Launch[ED] Day 2016: A Conversation with CEO of Meedu, Nadja Cajic
Meedu is an app that connects parents and their children together during the meal planning process. It features a gamified avatar that showcases the physical and mental effects that selected foods have, as well as provides detailed information regarding nutrition and portion sizes. Parents can utilize grocery lists inside of the app to take advantage of discounts to increase access to healthy foods and ensure that their child is going to school with a properly portioned and nutritious lunch every day.
This KC-based team has focused on taking realistic steps toward building a sustainable and more effective product for their users, valuing “doing it right” instead of “doing it fast.”
“We realize that we can’t open an app in two months, so we’re focused on building stepping stones to get us there,” explains Cajic. “We were all very excited to do the program, and we wanted to accomplish so much, [but] we had to take a realistic look. There are moments when we want things to move faster and go faster — this will happen, but we need to be realistic of time. We want to get things right before we rush ahead into other steps.”
For Cajic, the most valuable takeaway from the Fellowship program has been strategy.
“The thinking and the strategy [Katie and Aditya] have instilled in us, the supplemental and strategic planning documents, have helped us organize what we’re currently doing and what we want to achieve. Realistic goals, measuring. What do we want to get done? How? What are the measurements? What’s the timeline? Focus and organization is huge.”
All teams in the program have seed funding opportunities through the Incubator Fellowship: $10,000, and based upon Village Capital’s peer-evaluation process, an additional $25,000 will be granted to two teams only. The Village Capital peer-evaluation process looks at various attributes of a company, like team, product, customer validation, financials, scale and impact, and return on capital, to determine if it is ready for further investment. I asked Cajic what attributes the two selected teams should have in order to receive the additional seed funding.
“The winning team should be a team that is highly ambitious and driven and needs to focus not just on developing the product but also on how to take it further. How can we impact more community members? Make a better change in the community? Make sure that there is conscious capitalism and not leaving anybody out or harming others? Those teams are going to go further and be [more] successful, [because] the thing that drives them is their passion and will to make an impact beyond their desire to make money.”
The two teams that will be receiving this funding will be announced at Launch[ED] Day.
But what the peer-evaluation process leaves out is input from the community at large. That’s why The Lean Lab has created the Community Pick Award — a culmination of all ticket sales that will be awarded to the team that our community determines has the best impact in Kansas City education.
“We’re small and really new, but the extra money will help us take those steps to make an effective change,” says Cajic. “We want to help KC families nourish their bodies and minds, [and] that will then close the gap of education inequality.”