L.A.’s thriving tech community is not letting up on its ongoing effort to make the rest of the country more fit and healthy.
Launching today, FitKit prompts you to take a free lifestyle assessment quiz and then doles out personalized guidance from nutritionists. The quiz was designed by nutrition experts Dr. Robin Bernhoft and Dr. Nick Bitz. It asks questions about how much alcohol you consume per week, stress levels, eating habits, and more.
“America is a land of malnutrition,” said Dr. Bernhoft, who recently joined the founding team. “Practically everyone has vitamin and mineral deficiencies which make them feel less energetic, get sick easier, have less endurance.”
On the backend, cofounder Josh Haynam explained that an algorithm works to “analyze and connect user’s lifestyle patterns with nutritional deficiencies” and pairs them with appropriate nutritional supplements. It’s ideal for people who can’t afford a one-on-one session with a nutritionist but are overwhelmed by the range of products on the market that claim to improve joint pain or boost immunity.
The cofounders, Haynam, Matthew Clark, Rohit Seth, and Ethan Paulson (pictured with Dr. Bernoft), hope to use technology to make nutrition more accessible. ”Health and fitness has been jaded by outrageous claims and false advertisements,” Haynam told me.
Haynam is a 20-year-old economics student at UCLA. He founded the company in three months after a football accident in which he broke two bones in his foot. During his recovery, he was prescribed a variety of supplements by several nutritionists, setting him back thousands of dollars in medical bills. But he couldn’t find transparent advice online. It was then that he hit on the idea for FitKit.
FitKit is easy to get confused with FitBit, one of many new companies vying for dominance in the personalized health space. FitBit makes money by using data about your health to tailor a fitness plan, which will likely be the monetization strategy for this company if it succeeds in growing its user-base. The companies recently partnered so you can integrate your FitKit data into FitBit’s quiz to improve its accuracy.
You’re emailed recommendations, but as of today, you can also purchase nutritional supplements directly from the site.
It’s early, but it is already evidence of traction — FitKit offered its beta to friends and family, but told me they have been garnering hundreds of signups per day and are spreading by word of mouth. It’s a recent graduate of StartEngine, a local tech accelerator. Through that program, it raised its first $20,000 in seed funding, and has grown to a team of seven people.
Haynam considers sites that specialize in selling nutritional supplements like VitaCost as the major competitors. However, in the long-term, FitKit may rival later-stage startups like WellnessFX that offer online health consultations and have pioneered a data-driven approach to health.