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On the Journey: Ending Up in Hong Kong

There is no shortage of problems in the world these days, but one that’s consistently on our minds is the close to $3 Trillion is spent on packaged foods every year that are associated with a rise in chronic disease globally. 

Organic, healthy or sustainable snacks are rarely affordable. This is partially because creating nutritious, high-quality packaged foods is tough. With most food companies having outdated interfaces and low insights, gaps are consistently surfacing. While teams are trying to achieve stronger product management and commercialization there’s an increased need to focus on consumer desires; better nutrition, affordability, and accessibility.

Before Journey Foods was founded in 2015, we thought about how we could solve these issues and bring people food that is not just different, but better for them. We knew that we could create quality plant-based products that taste good and help you feel good, but that wasn’t enough for us. We want everyone to have access to nutrient-dense and biodiverse food because we think it’s vital for wellness and happiness, something everyone deserves. 

In order to fulfill our mission of changing the food landscape for the greater, plant-based good, we created Journey Foods IO. Journey Foods IO is an AI-powered platform that supports product management and nutrition services for food companies, accelerators, universities, venture firms, and more. Through this software, we are creating the future of food science nutrient consumption by streamlining the product development process, allowing teams to create products with more insights and efficiency. 

Completing that mission took us far from our home in Chicago and led us to Hong Kong, where we lived and worked as part of the Brinc Accelerator for the entire month of May. 

Hard At Work

Three team members, CEO and Founder Riana Lynn, CMO Glenn Zemel, and Director of Engineering Carol Schmitz, spent most of their days working hard to advance our industry leading platform. 

While reflecting on their experience with the accelerator, Riana Lynn stated “I am very grateful for our experience in Hong Kong and Asia. The support of Brinc and Artesian Ventures will help drive our fundraising and client growth”. She added, “we learned a lot about ourselves as a team, our company mission, and the gaps of data within the industry”.

As a reminder that mission is to change the face of nutrition and the future of food as we know it using AI. JourneyIO has allowed us to develop our inaugural data-driven product line, Journey Bites, with more than 1 million cubes manufactured, which supports our machine learning-based algorithms. Thanks to Brinc and our hardworking team members, we plan to expand access to our AI-powered platform that supports product management and data services to help thousands of food businesses save money and create better products efficiently. 

That means better snacks, better nutrition, and better health for everyone.

The Hong Kong Experience

The trip brought new memories, challenges, and experiences. Hong Kong, as can be expected, is very different from our offices in Chicago and LA. In recounting some of the day to day life experiences, Glenn Zemel couldn’t help but notice the architectural and structural differences between the cities. 

Everything in Hong Kong is up. The buildings, the landscape, and especially the attitude of the people we met there. Everyone was forward thinking and optimistic about the future”. However, he offers some advice for newcomers to the city.

“Lesson learned, always ask about the cost of a men’s haircut in the SoHo neighborhood of Hong Kong before you get it done” Glenn laughed.

Besides the ability to grow alongside other startups and experiencing a new city, the trip helped solidify the strong connections that help us thrive and work our best each day.

"One of my favorite moments from the trip was at a small beach town on the East side of Hong Kong Island. We ordered squid skewers from the street vendor with the longest line (that also happened to be playing the best music). I always appreciate the opportunity to taste a new food, and sharing the experience with my team in a scenic location, after a long week of hard work, was such a treat”, Carol Schmitz mentioned. 

While everyone on the Journey Foods team is now back in the states, the experiences they had at the Brinc Accelerator in Hong Kong will continue to propel us forward on our journey. Who knows where we’ll end up next.

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