GenoPalate to add new product line

Subscription service would offer personalized snacks

Sherry Zhang presents at the Open Deal Screening.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Brookfield-based startup GenoPalate Inc. plans to add a monthly personalized snack subscription service to its offerings in 2018.

Sherry Zhang presents to potential investors during Milwaukee Startup Week.

GenoPalate offers personalized nutrition recommendations to individuals via genomic sequencing. Founder Yi “Sherry” Zhang has a doctorate in molecular biology and is an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Customers can buy the GenoPalate testing kit for $299 online, and the company ships the materials to provide a saliva sample and demographic and lifestyle survey. GenoPalate’s four employees, who are bioinformatic scientists, dieticians and analysts, then analyze the genetic profile of the individual and profile 38 biomarkers to provide actionable data, such as lactose intolerance.

The new food subscription service, at $50 per month, would bring in recurring revenue, which investors like, Zhang said.

GenoPalate’s snacks would be manufactured by St. Francis-based Buddy Squirrel LLC, which is known for its chocolates and nut mixes. The companies have been working together to formulate snack mixes and smoothie drinks. There would be a number of different recipes for each, and they would be distributed according to a person’s DNA profile, said Scott Repinski, chief operating officer of Buddy Squirrel.

“We can match people’s nutritional genotype, finding their best options by collaborating with food vendors,” Zhang said.

GenoPalate will review the scientific data from its genomic testing to help Buddy Squirrel develop the snack recipes, which would be targeted to include things like vitamin E, calcium, reduced sodium or folic acid, Repinski said.

“Maybe you don’t digest certain proteins correctly so that’s why we’ll make sure to include plant-based proteins,” he said. “If you’ve taken the GenoPalate test, it will tell you where you’re weak, so if you’re eating these snacks every day, it will fortify a certain area. We can go out and get almost everything on this planet Earth in powder, whether it be kale or carrot or sweet potato.”

Zhang is also in discussions with Pewaukee natural food store Good Harvest Market to potentially sell the snacks in grocery stores, she said.

About half of Buddy Squirrel’s business is private label products, Repinski said. It would distribute the subscription boxes for GenoPalate.

GenoPalate is currently participating in the gener8tor startup accelerator program in Milwaukee, which ends with a capstone event tonight, and is seeking $400,000 in funding. It has raised about $118,000 so far.

The hope is to launch the new snack subscription service in the second quarter of 2018, once Zhang completes the funding round, Repinski said.

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