We talk to health and wellness start-up Heights, founded by childhood friends and serial entrepreneurs Dan Murray-Serter and Joel Freeman.
After successfully founding and launching award winning apps like Popcorn & Grabble, Joel and Dan turned their attention to the supplement industry, which has been on the rise in recent years.
What do you currently do at ‘Heights’
Let’s start with what Heights is: We are a human potential company making smart supplements and clever content to elevate cognitive performance and promote better brain health.
Alongside expertly curated content around brain health, our ‘smart supplement’ has been developed by a team made up of Europe’s leading experts in the fields of neuroscience, wellness, nutrition, behaviour change, and technology.
In the day to day, we oversee every part of Heights. From the brand design, to the development of the smart supplement, to the sustainable packaging, ensuring our customers get the very best advice on their brain health, to answering the instagram and email customer service questions.
From managing our team of experts to donning high vis vests and inspecting suppliers’ factories working on every design aspect of our product – we’re both very hands on in every aspect of the business and we love that no two days are the same at Heights.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Our inspiration for Heights started from personal experience. We’re lifelong friends who have separately researched how to optimise our own brain performance. In doing so, we realised there isn’t much out there to educate people on the nutritional and behavioural changes they need to ensure their brains are working at their optimum.
In fact, our research showed that only 1% of people get the nutrients they need through their diet* to fuel a healthy brain. We wanted to develop a product that made brain health easy and achievable, encouraging people to rethink their priorities and put their brains first in a holistic and easy way.
We quickly realised that we needed the right people on board, so started building a team of experts to help everyone reach their heights, together – and here we are!
Who do you admire?
We admire people who aren’t afraid to fail, people who go after big vision ideas and bring everyone along for the ride with them in an engaging and community focussed way. Other start-up founders that we admire include people like Ali Parsa of Babylon Health, Michael Acton Smith of Calm or Anne Boden of Starling Bank. We also have a lot of admiration for people like our dietitian Sophie Medlin who calls people out publicly for spreading misinformation about nutrition and really stands for evidence based insights.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
In our last journey – 100%. We started to scale rapidly before we really understood the business model which meant that we trying to adjust on the go with a large team and lots of users which is very hard! Also, hire people that know what they are doing. That is definitely a big learning. You think you can’t afford it so go for people with less experience, but in the end it ends up costing you a lot of time that you can’t get back. Those are two lessons we learnt the hard way, and you don’t forget it.
With Heights, we’ve worked closely with a variety of professionals across the neuro-health and wellness sector to bring together their knowledge of neurotrition and our knowledge of business – culminating in what we think is a recipe for success to get the UK putting their brains first.
We launched our public beta in January, so we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers feel about the product and continue to grow and encourage people to take ownership of their brain health.
What defines your way of doing business?
Making sure that we live by our values and what we say we do is exactly aligned with how we behave, think and act, every day.
We are very mission driven people who believe in motivating our colleagues towards a big dream and enabling them to execute with us, without micromanaging along the way. We are big on culture and values and believe that permeates from team to product.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
First, work out what the easiest way to is to validate whether your idea is going to be a success. Too many people waste months if not years building before finding out if its a worthwhile use of time. The faster your learning cycles are, the more chance you have in succeeding in your entrepreneurial career.
Then, just start! It’s natural to be afraid to start, and be afraid to fail – but sadly the reality is you probably will fail, more times than your fear or even predict you will, but the speed at which you’ll learn from those failures will build you up towards success so much faster than playing it safe will.
As always, Seneca said it best: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”