Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Steven Kuyan, Co-Founder of Culina Health, located in Hoboken, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Culina Health is a personalized nutrition platform powered by registered dietitians to help patients prioritize the way they want to live. We make insurance-covered nutrition care accessible to everyone and easier to understand so that our patients can achieve a satisfying and well-balanced life.
For decades weight loss companies and subsequently tech-based nutrition companies have taken a board-based approach that lacked personalized and focused on fads and/or "one-size-fits-all" solutions. What have we gotten out of that? The obesity rate has increased 30% in the last 30 years. Culina Health is finally changing that. We are rooted in science and translate cutting-edge research into care delivery protocols. We work closely with the practitioners and the healthcare ecosystem to integrate clinical nutrition into patients' current care delivery, and we are more accessible and culturally competent than any other nutrition practice.
Tell us about yourself
For the last 12 years, I have been lucky enough to have worked with hundreds of founders at the NYU Tandon Future Labs. For years they allowed me and the Future Labs team to be a part of their journey, and it's impossible not to get excited and inspired to find something I was passionate about myself.
Nutrition was always an important part of my life. I lived through weight fluctuations because I lacked a nutrition education. As an immigrant, I wasn't familiar with the latitude that food companies had with marketing and had to self-diagnose my way out of a 500mg/dL triglyceride level. I was one of the 88% of the US population that needed a metabolic intervention, but I lacked access, and my physician, like almost every other GP, was not trained in nutrition. At the time, I did not even know nutrition was its own discipline. Understanding why this was a problem in our healthcare system became a multi-year journey that led me to find my co-founder Vanessa Rissetto and our joint vision to build a tech-enabled registered dietitian practice that can provide personalized, science-based care to the majority of the population that has been ignored by current nutrition companies and solutions.
Today only .02% of people in the US have seen a nutrition expert. What motivates me to get to work every day is the 87.98% of the people that are out there that need our platform's help to treat, reverse, and prevent a chronic condition through clinical nutrition.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having the opportunity to work with an incredible team that all helped shape a vision and mission for Culina Health. Co-founders start companies, but they are built and grown by teams of people who all take on the risk and opportunity cost when they join.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There isn't any part of the process of being a founder that is easy. The hardest part is overcoming the fear that you may not be ready for it yet. In reality, no one is ever really ready when the timing is right.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build a broad network and always invest in supporting people with no expectation of anything in return. At some point, you will need to call them to help you build your business.
- Be a relentless learner. Everyone has to learn through research, reading, and experience to get to where they are.
- Patience and persistence will eventually turn into progress.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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