LA's Ready, Set, Food! Gets a Boost with a $3 Million Raise
Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.
The makers of baby food intended to prevent food allergies got a boost this week with a $3 million raise led by Danone Manifesto Ventures.
The Los Angeles-based Ready, Set, Food has raised $5.75 million in total and is also backed by high-profile Shark Tank star Mark Cuban and AF Ventures.
The idea of a formula designed to prevent food allergies first came to CEO and co-founder Daniel Zakowski and his brother-in-law three years ago when his nephew suffered an allergic reaction to peanut butter.
Ready, Set, Food!'s co-founder and CEO Daniel Zakowski
"My brother-in-law's a doctor, and was doing a lot of research on what he needed to know about his food allergies and it seemed like recently there have been a number of clinical trials released that show you could prevent up to 80% of food allergies before they start," said Zakowski.
His prevention efforts included giving young children small amounts of peanuts, eggs or milk. Most children don't begin eating those foods until they grow older. The formula is intended to introduce babies as young as four months old to these foods, and prevent them from developing food allergies.
"The opportunity is to prevent 200,000 babies every year from getting severe food allergies, but also it's quite hard for parents to do this from home," said Zakowski.
If a baby begins taking the formula at fourth months, two to three times a week for three to six months, it can significantly help food allergies from developing, he said.
Ready, Set, Food!'s formula costs $29 per month when committing to a 6 month plan. You can also buy a one-month supply of formula for $60 on Amazon.
Zakowski said Cuban's investment helps bring visibility to the issue of food allergies. Cuban says he constantly worries for his daughter who has to always carry an EpiPen because she suffers reactions to severe food allergies.
"Food allergies are a growing problem across the world. I'm excited to partner with Ready, Set, Food! to start to reverse this growing epidemic and make families' lives better," said Cuban in a press release.
Although most of the research used to create the formula won't do much to help adults with their allergies, Ready, Set, Food! But the company says it hopes to continue developing products to help prevent all types of food allergies.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the amount raised and referred to an earlier round.
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Hottest<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk5MzIyNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTQ3MjQ2OH0.JYCNMjYvosYa5SI7701CH_jMFbeFdMcRCChXt442cq0/img.png?width=980" id="4a086" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f2f18f0bc4400a388e43736c560ff87f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="PopShop Live logo" data-width="686" data-height="128" />
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Andrew Peterson<p>Andrew Peterson is the co-founder and former chief executive of Signal Sciences, a web application security platform that he founded in 2014 and <a href="https://dot.la/signal-science-snapped-up-for-775m-in-big-l-a-saas-exit-2647256430.html" target="_self">was acquired in 2020 by Fastly in a $775 million deal</a>. Signal Sciences protects web applications from attacks and data breaches for clients like Duo Security, Under Armor and DoorDash.</p><p>Prior to starting Signal Sciences, Peterson worked at Etsy, helping the online marketplace with international growth as a group project manager. Etsy <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/3056900/how-three-ex-etsy-employees-turned-their-old-employer-into-a-consumer" target="_blank">reportedly became </a>one of Signal Sciences's first customers. Peterson has also served stints as health information management officer at the Clinton Foundation and as a senior product specialist at Google.</p>
Ara Mahdessian<p>Ara Mahdessian is the co-founder of ServiceTitan, a SaaS product for managing a home services business.</p><p>The inspiration for ServiceTitan, Mahdessian's first company, came from watching his parents start their own businesses in building and plumbing, only to struggle with the logistics behind keeping them running, he <a href="https://www.inc.com/magazine/201906/emily-canal/servicetitan-immigrant-inclusion-diversity-best-workplaces-2019.html" target="_blank">told Inc in 2019</a>. Mahdessian and his co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan met while in college, and worked on several consulting projects before starting ServiceTitan, in hopes of aiding small business owners like their parents.</p>
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