This is the second of four recaps-that-I'm-behind-on of The Consumer Show at Switchyards, which I am putting together into a quadruple feature, because my full-time job ate my life for the last few months. Thanks for the patience, everyone!
So, The Consumer Show, Better Late Than Never, Part 2:
THE PITCH RECAPS:
Healthful: Affordable, transparent healthcare for the uninsured and the underinsured. | If you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you might not have noticed that a big chunk of American society is struggling to find not just healthcare, but healthcare that covers what they actually need and what they can afford.
This is where Healthful comes in. The company offers membership-based maintenance and preventative care plans that are tailored for individual healthcare needs; affordable, transparent primary care and preventative medical services. (That “transparent” part is huge — the current U.S. healthcare market is, well, not exactly clear and easy to understand. It’s confusing and inefficient. You know, you’ve been there.)
What did they do really well? It’s been a long journey, with lots of ideas and reasearch, persistence and working in a highly regulated space. They have done well understanding the difference in local laws, and figuring out how to get into markets as efficiently and cheaply as possible. They are a business model that is blurring the lines of what’s insurance and what’s not.
What can the community help with? It’s very early, so they are still doing customer discovery. Contact them, they would love to hear feedback, do some interviews, and make their product and service as awesome as possible.
— Healthful —
The healthful concept targets those with no healthcare or with a high deductible. They offer pretty affordable subscription plans (pricing is still in flux as they’re determining the sweet spot, but the goal is providing something affordable while reaching the largest audience possible). Consumers just sign up and get those services, tailored just for their needs, with no co-pay.
Most of us pay a lot for insurance that we never use unless we break a leg or come down with something horrible; Healthful lets you pick basic items and they will soon have add-on packages for things like cancer as well. They have a huge market opportunity — which you or someone you know is probably a part of.
Shef: Efficient meal planning for home cooks. | How often do you buy a big package of something for one recipe … and forget about what’s left in the package, which then goes bad in your fridge a week later? Yep, that’s depressing. But no more! Shef is the app for you: It helps you minimize waste and maximize savings with a seamless plan that helps you use what you buy.
What did they do really well? The biggest things they heard was “find your team,” but that’s hard when talking about food. People were interested in eating it but not building out the app; what they needed was to figure out what it was initially, and that was the hardest part, many people don’t want to jump onboard for a earning process. So they didn’t feel like needed to hire from the beginning, because if you hire, you need to know what job they’re going to have first. You just don’t always have to hire and scale from the very beginning.
What can the community help with? Sign up on the Website, they’re launching the full version this summer, and otherwise if you’re a cook or have problems, come talk to them and share stories, really good pics or recipes.
— Shef —
Basically, you “plan away the waste.” You make a plan for the week and then use everything you buy.
I know, right??? I cook a lot, I am a thrifty, thrifty lady who is tight friends with Tupperware, ice-cube-tray-prepping and a deep freeze, but even I sometimes have this problem.
The app seamlessly aggregates recipes and ingredients into one grocery list, and lets you scale the serving size to what you need (if you cook for one, nobody wants six rounds of one meal in a week). When you select a recipe, the app knows the ingredients, so it finds other recipes that finish off what you bought. It even looks at perishability — rice can go for awhile, but cilantro has to get used right away, for example.
Up next, they’re planning to build in commissions off product referrals (want to make this cake recipe and need a mixer? Amazon can pop up to suggest one … and Shef will get a kickback), and start looking at using the analytics and data they collect to drive decision-making and new recipes for regular users.
PadSplit: Making home affordable. | There’s a shortage of quality, affordable housing in Atlanta in safe, respectable neighborhoods.
Say you’re commuting from far outside Atlanta to downtown. You don’t make a lot, certainly not enough to qualify for an apartment intown, where rent is likely to be something like one-third of your monthly income. There are some unsavory options (live with extended family, in your car, just farther away…) but no great answers.
Until now. PadSplit turns existing unaffordable homes into shared living experiences for multiple people in need of more affordable housing. So you can look at that one-third of your income and find a fully furnished place in a nice area, all utilities included and laundry facilities, for that same price.
Your payments are linked to your pay period, so no more agonizing about which bill to pay. (Lights are great but roofs are better...) And it’s also good for landlords, as it increases their income 15 to 60 percent; spots are almost never vacant; it reduces traffic; there’s no public subsidy; and it gives the landlord an incentive to upgrade equipment.
Atlanta has one of the largest apartment sizes in the country, on average consuming 590 square feet per person. PadSplit is 260 square feet per person, and fills a 25,000 shortage of units for people making less than 25K.
PadSplit aims to change the discussion in Atlanta, empowering individual investors to create more units and create affordable, safe spaces for others at the same time.
What did they do really well? The greatest need is workforce housing, and their team understood where to add value there.
— PadSplit —
They use information from Georgia Power to baseline utilities (since those are included), and have installed energy-efficient water fixtures and preach respect from intake throughout the entire process.
