Silicon Prairie News

BettrLife unveils food-focused app designed to promote wellness

Des Moines March 20, 2012 by Michael Stacy Only 20 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

BettrLife helps users formulate grocery shopping lists (left) and outline plans for upcoming meals.

BettrLife on Monday officially introduced its new health and wellness application to the world.

The app, produced by a team based in Clive, Iowa, promotes wellness by focusing on what people put into their body. It aims to help users with tasks like grocery shopping, meal planning, meal logging and fitness, and its public beta is now available for free download in the App Store and the Android Market.

BettrLife offers tools to help users with:

  • Shopping lists: The app allows users to scan products into lists using their smartphone's barcode-recognition capabilities. The app allows for interactive sharing of lists amongst family members and aims to minimize data entry by tracking users' purchasing habits and automatically suggesting items they may need. BettrLife also learns shopping patterns on a per-store basis and streamlines users' shopping by reorganizing their lists when they check into a store.
  • Meal planning: BettrLife offers access to hundreds of thousands of recipes from the internet while also enabling users to add their own recipes. From that master list of recipes, users can add meals to their weekly meal planner. From there, ingredients can be added to their shopping lists with the touch of a button.
  • Food inventory: As users check out at any store, the items they mark as purchased are moved to their pantry. BettrLife keeps track of when users buy certain products and how often they replenish those items. Over time, BettrLife automates the process of putting items that may need replenishing on the shopping list.

BettrLife is customizable, allowing users to create profiles specifying allergies, food preferences and ingredients they want to avoid and giving users access to detailed information to enable better-informed dietary decisions. 

In addition to the consumer-centric interface, BettrLife offers an advisor portal designed to make the application useful for companies in the health care industry.

Formation and change of direction

BettrLife was established under the name BuyerCompass in 2010 by Don Schoen (far left) and Davin Hills (near left), the company's current CEO and CTO, respectively. Before that, Schoen served for more than a decade as the CEO of MediNotes, an electronic medical records company that was acquired in 2009. Schoen's experiences in that field helped plant the seed for what would become BettrLife.

"I wanted to provide a proactive avenue for those with foreseeable medical needs or even those in perfect health, simply looking to sustain it," Schoen said in a release. "You can't trade in your body for a new one, so taking care of its current state should be top priority."

BuyerCompass began an electronic grocery coupon app, but the company soon went in a different direction based on feedback from some of Schoen's contacts in the health care world.

"Health care providers were like, 'If we had a way to … promote healthy living and then have a way for us to monitor how our patients or users are actually using the system and be able to communicate with them on ways of improving their health, this would be a fantastic tool for us,' " said John Jackovin, BettrLife's director or marketing and operations.

So BettrLife has worked to provide such a tool.

"We started to really pivot and say, 'OK, instead of just a grocery app, we're going to focus on health and wellness,' which is where the change to the name BettrLife came about, as well as incorporating much more than just grocery shopping into the application itself."

That array of capabilities is how BettrLife intends to distinguish itself from the competition, Jackovin said. BettrLife currently has a team of eight people — six full-time and two part-time — working toward that goal. As of a Feb. 17 SEC Filing, the startup had raised $200,000 in outside funds.

Jackovin acknowledges BettrLife faces competition from the likes of Lose It! (weight-loss), MyFitnessPal (fitness), Grocery iQ (grocery shopping) and Fooducate (nutrition), but he emphasizes the importance of the all-encompassing approach BettrLife takes.

"They're very niche," Jackovin said of other health and wellness apps. "They all cover kind of one, maybe two areas. What we've done is we’ve developed something that really focuses on a more holistic approach, which is, 'Hey, let's take a look at your exercise, let's take a look at the meals that you plan, let's take a look at the products you buy really as a component of overall health."

For more on BettrLife, see the introductory video below.

 

Credits: Screenshots from BettrLife in App Store. Photos of Schoen and Hills from linkedin.com. Video from WithAnF on YouTube.

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