Yumble | Kid-friendly healthy meals | The Love Behind Food

hi I'm David Parker we're the founders of yumbul which is a weekly subscription of healthy delicious fully prepared kids meals delivered straight to the doors of busy parents our meals come fresh at your door and no cooking is required can you hear her no no no I don't think your mic is working could you turn with double check please yeah go ahead sing us a song or something you can have this off from the beginning jumble is yes you're fine yes sir all right jumble is a weekly subscription of healthy delicious kids meals delivered straight to the doors of busy parents the meals are delivered fresh to your door and no cooking is required okay as I said before Yamba was started out of my own personal pain point we have three adorable children at home and as a mother I cared a lot about the nutritious healthy food that I was putting in front of them every single day at the same time I was really stressed and didn't feel like I had enough time to actually put that healthy food on the table every single day and so I thought to myself there must be a better way not all of us had the hacks of these four myths all down buttoned up so nicely and I thought you know there must be some subscription service similar to a blue apron or a hellofresh but with two key differences number one it had to be specifically designed for children children have particular portion sizes nutritional needs taste preferences that you know go up and down and the second big difference was it had to be fully prepared because parents today are busier than ever and they just don't always have the time to come home from work and cook all of the meals and put them in front of their children so we decided to test the concept I'm so so we tested the concept in the New York area Joana cooked a week's worth of meals for about ten families in New York we drove them to their home they loved him so much they told their friends the next week we had even more customers they told their friends the next week we were getting emails and messages from across the country asking when are we going to bring the service to LA to Memphis to Boston and so fast forward two years we're now delivering to 30 states in the US and delivering to thousands of customers and are poised to be national within the next few months so we're obviously very excited about the business opportunity of yumbul but at its heart jumble is actually a mission driven company and it has two missions the first mission is to make parents lives easier parents today are busier than ever they have a lot of stress and they care more and more about the quality and the nutrition of the food that they're serving their children so young bull ones to make it easy for parents to put that healthy food on the table every single day and let them cross off one of their biggest stresses our second mission though is for the children I strongly believe that the earlier we teach children healthy eating habits the longer those habits will last and so we're thrilled to be here today and share yum Bowl with you and we're equally thrilled to have Danone as a partner with us to make this mission a reality thank you okay so great um so let's talk about a little bit about the startup you know at the beginning of jumble you know I mean the New York Post described you as a weekly delivery of health-conscious happy meals you know how do you make kids happy and you know with eating that's the challenge so I've always viewed young ball as much more than just food that arrives at your doorstep it's a full experience so when we send the box it comes not only with all of the meals fully prepared but it comes with a welcome kit strategies for parents on how to engage their children a lot of similar things that you just heard from Professor Haynes actually and then at the same time we try to make the food both exciting and interesting to the children so we send collectibles and coloring sheets and something we call Table Topics and your first delivery you get cards and on the cards are some conversation starters things to talk about so that when you're sitting at the table with your children you're not only focused on what the children are eating and what they're not eating but you're actually having a conversation and engaging in dialogue the way grown-ups would over food so we really try to get the children engaged and experiencing food in a way that is much healthier relationship okay and you know tell me about you know when did you start realizing that cooking healthy meals is a difficult task as a busy parent you know tell us more about you know how you got started with this you know challenge sure it's actually kind of ironic because I started yumbul and didn't have the time to do it when I was actually a stay-at-home mom and still without having a job outside of the home it still felt like I was spending so much time and energy trying to think of these meals and put them on the table for my children and come up with new recipes and try different things and then half the time kids are kids they would take the food throw it on the floor and then I felt like so much of my work was for nothing so I was feeling very frustrated about it and when I spoke to David I said this is driving me crazy and he said well why don't you see if anyone else has this problem so I actually decided to post anonymously on a Facebook mommy group I felt like if I capped my friends I wouldn't get objective responses and we were actually taking a family trip out to Vermont we had our kids in the backseat of the car and I had posted this post if anybody want me to cook their children dinner for the week and as we're driving I was driving David's like your phone is dinging it won't stop dinging people want meals strangers didn't know who I was I didn't offer even a menu they just said yes please cook my children dinner and really from that day forward the traction and the demand from customers has been staggering amazing so and then you have a list of people queuing up for this exactly since it was really just us we took the first ten customers we put everybody else on a waitlist and it really just kept spiraling and let's talk a little bit about your backgrounds because I mean Joanna you were a teacher before I was and you know how you sort of incorporated your background into building a start-up from being a stay-at-home mom to now a mom a mom entrepreneur yes it was definitely a challenging transition going from stay-at-home mom which is very busy to startup mom is insane it was a big transition for my children but I think having been a teacher it gave me two insights that were really actually quite helpful one obviously I had worked with children I was an early childhood educator but additionally it really gave me insight into talking to parents about their children when you're a school teacher parents are entrusting you with their