Featured Startup Pitch: Rooted wants to make you healthier through a series of curated 30-day challenges

By Editor October 18, 2013
Casey Weaver, Rooted

Casey Weaver, RootedBy Casey Weaver, Rooted founder

Elevator pitch: Rooted is a lifestyle app that takes a big picture approach to making healthier choices. Rooted is anchored by 30-day challenges and aims to actually bring people together in the real world over farm to table dinners.

Product/Service Description

Rooted is a lifestyle app that allows users to keep track of their healthy food choices and physical activity while being part of a community of other healthy, inspiring people. The thought is that if people simply keep track of the healthy food and exercise choices they make, and also see the positive choices others in the community are making, that person will make better overall lifestyle choices. By logging food and activity a user generates a ‘Rooted score,’ essentially quantifying their healthy lifestyle.

But the backbone of Rooted is really 30-day lifestyle challenges with pop-up dinners at the end. There are so many distractions in our digital lives now that in order to help people get the most out of Rooted, I want to make sure they commit to something and have some skin in the game, so to speak. The challenges are 30-days, and are focused. They have a beginning and an end, so there is something to work towards. At the end of 30 days, a pre-determined number of participants (based on total people in the challenge) with the highest scores will win a seat at a local farm-to-table wine pairing pop-up dinner.

Founder’s Story

Rooted was founded in 2012, but the foundation for it was laid much earlier. After my first year at UCLA in 2004, my father, who was once an elite athlete, passed away as a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits. This event made me immediately more conscious of the choices I was making—and ultimately led to the creation of the Rooted concept to inspire others to live better.

Prior to officially starting Rooted, a friend and I started a sports drink company called Prolong Energy. This venture was acquired in 2010 and was my first successful entrepreneurial effort.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Right now I am taking a pretty organic approach based on my knowledge of and integration with the healthy lifestyle space in Southern California. Rooted also has a direct connection with my family’s winery, 7 Angels Cellars, who will be providing the wine for the challenge dinners. We are doing some cross promotion and working to build our communities simultaneously around our balanced, healthy lifestyle values.

Market Opportunity

The amount of people looking to make healthier lifestyle choices is a fairly large number.

There are a handful of apps out there that are in the ‘quantified-self’ space. Effectively bringing healthy lifestyle to the mobile space is a bit of a tough nut to crack, so people are trying many different approaches.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

There are a few things that differentiate Rooted from other ‘healthy lifestyle apps.’ The primary thing is that Rooted takes a ‘big picture’ approach to being healthy. The goal is to get people to make healthier food choices and exercise more, not to have them counting calories, because changing their behavior to make sustainable, healthy choices is what will help them be healthier humans. I believe that if Rooted can get users to generally choose foods that have simple characteristics—like being local, organic, seasonal, or sustainable (these are the things that add to a user’s Rooted score when they enter a food), these foods will be better than alternatives that don’t have these characteristics, and the user will be healthier for it. If you think about it, if you are eating a bunch of processed, packaged, and mass-produced foods, they probably don’t have these characteristics and they probably aren’t that healthy for you. So, if each time a user chooses a food, if I can get them to simply think about where the food is coming from, hopefully they will eventually start to make the healthier choice.

The second thing is that Rooted is an app, but aims to actually bring people together in the real world. People are social and like connecting, and most mobile apps only address this superficially. At the end of each 30-day Rooted challenge, the winners are actually brought together for a real-world food and wine pairing dinner, as I mentioned before. This is an elemental part of Rooted.

Business Model

The app itself is free to use on a day to day basis, but the challenges will cost a small amount of money to sign up for. The challenges offer additional ‘value’ to the users, as there is always going to be some reward for doing well, making it worth their while. Also, I like to compare signing up for a challenge to something like a gym membership. People are willing to pay all sorts of money to join a gym, but often do very little to take advantage of what they are paying for and maybe even more often don’t even know where to start. If you join a Rooted Challenge for one month, and actually participate, due to the social aspect of the challenge there is a very good chance that at the end of the challenge you will have made some changes that will really affect your lifestyle habits. I think that’s worth the $9.

Current Needs

At this stage, our current needs are exposure and users. Our main focus is to build a core community of solid users who are dedicated to making healthier lifestyle choices.

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Rooted logoWebsite: www.liverooted.me

App: Rooted App

Founder: Casey Weaver

Headquarters: Santa Monica, California

Year Founded: 2012

Investors: Bootstrapped

Twitter: @LiveRooted

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Rooted/354886197861249

AngelList: angel.co/rooted-1

flickr: flickr.com/photos/liverooted/

Vimeo: vimeo.com/user9516640