We have had the pleasure of working with Allergy Amulet for the last couple of years, since they started with another FPC client, Gener8tor, a Midwest start-up accelerator. We are excited that their Chief Marketing Officer, Meg Nohe, agreed to answer a few questions for us so we could share how awesome they are!
Tell us about Allergy Amulet.
Allergy Amulet is creating a paradigm shift in food safety with a fast and portable food allergen and ingredient detection device. Our company’s patented sensor technology represents a breakthrough application of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) to the field of molecular detection.
Users can test a sample of their dish and find out if their allergen is present in seconds. Our goal is to take the worry off our user’s plates—something that’s very personal for many of our team members!
What made you decide to join Allergy Amulet? Why was it the right time?
I joined Allergy Amulet in 2016 in our very early days! Most of my career has been in medical device sales and product launch, and I have a daughter with severe peanut and tree nut allergies. Finding Allergy Amulet (where I can combine my professional know-how and personal passion) was a dream come true!
Tell us about the type of clients you work with.
Our device will be sold directly to consumers via our website and app. We’re also planning a future commercial application for food manufacturers, restaurants, and schools.
What have been the biggest challenges OR what has been the biggest surprise?
For most of my career, I’ve worked for large corporations, which is a very different work culture from that of a start-up. There’s no playbook or blazed trail when you’re at a start-up, which can be challenging, but it’s also what has made the job so fun! We’re blazing our own trail—not just with our product, but with a new product category of consumer food allergen detection devices!
Why has Madison been the right place for your business?
Allergy Amulet initially came to Madison in 2016 when we joined the accelerator Gener8tor, and we stayed for several reasons. Madison has an up-and-coming startup scene, and the tight-knit companies within the community really lean on each other for support.
Avoiding placing our HQ in a coastal city has also allowed us to maintain a lean budget and focus our funds on what’s most important—advancing the science. Interestingly, in one VC fund’s 10-year review, they found that their portfolio companies located outside NYC and the Bay Area performed 1.3% better than their peers!
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
We’d love to see more companies investing in women! The same 10-year study referenced above also showed that companies with a female founder performed 63% better than all-male founded teams. The majority of our leadership team (and board of directors) at Allergy Amulet is female.
What’s one piece of advice you have for your clients or parents of children with allergies?
It WILL get easier! Like a lot of parents, I was extremely overwhelmed when my daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies in 2014. Food allergies are not something I’d choose for my child, but it’s just something we manage—she’s now in kindergarten and able to participate in all the same activities as her friends (with a little planning ahead for special snacks and meals 😁).
Having food allergies in 2018 is MUCH easier than in years past. FDA-regulated food allergen labeling has made things a lot easier, and many brands are now making allergy-friendly products. Schools are also much more aware, and parents are educating themselves. Social media has helped to connect the food allergy community—you’re not in it alone! Finally, there are several companies developing technologies and products to better manage food allergies—including Allergy Amulet!
Is there any other information you’d like us to highlight about Allergy Amulet?
We are slated to start pre-sales for the Allergy Amulet late Spring 2019. If you’re interested to learn more, sign up for our newsletter and blog at http://www.allergyamulet.com/#signup!