Your start-up Compeat Nutrition has just been named as part of the cohort in the Icon Accelerator program, run by Slingshot and the University of Newcastle. How did you and your husband Daniel think of the app?
Before moving back to the Hunter in 2015, we were in Canberra while I worked at the Australian Institute of Sport as a sports dietitian. As we started a family, we faced the question of how I could continue to work in my specialised field, without needing to be located within an elite sporting hub. Our solution was to design an online platform that enabled me to service individuals of all competition levels without any geographical restriction. In these past 18 months, our idea has evolved with a vision of empowering our individual clients, and to provide a solution that reshapes the dietetic industry and promotes the value of our profession.
What precisely does the Compeat app offer?
Through a continuous and agile servicing approach, our app offers a mechanism to empower the active individual to achieve sustainable lifestyle changes, as well as meeting their nutrition-focused health and performance goals. The platform has also enhanced the value, efficiency and capability of the Accredited Dietitian utilising the app.
Who is your target client?
The everyday athlete. From parents, cross-fitters, fun runners, or the elite athlete. We are big believers in the notion that everyone can gain significant benefits in their professional, personal and active lives by eating like an athlete.
What skills do you and your husband bring to the start-up?
I am an advanced sports dietitian and accredited practicing dietitian; my husband is an engineer with a business management and leadership background. We both also come from sporting backgrounds, competing at a national and international level.
You left your job at the AIS to be in the Hunter. Was Compeat designed to assist athletes you once worked with in Canberra, or with a view to simply offer it to those athletes with a need for your help?
Our original goal was to share our knowledge with all individuals, no matter their competition level. However, we have now realised that the tool we have created has great potential in servicing athletes within a decentralised model – such as the AIS.
What convinced you there was a need for the app?
The dietetic industry is competing against a saturation of food advice, particularly via social media. We recognised a need to reinvent delivery of nutrition to the individual while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our services. If we can add value for both dieticians and our clients, we will have fulfilled our company’s goals.
How much has your business model changed since you first thought of the concept?
A lot! In the last 18 months I think we have been through four or five iterations. We are continually aiming to challenge what we do daily with the goal of being better tomorrow than what we were today. We are just your average young family, so taking each crazy day as it comes is an essential to our sanity!
How interactive is the app?
This is one of the things that makes us so much different. Our model focuses on agility and continuous support enabling the athlete to have almost immediate contact with their accredited dietitian through their user profile. Our app can be used for dietitian feedback, check-ins and questions, while also being extremely agile for immediate change. For example, historically an injured athlete would see a dietitian as an afterthought and often only after weight gain or performance loss. With our app, we can now instantaneously adjust nutrition recommendations and manage supplementation to ensure optimal body composition and recovery strategies are achieved from the start.
How is the app tracking?
We are currently at version two which has expanded on the core functionality to incorporate the client empowerment journey. We still have work to do but we have exciting things ready for release early in the new year – opening up our services to a wider range of active individual with greater flexibility.
What have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome to date?
For me it has been to break away from the norm and literally put almost everything we own into the idea. I don’t do well with change, but I am lucky to have my hubby who challenges us to defy the norm and do things differently. Possibly one of the things that makes us such a good team.
I don’t do well with change, but I am lucky to have my hubby who challenges us to defy the norm and do things differently.Alicia Edge
What is in the pipeline?
We have some exciting things coming in 2018. We are also about to embark on finalising the user side of the app around the dietitian interface.
What are you hoping to gain in Icon Accelerator?
To learn as much as we can and draw on the amazing knowledge and expertise that Slingshot provides through the accelerator, to cement our model and paint a clear path for Compeat Nutrition.