ShopWell, launched in 2010, was one of the first startups to explore personalized nutrition, an area which is starting to gain momentum in Silicon Valley in an increasingly crowded health and wellness app marketplace. The app, which has been downloaded over 2.5 million times, scans packaged foods at retail and provides a score based on the user’s profile. The app’s patented algorithm helps to analyze packaged food and give real-time matching scores against a user’s personalized nutritional profile which factors in a user’s gender, age, allergies and dietary goals.
The deal extends Innit, which has developed a platform for appliance makers to create connected products for the kitchen, further into the nutritional and shopping portions of the food experience. ShopWell’s database of over 400 thousand packaged food items and consumer facing app allows Innit to touch the consumer’s food experience from the point of purchase to consumption.
Kevin Brown, CEO of Innit, told the Spoon he feels the deal allows the combined company to provide something unique in the market.
“This puts us in a unique spot,” said Brown. “We now have what is the market’s leading personalized food platform and now can pair it with the work Innit has done to make it actionable in the kitchen.”
According to Brown, Innit has done extensive work on creating a raw food database as part of an effort to create recipe-driven instructions sets that enable appliances to recognize and perform cooking functions automatically. By combining this with ShopWell’s large database of packaged foods, Innit now has a new way to differentiate itself.
They will need it in an increasingly heated battle to become the kitchen and food “operating system”. Over the past year, other companies such as Drop and SideChef have joined Innit in chasing appliance makers to provide software to help make their devices more intelligent. Innit’s early push to create a kitchen OS led them to land Whirlpool’s Jenn-Air division last year, and over the past few months Drop has announced deals with Bosch and GE Appliances.
The deal also puts Innit in the middle of what some are calling the “Internet of Food”, a nascent effort to create a data ontology of the food universe. Unlike connected devices with radios, processors and operating systems built in, the food world is much more difficult to map. There are private university driven efforts such as those by IC-3, open source industry projects such as the Sage Project and Food Wiki, and government efforts such as the USDA food products database, which are joined by companies such as Shopwell/Innit and Edamam in expanding and standardizing the food data layer.
Innit’s Brown sees the combined company as providing this map as well as instructions on how to get from one place to other in the kitchen.
“Think of it as Waze,” said Brown. “We’re creating a GPS for food.”
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