children all day mm-hmm and it's really you know they're in your possession and that's how we feel when we send young ball which is parents are inviting us all across the country into their kitchens which is an intimate space in the home and we really cherish that invitation that they extend to us and we take it very seriously and I think when I I spend a lot of my day actually speaking with customers on the phone and through text and really you know cultivating that relationship so that they feel trust and and comfortable with us I'm learning about what the customer wants definitely we're constantly innovating on the product okay and David I mean you tube this is the first time you two had worked together yes so how did that come about I mean you know your background you worked you've had two startups before and then so what maybe you want to jump in and help you know Joanna set this up as a as a parenting team yes so my background was engineering and math and then filmmaking so nothing in my background actually prepared me for food and for a physical product but the demand that we saw from customers was just unbelievable and actually the only hesitation that I had was just working together as a married couple I thought that that was potentially risky and it worked out great worked out great and I think it's actually been really great for us but that was initially the hesitation that the business opportunity was obviously okay and so in terms of you know roles I mean your role is the business side and you're more the kind of listening to the customer and the product basically exactly I like to have my hand on anything that the customer experiences so anything from an email to the box that the meals arrived in to the actual recipes and the food okay and then and then you know in terms of like switching off when you see your kids yeah sort of you know going to the office and coming back how do you manage that so we drive in together so we have a morning meeting every minute every morning we have an evening meeting when we come back from home sometimes we have to park outside our house to finish business because when we come into the house we really want to turn off and give our kids full attention so which is really challenging but we I think I've done a pretty good job so far being really present when we are present for the kids yeah we have like our garage is quite loud and so we can never open the garage until we're like are we finished did we finished talking about that conversation because as soon as we click the garage open our our children come running into the from the playroom really excited that we're home go ahead and shift into yes so but today sort of like you also get him but you know you test out the recipes or you were testing out the recipes on your I always test the recipes on my children they're all three very different eaters definitely at one point in my life described them as picky eaters yeah realized and learned that every child probably goes through that phase and that's really what I tell my customers is it's helping children overcome like any other milestone the toilet-trained children we teach them how to sleep through the night we also need to teach them how to be healthy eaters so I've really learned so much from watching my children develop and watching them through their different stages of life and that actually was your pain point because all of you had different diets I mean your pescetarian vegetarian and then and then the kids you know like picky eaters exactly so I felt like I was making a lot of different meals at home and that that was frustrating but at the same time I really valued the idea of all of us eating together and sharing you know the same foods so we would always make sure that you know a couple times a week we all sat down together and whether David had his different entree because he's a pescetarian we would all share the same side dishes so that there was this communal family element okay so you're making it easier for parents now to kind of manage those diets but you know as a family are quite challenging yeah and really I mean what's fascinating about our customer base is it's very broad you know we have certain parents who will straight up say I just don't know how to cook or I hate to cook and don't want to do it other parents like me love to cook but they just really don't have the time and they really want their children to eat healthy wholesome meals so they're walking in the door at seven o'clock at night and it's just too late so so as time and nutrition and building you know sort of family you know community around the table and communicating with each other yeah and the other thing that's I think really kind of critical is eliminating the stress from the parents around mealtime frees up the stress in the kitchen in general and so if mom and dad are not stressed at mealtime then the kids are not stressed and if you're engaging them in conversations that are not about you know eat this or why don't you want that or you liked it yesterday and now you don't like it today everyone is much happier and you know yeah they might not eat it every single day hey children are just smaller people you know sometimes they want sometimes sometimes they want something sometimes they don't I think allowing parents to relax about that it makes it much easier no we're gonna talk a little bit about food in a minute but you know so start with you think you started this project three and a half years ago yeah we started young below 18 months ago but we were testing it for about a year and change before that okay we have a different name yes and you know how did you fund this project and get support from somebody like to know in manifesto so when we started the project we were self funding it and then when we saw the initial traction I was advising a private equity fund at the time and they asked to be the first check in and so we started testing one operational model that we thought was the right model which was to be vertically integrated which was wrong and we tested the beta and we saw that the demand was there but that that was not the right operational model and so then we raised a seed round from other friends and family and be able we were able to launch it using cone manufacturing and to be a much more capital efficient business model and then we saw the traction and a lot of venture capital funds were coming to us before we went out first there is a including a lot of food companies and then one venture fund put us in touch with Danone ventures and we just clicked there is we were completely on the same page in terms of food and health thing important our missions were very aligned in terms of the way that we were building the business they liked the brand that we were trying to create they like the they like the direction of the product they liked the team that we assembled which are very very