Akash Shah is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about impacting people’s health. Currently, he is Co-Founder and Head of Product at Care/of, which offers personalized vitamins, protein, and more and an iPhone app to help track health routines. Under Akash’s leadership, Care/of has raised over $46 million from top-tier venture capital firms including Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Goodwater Capital, Tusk Ventures, and Juxtapose.
Prior to Care/of, Akash co-founded Hometeam, a technology-enabled in-home senior care provider that has raised over $40 million. He was named to Forbes's 30 under 30 list in 2017 and Inc.’s 30 under 30 list in 2016. Akash is also one of the four Founding Members of AARP’s Innovators Council.
On morning meditation. I’m in the process of trying to wake up without my phone next to me. Checking my phone first thing in the morning feels like a habit I can do without. My goal is to eventually start my day more mindfully and peacefully, but it’s definitely something that takes practice for me. My favorite part of my morning routine is the 10-minute ferry from my apartment in Hoboken into Manhattan. I leave my phone in my pocket, and I use the time to meditate or even just enjoy the view. I couldn’t function without this little bit of time to myself before the craziness of the day starts.
On Care/of’s next phase. Our mission at Care/of is to remove all obstacles to healthy living. A few of the main hurdles we’ve seen are that taking care of yourself can feel overwhelming, lonely, and like a black box (i.e., the question “is what I’m doing even working?”). The next phase for us is pairing our personalized vitamins, protein, and boost powders with tailored insights on what is or isn’t working on a holistic level so that customers feel like there’s a trusted wellness advisor alongside them as they build their health routine.
On building brand equity. From the beginning, our goal has been to bring honest guidance to the health and wellness space and to deliver it in a friendly and delightful way. The supplement aisle is confusing and overwhelming, and it can be hard to know who to trust and what claims are realistic. There’s a strong, but understandable, skepticism in the category, which is why we’re committed to being honest with people about what the research says.
If a product has been used traditionally but doesn’t have as much recent research on it, we’ll tell you. We’ve found that honesty has helped us build a friendlier brand in an industry that does have a lot of bad actors, and our hope is that it helps consumers feel more empowered, too.
On his wellness vision. Healthcare has been a passion of mine for a long time. My wife is a women’s health nurse practitioner and my father is a physician, so I’ve been surrounded by it for most of my life. My parents come from a low-income background in India and immigrated to this country a few decades ago in search of better opportunities.
Growing up, they reminded me about the importance of giving back to communities and having a positive impact on people’s lives, so when I started thinking about businesses, I was immediately drawn to health and wellness, which impacts us all. It’s a large market where a lot of meaningful problems intersect and, if solved in thoughtful ways, the health and wellness space can be incredibly socially impactful. That vision motivates most of the work that I do.
On disconnecting from tech. I don’t have a concrete plan when it comes to unplugging (although I’m always open to trying something new). For the most part, I try to give myself a couple of technology-free blocks throughout the day. When I’m working, especially at the office, I know I’m going to be online, and that there isn’t really a way around it. When I’m home, I try to unplug for at least an hour, whether it’s during breakfast, dinner, or my commute.
I also try to make a conscious effort to stay off my phone on weekends, so I can just focus on being present during real, in-person interactions. I find that the more I give myself these chunks of time to fully disconnect, the more balanced my relationship with technology is.
On his nightly ritual. These days when I’m getting ready for bed I put my phone away, pick up the paperback baby book that’s sitting on my nightstand (I’ve got a daughter on the way), or watch an episode of Friends before turning in.
— Akash Shah, Co-Founder of Care/of