Startup Q&A: Rootine CEO Rachel Sanders

Startup Spotlight is an interview series showcasing early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies.

In this Q&A, Rootine CEO Rachel Sanders explains the growing opportunity in personalized nutrition, as well as the company’s unique approach to testing, optimizing, and tracking cellular health.

Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Rootine?

Rootine unlocks better health and daily performance with precision nutrition. Rootine’s first product focuses on optimizing cellular nutrition through a personalized daily micronutrient subscription and a unique digital experience where members can track and improve their health.

Today, Rootine members gain access to at-home testing and personalized insights, products, and tools to help them take control of their cellular nutrition and see real results in areas like energy, stress, immune health, and more.

Rather than the standard one-size-fits-all approach of other nutrition and supplement companies, Rootine creates a unique formula that is 100% customized to individual DNA, blood, and lifestyle test results so your body gets everything it needs — and nothing it doesn’t.

We’re solving two problems in the consumer space that other companies don’t address: One, we use relevant health data, rather than just lifestyle surveys, to approach micronutrient level recommendations. And two, we’re building tight feedback loops that empower people to leverage their personal data to improve their health.

Based on member-reported data, 70% of members see improved health after using Rootine, and that number gets closer to 85% after three months. 50% of members are improving energy levels, 60% are managing stress better, and there’s a positive impact across sleep, skin health, mood, and more.

How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?

Having struggled with stress and fatigue for years, I was determined to improve my own health and daily performance. I turned to nutrition after learning 90% of the US does not meet daily recommendations around diet, often leading to micronutrient deficiencies that can impact everything from chronic disease to fatigue, stress, mood imbalance, sleep concerns, and more.

I had recently graduated Harvard Business School and was in the midst of founding my first company when I met biotechnician and nutrigenetic expert Dr. Daniel Wallerstorfer, PhD. After searching for better solutions to improve performance and both falling short, we launched Rootine with a clear vision in mind: to empower people to leverage their personal data to optimize health and human performance.

We are more than a micronutrient service — we are a precision nutrition health solution that helps members improve how they feel and perform every day.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

In the beginning when we had zero revenue, all core operations for Rootine were handled by Daniel and I. Rootine has transformed dramatically since then.

We’ve grown membership, continuously improved the member experience using the latest in AI and tech tools, launched new products, and expanded the team. We’re now helping thousands of members improve their health, including a number of celebrities and professional athletes.

We are building a remote-first team with headquarters in Nashville. Of note, we were working remotely before it was made popular by the pandemic. I’m a strong believer, as a leader, that finding talent wherever they are and enabling people access to a startup environment, regardless of geography, is really important. And it allows for a better team, too. We have a great culture, great collaboration, and strong values.

How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?

We are building in a large, fast-growing market with strong tailwinds. Rootine is part of the $700-billion-dollar global nutrition industry, specifically operating in the fastest-growing segment: personalized nutrition, which is estimated to grow close to $20B by 2025.

We know there will be new entrants, but we’re building a strong competitive moat with real defensibility. Rootine is differentiated in its test-take-track process, unmatched data analytics and insights, and unique delivery form factor: microbeads.

Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?

Our core members are health enthusiasts and high performers from around the US that use data to make informed decisions throughout their life, including the how, when, and what around nutrition. Our members seek a high-performance lifestyle and are looking for ways to optimize for both current health concerns—e.g., stress, mood, fatigue, and immune health—and longevity.

Within health, Rootine members look towards products designed to enhance fitness, mental acuity, sleep, nutrition, and metabolic health through prescriptive solutions. That is where the future of health is going: a future that is data-driven and personalized. Finally, there is a health stack for the empowered consumer, and Rootine is an essential contributor.

Addressing growth, we are a digitally native brand and acquire customers through a variety of channels. Recently, we have seen strong organic growth through our content, member referrals, and overall increase in brand awareness.

We are building a trusted brand with a growing community of members focused on optimizing their health and daily performance with data and science. We are also diving deeper into producing educational and relevant content that our community can access in a variety of ways (with some exciting developments to come).

Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?

Over the next few months, we’re excited to continue working toward our mission of empowering individuals to leverage their health data to achieve optimal health with precision nutrition. On the heels of our $3 million seed round, we will be investing in product and software development to improve the member experience, announcing several exciting partnerships, and expanding our team across engineering, marketing, and customer experience.

We will also be launching an invite-only, curated community for health enthusiasts and high performers to connect, inspire, learn, and achieve their goals. The community will exist to empower each other to fulfill our highest potentials.  Stay tuned for more updates on the community front or learn more here! And, of course, get started by joining Rootine today.

 

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