specific and experts in direct to consumer mmm-hmm and how you know how known helped you sort of move on your business in terms of marketing for example yeah I mean every aspect of the business so Danone has helped us with suppliers to known has helped us literally introduced us to the branding agency that we did our rebrand with and helped be instrumental in those meetings to be able to guide us towards the right place nutritionally I think denoon gave us yeah they we had an intern for about six months who really kind of dug very deep into our menu made a lot of analyses and suggestions we're in the process of revamping a lot of our menu items based on her findings whoa and in general I would just say that the team at Danone has been so supportive in everything that we've done and they're just great sounding boards for David with you know big strategic decisions and they've just been we felt like it was like family right when we met them okay and tell us about a little bit about the challenges that you face as a start-up you know I mean you would take if you were telling me that you had really sort of focused in on the product and the marketing but not you know the actual logistical side you gave that to someone else yes so the the strategy that we think is the right strategy here is to leverage the expertise of other manufacturers and other companies that are experts in the operational side so that we don't have to raise a hundred million dollars to invest in a factory we can raise a lot less than be able to develop a really fantastic product and really market it very well to do that you need to find Co manufacturers that specialize in the type of food that we want to create when we started and had zero demand or very little demand we couldn't get one Co manufacturer to even say yes to us we finally got a sandwich Co manufacturer to say yes s and we grew so fast in the first three months that we just were overwhelming their facility with boxes so they gave us 90 days notice and we had 90 days to find another co manufacturer very fast and on board with them to be able to actually continue fortunately we were able to find one that was probably the biggest early challenge that we had which is just how do we keep up with the demand and be able to fulfill okay so you run as a sort of agile company that's your sort of focus yes so and and I mean how do you sort of give an example how it is a job well I mean do you get this yet but now that we were on Shark Tank we were on Shark Tank and after Shark Tank a lot of the co manufacturers that originally said no to us and a lot of the other suppliers that originally said no to us we're calling us yeah and asking to work with us and partner us and they wanted to bet on our future and so now we are working with a bunch of different specialists who are excellent at the types of food that we really need to create and get very good at and so now we're able to have the best meatball manufacturer be able to create that the best baked artisanal empanada maker to be able to create that so really focusing on the product yeah so you know yeah tell us a bit about Shark Tank which is a US version of Dragons Den which is a panelist of investors who you know choose to invest or not now what was the experience like and what was the outcome of your experience on Shark Tank I always say that going on shark tank is like a mini version of having a startup it was a rollercoaster ride very thrilling I always say that I'm very grateful that David and I did it together because after we walked out of the tank it was sort of a fog and we're like to say that did we do this did they ask us that it because you know it's really quite exhilarating and I'm we're excited that we did it the day that it aired was a really exciting day for our team being on shark tank also really brought the team together in a cohesive way and I think the I mean we were very happy with the outcome we sharks fighting over us it was they love the program so the the paint wines and the product right away yeah that was nice to have that support and then you had someone who you know he bid to support you that's me correct and she's she obviously connected because she was a mother as well yeah she's a busy mom totally you could be right when we walked out on stage she really understood exactly what it was we were offering okay and you know how'd you keep with the customer needs and you know what are the challenges so actually it's really less of a challenge and much more of an opportunity being a direct-to-consumer company we get our feedback and responses from customers instantly there's no delay in waiting for a third party to deliver any you know data to us so I actually spend a lot of my day texting with the customers I send them a personal text every time they receive their first box just to see if they have any questions if there's anything we can help them with and then it also allows me just so you know hear how their first experience was and then another form is obviously through email and phone calls um listening to our customers and constantly changing the product and the process even just the way the subscription works is all informed by our customers okay cuz initially you were doing it all yourself yes I wore every hat for a while including unpacking ice packs in a large freezer and unstacking them so they would be frozen in time to delivering to cooking and everything but now we have a really really wonderful team but having done all of those jobs actually it makes me understand all the parts of the business that I think I otherwise wouldn't necessarily so in terms of what is it that you've learned we from yeah I know what each of my employees do and I can really appreciate the work that they do every single day yeah um and I really try to you know keep my hand in everything as much as I can just to have a sense of the business but they're really empowered and how many do you have working for you know 20 20 okay so you've got a you go to New York every day and then come back home we do yeah and you know related to food what is it you know where'd you get your inspiration from you know in terms of recipes I really get my inspiration from my children watching them talking to them about food when they tell me they don't like something asking questions about why not just saying okay and you know getting rid of it for example our most popular dish is our chicken pops and I love the chicken pops because it to me it really encompasses what yumbul is it has the three pillars of what I like to call young bald DNA okay which is one is it's healthy it's made out of antibiotic free hormone free white meat chicken no preservatives it's rolled in whole wheat panko crumbs and it's baked so it's basically a chicken nugget but a very healthy wholesome version because children children love chicken little chicken I guess which brings me to the second part of young will DNA