April 21, 2016
After one of its founders got in an unfortunate gun violence incidence, Kitchology, a startup focusing on merging food and technology, is looking to take the tech world by storm. Founded by Iris Sherman and Alain Briancon, the company spent some time with us to talk about the incident and how it’s affected the company’s goals for the future.
The idea for Kitchology came when Sherman looking to create a “coamanaging platform for people managing/dealing with special diets”. Founded back in 2013, it started as an exploratory LLC and has since expanded into the startup that it is today.
The “Woman Who Got Shot”
In a recent, poignant blog post, Sherman shares her experience of being a victim of gun violence last year. She describes the ordeal and her healing process:
“I have accepted risk, uncertainty, and rejection as tenets of the life of an entrepreneur – there are good things too-, but being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. Your need to be strong. Like many in business, I have used metaphors about shooting for a target, pulling the trigger on a program, finding the silver bullet to get a customer. I have watched my share of cops TV shows and movie dramas.
For all of that, nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what happened that December night. I never could have imagined that I would experience gun violence in my lifetime. It only took one bullet. Without a doubt, that has been the absolute worst, most unthinkable horror that has ever happened to me. This experience has changed me. I know I will never be the same person I was before that fateful December day. I know my family will never be the same. My team at work will never be the same. That bullet has changed the way I live, the way I work, the way I see life.”
It’s hard enough to be an entrepreneur. But it’s even harder to juggle running a business while recovering from a life-changing event such as this one. It’s inspiring to see Sherman’s path to recovery, especially utilizing that experience to create something new for the next stage in Kitchology’s business.
Advice for New Entrepreneurs
For Briancon, he says the biggest secret to success has been through working with a cofounder:
“Find a cofounder that you can trust, realize that this is almost like a life partner – a ‘work-life partner’; find someone and do it with [them].”
For Sherman, she dives more in detail about passion. “Having passion about what you’re trying to do. That passion drives you to the solution. In my last startup, I acutally walked away from the technology, because of the lack of passion. After my incident, this was especially reinforced. When you have a startup, you have to commit to working full-time hours, and sometimes more.”
Technology’s Role in the Company’s Expansion
For Kitchology, technology works as both an “input and export tool”.
These tools are used to assist with figuring out how to “mesh learning to improve models that predict how people are using food at home”. A fair amount of estimation and learning come from this, with an emphasis on utilizing a Netflix-type model, but for food.
There’s also a focus on incorporating the code wisdom of nutritionists and chefs, with respect to customers’ own dietary tastes.
Social media and content creation through blogging are especially important to continuing Kitchology’s mission. The brand especially utilizes Twitter for consumer interaction and acquisition. For content, they rely on their blog to work with a team of talented, passionate bloggers to bring fresh content to customers and site viewers.
What’s Next for Kitchology?
The company is going to be expanding beyond their focus on food allergies and intolerances.
There’s going to be a new focus on customers looking to reduce their sugar intake and wanting to lose weight. They also want to bring more of a focus on impacting pregnancy and maternity, and women who would like to be pregnant.
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