He's trying to make healthy eating easier

Posted: September 05, 2013

A NTHONY ORTIZ, 36, of Atlantic City, is founder and CEO of Fitly. The company, on 8th Street above Callowhill in North Philadelphia, helps tackle childhood obesity by bringing healthy ingredients for meals to low- and middle-income families. It was one of 10 firms selected to participate in a recent "boot camp" to speed development of health-care startups.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Fitly?

A: I sold a transportation-and-logistics company, and health and fitness was [an area in which] I wanted to make an impact.

Q: You sold the business to generate the startup funds for Fitly?

A: I had about $30,000 from the prior business, which I was willing to spend to test a prototype. We got our first customer in July.

Q: What does Fitly do?

A: We provide families with a delivery service of healthy ingredients, simple prepping instructions and affordable meals. You order from a smartphone app or laptop, prepay with a credit card or a Pennsylvania ACCESS card, and we deliver it to a pickup location or homes in certain Philly ZIP codes for free.

Q: How many ZIP codes are you delivering to in Philadelphia?

A: We partner with Fresh Grocer. They have six locations in Philadelphia, and we're using them to deliver to 20 ZIP codes within three miles of each Fresh Grocer.

Q: So how many homes are we talking about?

A: We have one customer, Penn Medicine at Radnor. [The grocers deliver] to people who work there, and that's the pickup location. And we're hoping to expand soon to Penn Medicine at HUP.

Q: How much does a meal cost?

A: All our meals are an average $6 per person. A dessert and salad might add another $2.

Q: So your model is different in that you deliver only ingredients, as opposed to prepared meals.

A: We don't want to infantize people and tell them, "Here's all the exact measurements of things you need because you waste a lot and have a more expensive meal."

Q: What's the secret sauce?

A: We make it easy for grocers to shop for ingredients. So a grocer can literally have their staff, on a Wednesday or Thursday when there's downtime, shop 20 to 30 orders. Our platform allows them to go down the aisle and fill the order efficiently. We make a 15 percent commission from the grocer per order.

Q: Is there a delivery charge?

A: Only if they are ordering outside our delivery zone or under the $50 minimum order. Then there's a small delivery charge of $2.99 to a home.

Q: How many pickup locations?

A: Besides Radnor, there's also one in Abington.

Q: How many employees?

A: Besides me, a COO, two engineers, a designer and dietitian.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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