The makings of the modern-day multivitamin stretch back over a century, but Baze has managed to reinvent the traditional model of nutritional supplementation in just five years. Here’s how we did it…
When you walk into the Baze office in Berlin, the first thing you see is a giant Venn diagram. One circle simply says science, the other, action. And in the overlap between them, two words sum up Baze’s reason for being:
It’s a simple visual representation of the company’s core strategic goals – to combine the results of scientific evidence with a focussed action, taking personalized supplements, in order to achieve a real and measurable impact on health.
But what that bright, eye-catching poster doesn’t show is the five-year backstory that came before it. For that, we need to rewind the clock back four years, to a dark, bass-filled nightclub in Berlin.
Vitamin supplementation: rethinking the traditional approach
It’s 2014, and Philipp Schulte is at the bar, surveying the crowd. With a decade’s experience in life sciences and a role at the largest global supplement marketer at the time, he’d come to recognize an underlying problem with the way the industry approached supplementation and spent the last 12 months working on a new idea.
Put simply, the old approach wasn’t working. Studies showed people were still nutrient deficient despite taking regular vitamins. The richest country in the world still had a huge malnutrition problem. Finding the reason behind it meant unpicking the traditional model of supplementation, which up to this point had taken a one-size-fits-all approach.
‘The supplementation industry at the time was so focussed on marketing the product that no time was being spent on addressing the process of how that product was being used,’ Philipp explains.
‘The problem was never the product itself. But even with the best product in the world, if it’s not the right one for you, or you’re not taking it correctly, you’re just not going to see any benefit.’
Designing a simple solution to combat nutritional deficiency
Philipp had hit on an idea to transform the supplementation process, by using blood analysis to create personalized nutritional recommendations. And it’s this idea that led him to seek out Dr. Isam Haddad – himself a pioneer in the field of blood analysis – at the nightclub in Berlin.
‘I was in town when Isam happened to be launching his own metabolomics product for consumers, which I guess you could call a rival product,’ says Philipp. ‘I approached him and explained that I was essentially a competitor, so he could ask me to leave if he wished!’
Fortunately, he didn’t, and the pair got talking about how they could combine their knowledge to deliver a product with twice the impact. The upshot? Isam joined the Baze team as co-founder and CTO. With him, he brought years of experience and a depth of expertise including a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and a comprehensive knowledge of building data science platforms.
Beyond recommendations: providing an all-round solution
By 2015, the pair hit another turning point in the Baze journey. ‘We realized that a report showing users what they’re deficient in is useful, but it’s not as useful as providing a solution to those deficiencies,’ says Philipp. ‘That’s when we began to move into the area of providing the supplements as well, to make it easy for people to take action. In the process, we created a feedback loop.’
Creating an all-around solution opened up a new dimension entirely, specifically relating to the action part of the process. As Philipp explains, ‘When it comes to supplementation – and healthcare in general – there is a huge issue of compliance. You can have the best diagnostics and a great treatment plan, but if people don’t follow it, none of that matters. We had to find a way to change our customers’ behavior by offering a process that slipped into their daily routines.’
At-home blood testing for true convenience
Blood analysis had always formed the basis of Baze, but the team spent a long time looking for a blood work solution that would tick the box for true convenience. That meant cutting out multiple visits to individual doctors, nutritionists, phlebotomists and biomedics, and creating a streamlined solution to use at home. After much research, the answer came in 2017.
‘Both Isam and I had already come to the conclusion that the finger-prick test was not a viable option for Baze – it’s not convenient, and it’s not pleasant,’ Philipp says.
‘The tap device we sourced in 2017 is MIT-tested, totally painless and means blood can be taken at home with no doctor or nurse necessary. It’s a proven, cutting-edge piece of technology that we’ve built into the Baze product in the same way we’ve sourced the highest-quality supplements on the market. Baze has always been about fixing the supplementation process using the best products available.’
Launching Baze in the US and beyond
The blood sampling device that now comes with every Baze starter kit means no more long needles, and no more doctors’ queues. It was the last piece of the Baze jigsaw and, having gathered significant investment and winning the Best Health Start-Up of the Year award at the 2017 Pioneer Health Conference, Baze launched in the US in early 2018.
Today, the Baze team has grown to include thought-leaders in the fields of science, wellness, nutrition and medicine. And, as Philipp explains, there’s lots more to come.
‘In the future, we’ll look to assess other lifestyle factors like sleep and exercise, expand the list of nutrients we analyze and supplement, and give personalized recommendations on diet – perhaps even linking to food providers.
‘Every single point on our roadmap is there to make the process of supplementation easier for our customers, so it becomes something they really want to do. Taking supplements should be something to enjoy – not something to endure. And we’re going to make that a reality’.
Baze is a next-generation personalized nutrition service that offers you the real science behind supplementation and results that you can feel. Learn more about our team here.