Eating Smart Just Getting Smarter with SmartPlate
“The First Wealth is Health,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. And we couldn’t agree more. Imagine a plate so smart that it would tell you the calorie and nutritional contents of your food, so you’d know what you’re eating and how your food would affect your health and weight. It also reminds you when you’d need to take your next meal and what you should consume.
It’s called SmartPlate and it’s coming soon in Fall 2016.
What’s SmartPlate, actually?
SmartPlate is the world’s first intelligent plate that instantly analyzes a user’s entire meal with the highest degree of accuracy. Its patent-pending technology deploys advanced image recognition and weight sensors to identify and weigh everything from single foods to prepared meals within seconds.
First, food is identified through our proprietary image recognition.
Second, the load sensors weigh the known food.
Third, the app sends both the image and weight data to its proprietary cloud for analysis.
Finally, nutritional information is relayed back to the user’s mobile app. Alerts and notifications can be tailored to remind consumers when to eat, hydrate, and much more.
Founded by Anthony Ortiz in Philadelphia, PA, SmartPlate is backed by scientists and a two-time Digital Health award winner, University City Science Center-backed and DreamIt Health alumni, with a proven track record for vetted technological innovation. SmartPlate is a product developed by a company named Fitly, Inc., founded by Ortiz.
Here is our interview with Ortiz:
Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than this startup that you have built or achieved.
Before Fitly, I started a successful logistics company with just $10,000. At month six, I was generating 500,000 in revenue and $1 million in revenue at month 12 and subsequently sold the company under 18 months. I was featured in the Bergen County press and lived in a very uncomfortable attic the entire time as noticeable by the picture in this article.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My father went through triple bypass surgery, which was the hardest thing for my family and me. Learning that it could have been prevented through simple diet changes, I knew I had to do something for him, and for the millions of people that are trying to promote a healthier lifestyle, lose a few pounds, improve their physical performance, or living with a chronic condition. The current solution is just too frustrating to use, and people cannot engage for longer than three months.
How do you know people need what you’re making?
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension are now global pandemics. The route cause of these dietary related diseases is primarily poor nutrition and every day over 100 million Americans are turning to manual calorie counting application which is time-consuming, frustrating, and worst of all, inaccurate.
This demand has been validated by the 2,500 units we have sold to over 2,000 customers in 20+ countries. They tell us how much they or someone they care about needs this product in their lives.
Coupled with the fact that the average consumer is faced with over 200 food decisions each day, eats four times per day (i.e. 28 times/week), and is accustomed to eating from a plate –we conservatively believe that folks will use the device and app at least three times per week.
Furthermore, studies have proven that people who keep food journals maintain a healthy weight, thereby reducing the risk of developing weight-related illnesses. For a diabetic (Type 1 or Type 2), SmartPlate is a “must have” that will help them manage their insulin intake by providing accurate nutritional information such as carbohydrates (in grams), sugars and fibers. SmartPlate is not a medical device. Therefore FDA approval is not required.
What problem were you seeking to solve?
Every day, an average consumer is faced with over 200 food decisions that have a dramatic impact on the state of their health. These choices lead many toward a path of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and many other diet-related health conditions.
To combat this problem each day, over 100 million Americans turn to manual calorie-counting applications to help with their dietary objectives, but these current solutions are time-consuming, frustrating, and worst of all, they’re inaccurate.
Diseases related to poor nutrition, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension have become global pandemics. Today, 95 million Americans are living with at least one of these chronic diseases, which research has shown are directly linked to improper diet management.
Furthermore, studies have proven that people who keep food journals maintain a healthy weight, thereby reducing the risk of developing weight-related illnesses.
How far along are you?
Since our successful Kickstarter campaign, we have sold nearly 2,500 units in 20 countries and have generated almost $250,000 in pre-order sales in just a few months. In this month alone, we pre-sold $11,000 worth of SmartPlates. We’ve been featured in “Beyond the Wearables” on Good Morning America, CBS (Top 10 Tech at CES), Forbes Magazine, and made Top Ten in Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge.
We’ve also signed incredible launch partners such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, Fab.com, Jet.com, and Brookstone. Also, we just secured $1 million in debt financing from our anchor partner and OEM, Arrow Electronics, and were accepted into J&J’s Health & Wellness Program, as well as Pfizer’s Health & Wellness Program here in the Bay Area.
If you’ve already started working on it, how long have you been working and how many lines of code (if applicable) have you written?
We started working on the Kickstarter campaign in March 2015. Since then, we have been working tirelessly for over a year. Between our web app getsmartplate.com, mobile app (in development), and our proprietary image recognition software, we have written 200,000+ lines of code. We also have two issued utility patents, one non-provisional design patent-pending, and filed PCT applications for 140+ countries.
What is the market for your service or product?
We have identified three target market groups:
Fitness enthusiasts: Our initial target market is athletes (cross fitters, professional athletes, bodybuilders) and health-conscious individuals trying to achieve or maintain a fitness goal.
Weight-conscious consumers: Individuals paying for weight management tools or weight loss programs.
Clinical solutions: Individuals with a chronic condition (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease) related to poor nutrition.
These three groups represent a serviceable addressable market of 100 million customers. Based on research for comparable products, such as Fitbits, weight loss programs, high-end glucose monitors, and others. We estimate our serviceable obtainable market size to be 14 million, which represent a $2.2 billion market cap.
Although we’ve proven a global demand for our product as we’ve sold thousands of units in more than 17 countries, our focus will be to win the North American market first. Based on actual sales data, our current customer demographic is 80 percent female, age 28 to 55, with $40K+ annual income, and college educated.
What made you think it could be a successful product and service?
Our secret sauce is a blend of proprietary deep learning algorithms, training methodologies and a unique dataset that has an enormous potential to serve a broad range of purposes. We also have an experienced team of repeat entrepreneurs, and experts in machine learning and computer vision.
How did you get the money to start your business initially?
Bootstrapping and from family and friends. We also launched in 2015 on Kickstarter and successfully raised over $110,000.
Have you gotten other investors to invest in your business? Who? How much?
To date, we have raised $1.6 million through VC, angel groups, private investors, and friends and family.
What’s the retail price of SmartPlate?
SmartPlate v1 will retail for $99, SmartPlate v2 will retail for $149.
What were your annual sales and profits before your Shark Tank appearance?
Before Shark Tank, we are generating $10,000 to $15,000 in pre-orders per month.
Where and at how many locations were you selling your product before Shark Tank?
We were taking pre-orders online via getsmartplate.com.
How did you go about making a prototype, sourcing the materials and finding a manufacturer?
We hired a design company to make the prototype and reached out to many domestic and international manufacturers to find the best deal.
Where is your product made?
Our first shipment will be manufactured in the USA.
How is the product distributed?
It will be distributed through Wynit Distribution, the largest distributor in North America of wearable device.
What are your goals for your business over the next year and five years?
We are projecting $1 million in revenue in 2017, $5 million in 2018, $25 million in 2019, $100 million in 2020.
Do you have domain expertise in this area?
As a solo founder, I designed and led the technical hypothesis for SmartPlate’s image recognition technology. Before Fitly, I founded a successful transportation logistics company, which I grew to a 30 person team, hit $1 million in revenue, and sold it under eighteen months.
I also held executive & managerial positions in both finance and retail. I was a mortgage broker on Wall Street and DM for a family owned and operated Blockbuster Video franchise in the Greater Philadelphia Area. I turned my first profit when I was 12 selling skateboard parts.
Watch how smart SmartPlate is:
Image Credit: SmartPlate