in their health too.
To achieve this, we are planning to add more experts to the platform to help track and analyze members’ data, including those with unique specialties. As we add these professionals, we will be better equipped to address the full range of factors impacting health.
Additionally, we plan to add new devices such as noninvasive glucose monitoring, CGM devices that last for longer periods of time, and continuous tracking for other metabolites.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
DZ: We believe that everyone should be able to take control of their health. Studies have shown that glucose plays a huge role in a person’s overall well-being — even in healthy people, elevated blood glucose levels can impact physiological pathways related to aging, cardiovascular health, kidney function, and, of course, the risk of developing a metabolic disorder like diabetes.
With NutriSense, members can take steps related to exercise and nutrition to manage their health based on both the insights they gain from wearing a CGM and having access to guidance from NutriSense professionals. This personalized approach with 1:1 coaching really makes all of the difference, especially when it comes to something as unique and personal as one’s health journey.
As we remain committed to helping people better understand their bodies, we want to also continue to build out our teams and hire strong talent. With that in mind, we’re hiring! You can learn more and apply here.
Related reading from Fitt Insider:
Issue No. 180: The Metabolic Health Report
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