which is it has to be food that kids love we want them to be excited about it so here this one tastes like a chicken nugget and the third thing that's really important to us is that it's fun and so we take that chicken nugget and we have a lollipop stick on it and so kids can hold it they can dunk it they can kind of Clank it with their siblings and it makes meal time just more engaging and exciting for them okay so you're providing fun by making the food kind of fun exactly as well as also giving them the extras of you know educating them alongside mealtime yep and in the future you were talking about providing cards to create conversation between the parents and the children exactly the table topics that I believe I mentioned earlier right now we also send trading cards they have some of them have some jokes about vegetables and fruits others have fun facts just all different things about healthy eating and teaching children how to have you know a sort of adult like conversation exact and not you know have good table manners exactly so tell us about the most popular meals in the subscription plan how does it work and when did you realize in terms of these subscription plan that that was a good way to run the business to do subscription yeah well I mean with I mean the way that we originally thought the business should run would be the customer acquisition costs would be such we knew about what the customer acquisition costs should be so in order to really make that make business sense it would need to be a subscription so that you can retain customers and get very good at customer retention which we think is the name of the game and so a subscription was immediately okay so how does it work the subscription plan so right now it's week to week subscriptions you can get six twelve or twenty four meals per week and you get the you get the box the next week unless you skip or cancel but you can skip or cancel any time we're in the process right now of unrolling a few other types of subscriptions including you no longer subscriptions like even a semester long subscription because we see that some customers would like to be able to have like their school lunches covered which would I mean from a food subscription business that retention is astronomically higher than you know best-in-class so there's a lot of opportunity for retention for us okay I also always viewed it as a subscription model because serving your children healthy food is a constant you know problem yeah it's not like I have it this week but next week it'll all be easier you have it so long as you have young children in the home and so the subscription was just an easy way for parents check it off of their list and not worry about it week to week okay and you know how do you incorporate healthy diets into each meal I mean you know there's a lot of challenges with diets especially with you know obesity problems in the u.s. so what are the sort of diets that you have to cater for yeah so we're very conscious of sugar levels saturated fat sodium and like I mentioned we had a nutritionist you know analyzed each of our meals our main focus when constructing meals is that they're well balanced we want children to be exposed to fruits and vegetables and whole grains and healthy proteins yeah so we really make sure that each of the meals is well balanced okay so in terms of you know like the most common diets I mean yeah so the three most common diets that we cater to are gluten free dairy free and vegetarian okay no notes we don't have any nuts because we want it to be school safe so that children can bring them for lunches or to daycares okay so you provide these meals for sort of daytime they can take them to school and have them at home correct we have two lines of food one is called ready-to-eat which means they're like pinwheel sandwich type of meals and others are ready to heat and those are you know um packaged nicely packaged nicely it has nice belly bands that get the kids kind of excited some of them have activities on them has all the nutritional information on them okay so then in terms of the delivery service you know you've got somebody working every week sort of you know with the delivery I mean how does that sort of work how many customers do you have a week thousands of customers and we have a distribution center that's refrigerated it's it's done very similarly to the other meal kits we have FedEx and UPS and other logistics companies and when did the customer base grow was this after the shot tank did that have a big impact yeah we've been growing fairly steadily because we've been getting good at direct to consumer acquisition through Facebook and Google and through other channels originally through word-of-mouth is really the propeller that that organically organically and then when shark tank hit it definitely made acquisition a lot easier and a lot more efficient and so it was a good thing great and in terms of you know how do you feel that you are impacting kids and parents in a positive way positive parenting is Jessica cool too yeah that's actually the most rewarding part of my my job is when I hear from a parent that we've changed their lives their children never used to eat healthfully and now they do or it used to be so stressful for them and now they walk in the door and instead of arguing or you know frantically cooking something they have a healthy meal that they feel really good about so it's it's really exciting to see the impact that we're having on customers we actually had an event last week where we invited some customers and they would come over to me and like with tears in their eyes they were saying how thankful they were it's really what keeps us going you very much enjoyed the journey together as it started oh yes and learn by doing yeah every day every day where do you get your inspiration from the most in terms of coming up with new ideas my children your children yeah okay great and you know in terms of you know what you've got you're in sort of how many states in the US now just over 30 just at the Fed and where do you want to be what so what are your future plans we're working very hard right now to get national so at the end of the summer we're gonna be all over the US amazing David so David are you setting these milestones yes and then I get to work so you'll that sort of the business and you're the the sort of like the doer well you have a really strong team back in New York who are working really really hard to make these very difficult milestones happen and so far okay fantastic job great well I mean I wish you all the best I just want to ask if there's any questions from the audience REE if there's anybody that has a question that can't wait otherwise I'm sure Jonah and David will be happy to answer okay in a while thank you yeah I get my answer them later but thank you both [Applause]

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