Q&A with Rachel Sanders on how Small Businesses Can Utilize Blockchain Tech
At the NFT BZL conference in Miami on Tuesday, deBanked bumped into Rootine, a vitamin company that is looking to expand into the crypto space. Rootine is a small business that exists fully in the tangible world and sells a tangible product. They offer a completely customized vitamin concoction to their customers via questionnaires that identify biomarkers on their online platform.
This all begs the question, how do small businesses like Rootine leverage crypto? Rachel Sanders, CEO and co-founder of Rootine, shared her thoughts.
Q (Adam Zaki)- Your product is obviously inspired by tech and customer experience. Why are these fundamentals of Rootine?
A (Rachel Sanders)- We are in the middle of a health data revolution. More consumers than ever before have access to critical data about their health and this access will only grow. People should be able to leverage their data to optimize their health with precision health products and actionable insights tailored to their unique data and goals. Technology is the key to make this possible.
At Rootine, our mission is to empower members to leverage their data to achieve optimal health and fuel their potential. Rootine analyzes your body to deliver a precision daily multivitamin engineered to optimize your health, and then fine-tunes your formula over time to continuously provide optimal support for your body. Our team has worked hard to build with a human-first mentality, creating a brand that both delights our members and makes a real, and positive impact on their health. We are proud to empower thousands of members to improve their health and are excited to make an even bigger impact in 2022!”
Q-What was Rootine doing at an NFT conference?
A- As the world of web3 and NFTs ballooned in the second half of 2021, we saw a community emerging celebrating vices and fueled by alcohol. There was also this odd dichotomy occurring where health influencers were changing their profile pictures to NFTs depicting un-healthy vices. We believed that heath should be a central part of the conversation in web3, so we dove in.
Rather than build a branded NFT project, we spearheaded a collaborative effort to launch Apex Optimizers, the first NFT project exclusively focused on health and human performance optimization. Community members represent brands like Eight Sleep, Rootine, Hydrant, Span Health, Bioloop, Aloha, Gwella, OneSkin, and Bristle. Early team members from Levels and founders at Bristle, health experts like Louisa Nicole and Dr. Sohaib Imitaz, professional athletes like Justin Gatlin, as well as a number of high performers and crypto and NFT heavy hitters like Steve Aoki.
It has been difficult working in unchartered territory (as a project like this has never been done before), but we were driven by a mission to build an inclusive community highlighting the importance of data-driven health and to deliver tangible real life utility to holders. We have been fortunate to collaborate with some of the top health experts, brands, athletes, and founders in human performance while building a community that is already inspiring its members to improve in areas like sleep, stress, nutrition, fitness, mental health and more.
Q-How will NFTs enhance your product? Why do you think your customers would be more willing to buy products that have some type of blockchain component?
A– As we think about the future of the metaverse, consumer products and brands will play a large role. Exactly what that role looks like is yet to be determined. What we do know is that health will continue to matter and that consumer health brands will need to have a strategy around how they will tie their physical products and experiences into the digital world. As for Rootine, creating a trusted brand and impactful community is always top of mind. To do that, we want to be where our members are and offer unique opportunities that members will not find elsewhere.
One example of that is helping to launch Apex Optimizers. Apex Optimizers is just one of the offerings of the Precision Health Club and it is first and foremost an awesome community of like-minded data-driven health enthusiasts looking to improve how they look, feel, and perform everyday. Gaining access to that community is something Rootine can offer that others cannot, and that is valuable. Through Apex Optimizers we are also able to offer loyal Rootine members access to exclusive perks like 1:1 lessons with pro-athletes, multi-brand discounts and product drops, and real-life wellness experiences.
Q-What are you thoughts on access to capital for small businesses? Has Rootine ever found it difficult to get a loan? Do you think crypto could help the imbalance of access to funds for small businesses?
A- Access to VC capital is a challenge for many. In the VC world, only 2.2% of funding goes to female founded companies, and other minorities and underrepresented founders have similar difficulty. For others, the capital markets have been very founder-friendly recently, with companies raising VC funding at unprecedented valuations.
In the non-VC world, there are a number of new options coming to market that make it easier to get non-dilutive funding. Pipe and Clearco are two great examples. However, to get access to that funding, you have to meet specific size and business model criteria.
Crypto certainly has the ability to put more fundraising power into the hands of creators and builders. There will be more companies using crypto as a way to raise seed capital, and we are already seeing this trend. One thing to note here, is that as the barrier to enter web3 drops, there is going to be more competition for dollars, which will raise the bar on the projects and teams that will succeed in getting funding this way.
Q-Is crypto a topic of conversation in the office? I’m trying to gauge whether your staff has an interest in crypto or if this is just a pure marketing strategy.
A- We have a combination of people very into crypto (e.g. our lead product designer who was an early advocate and continues to be a key thought leader on the team) as well as crypto novices.
It has been exciting to see how the conversations on slack have created an environment of learning and support, helping more people get into the space in a way they are comfortable with. Apex Optimizers’ mission is to make an impact at scale through community, democratizing access to innovation, and by elevating the message around the importance of data-driven health.
For the brands involved, there is of course a marketing component, but at the core, we all came together to help more people live healthier lives because all brands involved support better health.
Q- The crypto space wants to move into the Metaverse. How will Rootine, a company that sells a physical product- vitamins nonetheless- pivot if the crypto community lives in a world where a desire to be healthy may decrease? (If I live in the digital world, with digital art, digital money, digital games, a remote job, and digital friends, why would I want to buy vitamins?)
A- Even if the majority of your life is spent in the digital world, you will still want to feel and perform your best on a daily basis. If people start to neglect health, their productivity decreases, their ability to be their best self at-home with their families and partners decreases, and their stress levels, fatigue and risk for chronic conditions increases. Rootine offers a convenient, at-home way to test your body and get precision multivitamins that can support better overall health, stress levels, energy, focus and more, fueling your potential.
Another interesting thing to note, is if you look at the people building the meta world, a vast majority are the same people who love to compete in athletic feats, biohack their bodies to optimize their productivity, or focus on specific diets. Because of this, health will always be a part of digital communities.
Q- What is the strategy here? Why mint an NFT? Is it to expose the brand? Attract investors? Corner a niche market? Who thought of this, and what’s the end goal?
A-Apex Optimizers’ mission is to make an impact at scale through community, democratizing access to innovation, and by elevating the message around the importance of data-driven health. IJ on the Rootine team originally came up with an idea to explore NFTs and the project has been a collaboration ever since. All people involved have helped shape the design, launch, community and the 30+ perks (and growing) that holders will gain access too.
Q- What is the best way for a small business, regardless of industry, to educate themselves and leverage the crypto market?
A- Get started. If you don’t own an NFT, buy one. Follow web3 twitter and join some discord servers. Research what other brands in your space or adjacent spaces are doing. If specifically looking at NFTs, find whitespace where you can build a unique project that is both collaborative and on-brandLast modified: December 3, 2021
Adam Zaki is a Reporter at deBanked. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.