One of the themes you may pick up on with my angel series is “Ultra Light Startups.” As in Graham Lawlor’s community in NYC and Boston. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at several Ultra Light events as both a panelist and a judge. It also turns out that I’ve invested in a few startups where the original “connection” was at one of Graham’s events. Clean Plates was one of those investments:
That evening, I met Clean Plates founder and CEO, Jared Koch, and had a chance to listen to his vision for the company. Almost everything he said resonated with me, primarily because his company represents a personal interest of mine, and a lifestyle that I seek to follow (to various degrees of success!), that of clean eating. It always helps when your investors have a deeper connection to your company’s mission.
Clean Plates is a multi-channel media platform in the healthy eating / sustainable living / lifestyle space. A market that has been growing year over year and one that is still very much in its infancy. Jared started with a coffee table size physical book, much like the Zagat, that covers all of the sustainable and conscious kitchens in Manhattan. The database has been complied based on a unique rating system that he came up with from his years as a nutritionist and his research on healthy sustainable eating.
The book has now sold over 30,000 copies, the website has been growing in traffic, expansion into other markets has begun, and the mobile app launched earlier this year. And this is just the beginning. There is still so much exposure and education to be done in this space, and the digital products that Clean Plates offers, position it as a leader and innovator in this emerging space. The company has many unique opportunities to leverage its growing authority in this space. Traction is key, and Clean Plates has shown all of the early signs of a brand that can get big quick with the right ingredients at the table.
Why I Invested:
First and foremost, I invested in Clean Plates because its being led by entrepreneurs with a solid vision for building products and services in an enormous market that is in its infancy and growing every day. The idea is important, and the people behind it are more important because they are the ones who in the end will get the job done.
Second, this particular opportunity is a community / lifestyle media play that offers endless opportunities for content and brand extension. This brand can extend to events, digital properties, traditional media, even physical products if they wanted. Lots and lots of opportunity to seize.
And finally, as I mentioned before, I personally believe in the vision of Clean Plates, and want to see them succeed on this important mission of educating the public on clean healthy eating and making it accessible to everyone.