Upstate NY Helps SmartyPans Get Cookin'

@KathrynCartini #SharingStories for Upstate Venture Connect

SmartyPans Selected Into Tech.co “Startup of the Year Competition.” Vote for them here!

SmartyPans CoFounder and CEO, Prachi Baxi, found her way from Melbourne Australia to the StartFast Accelerator in Syracuse, NY, where the Upstate startup community helped propel the success of her company. 

With two master’s degrees and a stellar career in nutrition and personal training, Prachi set out to solve a problem – provide her clients with an easy way to log their meals and ensure accurate calorie counts. With many people already using fitness and wearable technology to track their exercise activity, Prachi partnered with her brother Rahul, a software engineering graduate from Carnegie Mellon, to create a modern day cooking system.  

SmartyPans Smart Cooking PanSmartyPans is a smart cooking pan that syncs with recipe apps and provides step-by-step cooking instructions. Using built-in sensors to track the weight and temperature of your ingredients, SmartyPans captures information from what’s cooking in the pan. These details are then transmitted to the cook’s mobile phone via bluetooth, and an app displays the caloric details in real time. A GPS for cooking, this data can be logged into any fitness app, such as MyFitnessPal and FitBit, to track your calorie and nutrient intake easily.

“You bite it, you gotta write it,” Prachi said. “Tracking your caloric intake is not easy, and almost impossible to calculate. Cooking at home with SmartyPans not only makes you a more conscious eater, but it automatically calculates the calories in each dish for you. Now you can cook what you want, and track what you eat.”

StartFast Demo Day August 15SmartyPans was one of the companies that participated in the StartFast Venture Accelerator held at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College. StartFast prepares startups for commercialization by surrounding founders with mentors and business development coaches. Backed by private investors, participants receive up to $25,000 in seed funding.

Among the list of SmartyPans mentors and investors is Marc Viggiano (Saab-Sensis, Seed Capital Fund of CNY). His guidance prompted the brother-sister duo to rethink the design of the pan, which is now 100% dishwasher safe. Jochen Becker, VP of Marquardt USA also played a critical role in refining the SmartyPans prototype. Located in Cazenovia, NY, Marquardt is a leading manufacturer in the field of electro-mechanical and electronic switches and switch systems. Both Viggiano and Becker helped the team understand the market for culinary goods and get the product ready for manufacturing, which will likely also happen in Upstate NY.

While in Syracuse, Prachi and Rahul also connected with FitBit distributor, WYNIT Distribution, the leading North American wholesale distributor of emerging technology. SmartyPans’ Board Member and Dean of the Madden School of Business James Joseph joined this collaboration by assisting in putting the pricing model together.

SmartyPans is now scheduled to launch on January 18, 2016. The cost of their signature smart cooking pan is $169.

Tech.Co Startup Night 2016Since graduating from StartFast, SmartyPans has attracted a lot of global attention. Most recently Prachi and Rahul have been asked to demo at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. This is a free event presented in partnership with Tech Cocktail (Tech.Co). In conjunction with the event, online supporters can help find the world’s most innovative early stage companies. The winner from the competition will be named Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year. The deadline to vote is January 5th.

“After joining CTA (Consumer Technology Association) we started receiving emails about CES 2016. We decided to give it a shot, and within days we were accepted to participate,” said Prachi. “None of this would have been possible without the outstanding support of the Upstate startup community.”

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Topics: Technology, Entrepreneurs, Startups, Upstate Venture Connect, Upstate New York