We’re live in Austin this week, and every day, we’ll introduce you to one of the most outside-the-box finalists in the SXSW Accelerator Competition – the premier start-up showcase at the annual South by Southwest festival.
Who: Rahul (chief technology officer) and Prachi (chief executive) Baxi, the brother-sister duo behind SmartyPans
Where: New York, N.Y.
When: Hope to start selling later this year
Capital raised: Bootstrapped and considering crowdfunding soon
What’s the pitch?
Prachi: “SmartyPans is a smart cooking pan that connects to a free recipe app and gives you step-by-step cooking instructions. The cool thing is, the pan will warn you if you need to adjust the temperature, and it will show you caloric information in realtime on the tablet screen, using bluetooth connectivity sensors built into the pan. So, you always know exactly what went into your food and what your nutritional intake was. At the touch of a button, you can then input that information into other nutritional fitness platforms like MyFitnessPal or Fitbit. No more guestimating.”
Rahul: “It’s like GPS for cooking.”
How did you come up with the idea?
Prachi: “I worked as a nutritional counselor for several years, and then as a school nutritional compliance manager for four years. So I standardized recipes for schools, so that the cooks across the district could follow the recipes to meet the nutritional content in the students’ meals. My vision was very scientific: calories, carbs, nutrition, and so on. But for the chefs, it’s more of an art. So for me, two ounces meant two ounces, not a splash. That can create real problems, especially when you have students with diabetes and things like that, where precise nutrition matters. So I started brainstorming with my brother, who was a tech guy in New York to figure out how to solve that problem.”
Rahul: “I was working in Blackberry’s research division for a while and then in finance, and when my sister mentioned the idea, I started thinking about a whole other segment, which was people like me who don’t know how to cook. I thought it would be really cool if the pan, based on sensors, could give you step-by-step cooking instructions. So we’re testing it out right now with some early adopters, we’re talking with some potential seed funders and get into crowdfunding soon.”
What has the experience been like at SXSW?
Prachi: “It’s more than we expected. This is my passion, and I was just excited to come and share what we were working on. But the talent that we’re surrounded by, all this technology everywhere you look. It’s really amazing. We have met with several investors and received a lot of attention. I was not expecting all that.”