Catherine Crandall is the founder of Amlia. Like so many of our members, she founded her company to solve a real problem she was facing in her everyday life. She was finding it difficult to organize and track her daily supplements; when she discovered that she wasn’t alone, she was inspired to fill that gap!
Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
Amlia solves a problem that over 200 million people deal with every day – complicated vitamin and dietary supplement routines. Inspired by my own health scare, I learned about and began taking supplements rather than medications with unacceptable side-effects.
It’s really important to take supplements correctly, at the right time of day and with or without food. At first, I relied on a physical approach to organizing my routine, with a lineup of bottles on my countertop. My doctor wants to know what I am taking, so I used a spreadsheet to share dosage information – it was challenging to keep details up to date. I would forget to take things, so I created appointments in my calendar.
Taking supplements was solving my health problems, but my routine had become cumbersome and a bit embarrassing. A chance conversation led to me to recognize that the problem of complicated, confusing and cumbersome supplement routines is not unusual. We’ve seen many examples of how digital platforms enabling people to do everyday things better can represent a venture-scale business opportunity, and I jumped at the chance to do this.
There are numerous pill trackers for medication adherence, but nothing specialized for people taking supplements. In 2017, I enrolled in a General Assembly bootcamp to learn how to design an app, last year I bootstrapped a development effort to write the code, and this past February, Amlia launched in the app stores.
Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?
I’m a sole founder, but have definitely not gone it alone. Amlia’s development team is Mined Minds, coal miners from rural West Virginia who have been re-trained to code; a longtime friend who is an experienced product manager has generously lent her expertise, and a seasoned UX designer and data scientist have made important contributions.
Recognizing the value of having a co-founder, I hope to one day find a business partner with skills that complement mine to grow the business.
How is your company making a difference?
Amlia will make a difference by helping people to better organize and communicate about an important activity to achieve wellness, performance (biohacking is a common expression) and longevity and to connect with a community of like-minded people.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Long work days, a relentless schedule and not enough sleep are detrimental to my personal wellness – I’m passionate about Amlia and it’s difficult to turn off.
What is your biggest win?
A key goal was to complete a beta product in a year. Long work days, a relentless schedule and not enough sleep are detrimental to my personal wellness – I’m passionate about Amlia and it’s difficult to turn off.
Who is your role model?
Arianna Huffington – she first came to my attention as a “good wife” with a memorable accent who was supporting her spouse as candidate for California’s Governor. I did not forsee that an older woman could transform herself to become a serial technology entrepreneur and a champion for the importance of sleep.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
That the #metoo movement would happen and might even provide rocket fuel for conversations about women’s VC experiences, technology accelerator opportunities and attention to startup funding inequities.
As a women who turned 60 last year, I honestly NEVER thought this day would come in my lifetime!
What has been your experience with FFA?
FFA is a safe place to ask questions that might otherwise be out of place (“What did you pay for your MVP development?”), for assistance that I heard about but didn’t know how to acquire (AWS credits) and opportunities for amplification (like this one!)
Anything else you want people to know?
I am an ardent supporter of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge – it’s one of the world’s last truly wild places and it belongs to all of us, not for oil companies to profit from. My grandfather was a co-founder of the refuge.