The 2011 Business Plan Competition at The Paul Merage School of Business

The 2011 Business Plan Competition at The Paul Merage School of Business

All contestants:
Food N' Me
Location: 12342 NE 26 Pl, Bellevue, Washington, United States United States
Founded in: 2010
Stage: Revenue generating
Number of employees: 1-5
Short URL: vator.co/food-n-me
Followers (194)
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Food N' Me

Interactive Nutrition for Families: Fun for children.  Easy for parents.
Startup/business
Bellevue, Washington, United States United States
http://www.foodnme.com
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Company description

At the heart of Food N’ Me, is the mission of empowering and encouraging children to improve their food choices and lifestyle.  Food N’ Me has created a new world of interactive nutritional educational games, videos, recipes, activities, curriculum and parent resources delivered online and on mobile devices.  Food N’ Me currently has 18 games in development focusing on teaching fundamental nutrition concepts to inspire children to make better food choices.  Food N’ Me gained national recognition by winning Michelle Obama’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” contest for one of its games, Smash Your Food.  Food N’ Me has partnered with WebMD, one of the largest health portal websites with over 84 million unique users a month, to distribute the company’s games.  Food N’ Me is based on the founder’s proven program that was recently taught in 5 elementary schools to over 3,000 children.  The business model relies on multiple revenue streams including mobile games sales and distribution through health portals (including WebMD) and a subscription program specifically targeted to educators, practitioners and parents of children afflicted with childhood obesity.  This is an investment opportunity that may yield up to a 10X return in 3-5 years through an acquisition of the company by an insurance/healthcare company (i.e. Kaiser Permanente), a game/toy company (i.e. Mattel), a health portal (i.e. WebMD) or a food distributor (i.e. Safeway).


Team
  • Kelly Johnston
    Kelly Johnston | Team member
  • Marta De Wulf
    Marta De Wulf | Team member
  • Frederic DeWulf
    Frederic DeWulf | Team member
  • Wajdie Ahmad
    Wajdie Ahmad | Team member
    Senior manager of Engineering, Technical Services & Operational Excellence at Allergan Inc. Paul Merage School of Business EMBA 12. Research Director at Food N’ Me.
Business model

The problem

Nearly one in three children is considered overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.  17% of all US healthcare costs are attributed to obesity.  Nutrition experts, pediatricians and recent studies all agree that the key to converting American families’ unhealthy habits into healthy ones is through education and lifestyle change

Our solution

Food N’ Me is a fun, informative and compelling nutrition system that is proven to change eating behaviors in children and families.  The company created an award-winning prototype site (www.foodnme.com), used by over 12,000 unique users and several schools; featuring interactive nutrition games, videos, recipes, activities and practical tips for parents.

“A can of coke has 8 cubes of sugar in it, I’m never drinking soda again.”
Conner, age 8, talking to his dentist

Food N’ Me is a revolutionary nutrition system delivered online and through mobile platforms.  The platform features over 18 fun games focused on teaching fundamental nutrition concepts that naturally inspire children to make better choices.  Each game takes into account the nutritional needs of each child based on their age, gender, level of activity and their family’s food preferences.  The games all ‘report’ into the online Food N’ Me proprietary platform providing real time, personalized advice to parents via email and mobile apps based on what their children learn as they play.  Food’ N’ Me features custom avatars, “Food Faces,” that children are able to customize to then represent them in all games.  The Food N’ Me platform features familiar food environments for the children, such as kitchens, dining rooms, cafeterias and grocery stores.  The games are featured in their environments like the Smash Your Food machine on the kitchen counter, the Food Detective at the grocery store and What Food Am I? logging game at the dining room table.  

Unlike most standalone mobile games, Food N’ Me games cross promote each other as children play them.  The Food N’ Me platform integrates its games and encourages families to complete their nutrition learning adventure together.

“Now I eat breakfast everyday and my headaches are gone.”
 
Tina, age 10

Our traction

Food N’ Me has already achieved solid traction and credibility:

  •  Food N’ Me’s game, Smash Your Food™ is an award winner in Michelle Obama’s “Apps For Healthy Kids” contest.  The co-founders were honored at the White House.
  •  WebMD, the largest health portal on the web with over 84M unique user a month, is distributing Food N’ Me games providing credibility and traffic.  
  •  Food N’ Me is based on the co-founder’s public school program taught to over 3,000 elementary children across 5 schools.  This program substantially changed children’s behavior:  Thousands of children accepted the “White Milk Challenge”.  Of the 4th graders who received the nutrition enrichment program, 93% chose white milk over chocolate in comparison to only 12% of those who did not.  School wide, consumption of white milk went up by 29% and chocolate milk went down by 32% the week of the enrichment program. 
  •  Top experts in the field of obesity from the University of Washington and the Seattle Children's Hospital, have joined Food N’ Me’s Scientific Advisory Board.  Food N‘ Me was tested with YMCA ACT! families, who confirmed the game’s effectiveness on influencing them to improve their food choices.

