Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
We are FoodMarble, a Dublin-based start-up specialising in consumer products to help people improve their digestive wellbeing. We have just launched our first product, AIRE, the world’s first personal, portable digestive tracker for pre-order on our website (foodmarble.com) for the special price of €109 (expected retail price €165). AIRE is a handheld, breath analysis device which helps people identify the foods most compatible with their unique digestive system. By measuring their response to certain key food components, the AIRE device and app can estimate the user’s compatibility with a huge range of everyday foods. This is especially valuable for people who have problems digesting certain foods.
— FoodMarble (@FoodMarble) December 8, 2016
How are you different?
While breath analysis has been used to measure food compatibility in some of the top hospitals around the world for decades, AIRE is the world’s first personal, portable digestive tracker. We wanted to make this approach accessible and affordable to far more people and in that respect, AIRE is the first device of its kind.
Why will the company / product do well?
Looking forward, we feel we are in a good position to succeed for three main reasons. Firstly, there is an enormous need for this product. There are so many people with highly disruptive digestive symptoms who are finding it difficult to get meaningful support right now through the regular channels. Secondly, we’ve got an incredibly effective team who has managed to overcome numerous obstacles already to get where we are. Finally, we have based our product on a well-established clinical technique which has been in use by gastroenterologists for a long time.
Where are you based?
Our main office is in Dublin. We’re working in FlexHuddle, an excellent co-working space in Harold’s Cross.
When was the company launched?
Aonghus began working on the idea about 2 years ago, originally as a means to help his girlfriend who was having trouble with certain foods. However, it quickly became clear that this was a device that had the potential to help a huge number of people worldwide. The core founding team formed (and the company set up) in January of this way.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
We’ve had a pretty exciting year. We were accepted onto HAX (the world’s largest hardware accelerator, backed by SOSV) in January 2016. As part of HAX, we received our first piece of investment and we had the opportunity to develop the product design in Shenzhen, China which is a global manufacturing hub. We were also semi-finalists in the OneStart Europe competition, the largest life sciences and healthcare accelerator. Closer to home, since HAX, we’ve been accepted onto the Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up programme and earlier this month Aonghus, our CEO, won Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for South Dublin which earned us €15,000 and a place in the next round of the competition. However, our greatest win this year has probably been the support we’ve received from people around the world who have already pre-ordered an AIRE device on foodmarble.com to help fund our first manufacturing run.
— FoodMarble (@FoodMarble) November 27, 2016
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
1 in 8 people worldwide suffer from highly disruptive digestive symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The latest research has shown that adjusting your diet to avoid foods that your body cannot properly digest can help improve symptoms. AIRE is designed to help people who regularly experience these digestive problems, so that they can identify the foods that suit their unique digestive system, since foods affects everyone differently.
— FoodMarble (@FoodMarble) September 12, 2016
Tell us about your team?
There are 4 of us in total. Aonghus Shortt (CEO), Lisa Ruttledge (COO) and Peter Harte (CTO) are engineers from Dublin, Kildare and Louth respectively (they all met during their engineering PhDs in UCD) and Dr James Brief (Chief Medical Officer) is a gastroenterologist from New York. As well as previous start-up experience, we are very fortunate to have in-house programming, electronics and clinical expertise.
What are your long-term plans for your product / company?
Once this round of pre-orders close, we plan to go to manufacture and deliver the first batch of AIRE devices to our early backers by August 2017. Early 2017 will mark the opening of our seed round of investment, followed by hires in programming, digital marketing and sales. On that note, anyone interested in getting involved in an early stage company, we have a number of internships available now. A big part of 2017/2018 will also be about developing the overall platform around the product, including our app and cloud backend.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
We all have Xiaomi Mi Band 2’s. Which are excellent activity trackers. We’ve started getting very competitive over who can do the most steps! Though not quite high tech, as a digestive health company, we’re big fans of the Squatty Potty (love your gut!)
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
We’re looking forward to getting one of the TrainerBot ping pong robots in the office. Also very interested in the SCiO portable analyser.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
We’re offering a limited number of devices for pre-order, so if you’d like to get one for the special pre-order price, then head on over to foodmarble.com/preorder.
How do people get in touch with you?