If you’re worried about regulations, for example restrictions on the number of unrelated parties in one house or people renting rooms, don’t worry — none of their residents “rent rooms,” they are in fact members of a single-asset entity, and as a benefit of the membership, they get to occupy the space. (Sneaky, PadSplit.) But they do still stick to fire code, because safety first.
Interestingly, they address possible common-area squabbles by setting up lounge areas with tables and chairs as opposed to couches (they said, and I quote, “Bad stuff happens on sofas”). All agreements are one week, so if you move in and it’s not your thing, you can move back out again. And over time, residents will be able to rate each other on the platform as well.
Looklive: Get inspired. Browse influencer fashion and buy the look. | With the advent of Instagram influences and tracking celebrities online constantly, more and more people want to know what those influencers are wearing.
Now you can — Looklive can tell you what your favorite celebrity is wearing, and where to get it! You see a jacket on a celebrity, go to the app, tap the photo and it’ll show what he’s wearing, plus a more affordable version as well. Male millennials are the target here, and they are extremely active on the platform.
What did they do really well? Their SEO is very high — you type in “Justin Bieber fashion,” they are #1 in the search results, and images act like written content. They failed so many times, but they take failure and learn, and just make a better product.
What can the community help with? They are learning to build an e-commerce goliath , so anyone with experience in ecommerce, help them learn how to keep the community engaged through the lifecycle journey, and become an e-commerce player.
— Looklive —
Looklive gets more than 20,000 photos and videos week over week, so as soon as the red carpet happens, they get the looks in about two seconds (they have a closed partnership deal for those photos). They also have partnered with more than 2,500 retailers and brands to share millions of products to consumers, including new designers and stylists.
How does it work? They match to items by getting the images utilizing an ftp server, then the technology tells them, “These are Adidas shoes, and these are the best matches.” Then human editors behind the scenes confirm matches, which trains the algorithm to best match. They’ve also built style profiles for celebrities which is close to an AI version, which allows the technology to say, “It’s a black bomber jacket, and X Celebrity typically wears Saint Laurent, so it’s probably this black bomber jacket from YSL.”
Does this work? Well, they had a professional soccer player who used their app to buy $30,000 worth of clothes. So, yes?
They also have a partnership with Taboola, which uses a widget to populate outfits right inside the article, allowing users to shop as they’re reading about their favorite celebrities.
As a Y-Combinator startup and with more than 1 million monthly visitors to the site, I’d say that $30k soccer player is just the first of many.
BOOP: Built out of paper — using an amazing material like never before. | Y’all, I liked this presentation so much that I booked them to pitch at ATLSV the very next month. And I want them to make all the things!
So here’s the pitch: Most people have moved at least four times in their lives so far. It’s exciting, but it also typically involves not only getting rid of old furniture, but also then a trip to IKEA to get new items. Ones you very likely don’t have the right tools or the right pieces to put together. (We’ve all had those fun times with IKEA stuff, right?)
Not to mention, what’s that svelte plastic LUNDKë SHELF actually made of? It’s probably not recyclable. (There are 9.8 million tons of furniture dumped that we can’t recycle)
With BOOP, there is a better way! (You knew that was coming.)
It’s a better way to buy temporary furniture, just by changing the material it’s made out of: Cardboard! Yes, it’s a cool material that’s more than just an Amazon box showing up on your doorstep each week. Corrugated cardboard has a unique structure that’s strong but lightweight, sustainably sourced, made in the USA, from recycled cardboard, and it’s 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable! And don’t roll your eyes — cardboard is the number one most recycled substance in the United States already, so why not toss that bookcase once you’re done with it?
What did they do really well? The founder, Dara, is an idea entrepreneurial type of person, and she just throws weird things against the wall to see what sticks. She’d love to talk to someone who has ideas they want to vet out or that are just stuck in their brains.
What can the community help with? Shameless plug here: Buy a bookcase! Also, she wants the Switchyards audience buying bookcases, because she needs honest and constructive feedback for the next iterations.
— BOOP —
Their bookcase (which is super cute) ships free to your door for just $49, and goes together with no tools or nails needed. It weighs less than nine pounds, so you can easily bring it up the stairs to your new place, and it’s strong, as each shelf holds up to 25 pounds of weight. The top even has a moisture-resistant barrier for those times you set down your glass of water and forget it. It even comes in a sturdy cardboard box meant to be reused as under-bed storage. What more could you want?
If you said more colors, not to worry, they are planning to come out soon with a full array (glitter! foil!) It’s paper at its heart, so you can print whatever you want! In the meantime, you can paint it, bedazzle it, or vinyl it up.
Coming up next, they will be designing dressers, tables, stools and more. Cardboard is kind of an endless supply of creativity, when you think about it. And I cannot wait to see their next designs!
That's a wrap for the twenty-fifth Consumer Show at Switchyards; see you there next time?