 

The company is currently creating a game version of Smash Your Food for the iPad, as well as new games developed for mobile devices.  These games will be available mid 2011.  Discussions are underway with WebMD to create more games for the Fit and Food N’ Me sites. 

“I Love Food N' Me and wish all of our lessons at school were this fun!”
Troy, age 8

 

Our Team

Frederic De Wulf, brings extensive management, marketing and interactive production experience through his 16-year career at Microsoft.

Marta De Wulf’s 20-year successful career as a nutritionist, helping thousands of families and individuals, has given her insight into the role food plays in each of our lives.  

Kelly Johnston, Paul Merage School of Business EMBA12, has a 24-year career in the finance and investment management field.

Wajdie Ahmad, Paul Merage School of Business EMBA12, serves as Senior Manager of Engineering, Technical Service & Operational Excellence at Allergan Inc. 

Revenue Plan

The Company intends to price the games both individually and as a complete package.  The games will be available both on mobile devices and online through major health portals.  Food N’ Me will be distributed through healthcare providers, insurance companies, educational organizations and grocery store chains.  The Company plans to sell sponsorship advertising as it gains reach.  The Company anticipates ancillary revenues from licensing its intellectual property to merchandisers, media programmers and other game platforms.

 

 “Food N' Me game told me I was a bagel, I was eating too many grains.  Now I eat more fruit and my choices are better because I played your game”
Andy, age 9

Marketing 

Food N’ Me secured an agreement with WebMD, the largest health information web site which has over 84 million unique users a month.  The distribution agreement is expected to provide Food N’ Me not only with traffic but with an advertising platform for its mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone and other devices. 

Food N’ Me plans to be available across top health and insurance portals.  The Company also plans to create an affiliate network enabling smaller sites to “self-serve” to include Food N’ Me on their site. 

Forecast

The company anticipates signing up more than 16,000 paying customers within eighteen months of launch.  Food N’ Me is expected to reach its break-even point by 2012, operating profitably by 2014 and generating over $10 million in sales.  The company’s long-term goal is to become an attractive acquisition target in three to five years. 

The Company seeks seed investment of $1 million in capital, will be used to create the full personalized online service, launch within six months of funding and operate the service through its first year.

The Company’s intention is to realize a 5 to 10X return on investment in 3-5 years through an exit strategy of selling the company to either an insurance/healthcare provider (i.e. Kaiser Permanente), a game/toy company (i.e. Mattel), a health portal (i.e. WebMD) or a food distributor (i.e. Safeway).


 

Competitive advantage

Food N’ Me offers two distinct advantages to the online market(s) the company serves. 

First, the Company is one of the few Internet-based programs to address both children and parents in an integrated, highly personalized way in the home.  The Company’s competition extends from doctors to diet books.  Nutritionists and personal trainers are limited to the value they can offer one-on-one.  Diet centers and diet foods costs are high and the value extends as long as the family or individual adheres.  Other web sites offer either a single tool for meal planning and recipes, diet logging for adults, or single games for children.  Food N’ Me has not found a web site that provides lasting benefit simultaneously to children and families. 

Second, the Company provides a customized experience of comprehensive nutrition education fun for children and easy for parents to incorporate into their busy daily family lives which should anchor Food N’ Me securely as their source of choice for a healthy eating childhood and for obesity prevention.

The Company anticipates a gradual increase in competition from other online providers, but the Company’s research and projections indicate that many customers will prefer the highly customized and integrated experience that would make Food N’ Me the most appealing option to families with children.  

Several strategies the company expects could keep Food N’ Me ahead of the competition:  

  1. First-mover advantage with top health portals, insurance companies and schools. 
  2. Rapid application development (RAD) approach with quarterly releases informed by on-going customer input and feedback to keep abreast of market needs. 
  3. Development of the most effective relevance and personalization engine.  Research has indicated that many of the Company’s prospective customers use the Internet to research diet and nutrition programs for their families, but want to do business with a company that makes it easy and fun for families to digest “byte” sized advice tailored to their children’s age, gender and level of physical activity, while respecting their family’s food preferences and parenting styles. 

The Company believes this expanding new market can support as many as a handful of similar online providers, once Food N’ Me is running profitably.