An interview with Erwin Parviz, co-founder of 100nuts which recently closed a seed round on SeedLegals. 100nuts is launching an ai-driven personalised meal planning application to help people optimise their nutritional intake.
What does your 100nuts do?
We are developing a compass to help users navigate the food space.
To build a consistently healthy eating pattern is a complex task. You need to reach daily a recommended intake target for each of the dozens of nutrients essential to your health, while keeping your consumption of calories, salt, added sugar etc below specific limits and making choices consistent with your own factors (e.g. food intolerance, principles). The food provenance could matter too. Last, you may have a food budget to deal with. How can all such constraints and preferences be satisfied without digital assistance? The relative lack of transparency of the food industry and the gigantism of the offer make the problem worse.
The overweight and obesity rates in the UK are a sad and ominous illustration of the issue. It is also probably just the tip of the iceberg.
Whether you "simply" want to follow a healthy diet, prepare yourself for a demanding sport event or lose weight, our food compass will guide you all along your nutritional journey and enable you to follow your optimal diet as simply as following directions from a mapping app.
What made you start 100nuts - a personal passion, a problem you identified, or a market opportunity?
All of the above!
Also, the founders are keen mountaineers, trail runners or long-distance cyclists, all sharing the view that nutrition starts and ends with food. We could not find any practical and effective solution to help us make the optimal food choices (what to eat and when), when training or in the context of a sport event preparation.
What funding have you received so far?
We have just closed a £220k pre-seed round.
How did you find your investors, and were they angels or VCs?
All are angels and they are from our personal networks.
We only met with a handful of VCs as we felt like we might be too early stage for them.
Do you think they invested in the concept, the product, the founders, or the team?
Mostly the concept and the founders.
There is no doubt that those 4 points would have mattered to them, but when we approached our investors, we only had a simple prototype and to a great extent, the team was made of the founders.
Our professional background helped too.
Any advice for the perfect pitch deck?
I don't know if one should aim for "perfection" when drafting a pitch as it might prove to be a long and daunting exercise.
I also don't know if there is such a thing as a universally good pitch: a number of factors -your product, stage of development, audience to name a few- have an impact on its content and structure. It is very much a shape-shifting object.
So, take a look at the deck used by more advanced startups which enjoyed a decent success in fundraising. A maximum of 5 samples, from startups operating in different sectors, and none drafted more than 2 years ago. Get inspired, draft your own and then start presenting. You will soon identify patterns in the feedback you receive which will help you improve your deck.
Maybe one specific point to add, find your own visual identity.
What was the hardest thing about raising funding?
To remain patient and to build the mental discipline to constructively use lukewarm reactions or negative answers as useful inputs to improve our pitch, our product, ourselves.
It is easier to let rejection breed frustration. It is also sterile and in the long run, detrimental to your project.
If there were three pieces of fundraising advice you could give other founders, what would they be?
1. Be mindful to not let obstination take over tenacity when exploring funding prospects.
2. Don't lock yourself into your own bubble and assess jointly with your partners and team what you could do better in terms of networking and pitching,
3. Be fully engaged AND breathe out.
How did you hear about SeedLegals, and how was your experience?
We dealt with a number of law firms in our previous jobs and we feared that working with a "traditional" one for our first round was likely to be a costly exercise. A short demo of the SeedLegals platform, and we were in.
We have found it truly effective and the concierge service made the experience seamless. It simply is a great platform supported by good people and priced very competitively.
What's next on the horizon for 100nuts?
We are now building our product with a beta version to be released by the end of the year and the final version going live in Q1 next year.