Welcome to the In Fitness & In Health Podcast
Neil Thanedar graduated from college and immediately got to work. His company, Labdoor, is arguably the best company on the planet when it comes to independent research of the supplement industry. I actually purchased a pre-workout off of their website before recording this interview (and if you can get a broke startup-founder like me to spend $40+ on something online, then you know you have a quality product). They have made millions of dollars, raised $7M in funding from notable investors like Mark Cuban, and have transformed the supplement industry.
Neil can be described as an entrepreneur, scientist, philanthropist, and activist. He is also the founder & CEO of Air to All, a nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He was previously co-founder and President of Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor and State Representative in Michigan.
Some great lessons for founders that he speaks on:
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Welcome to the In Fitness & In Health Podcast
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Cory McKane 0:00
So I'm actually glad to have you back on the show because I had you on my original podcast A long time ago. And since that podcast I've actually ordered like literally, everything from my pre workouts to my protein powder all from lab door. I honestly don't look anywhere else. Absolutely love it. And I tell everyone I know about it. So you guys are completely crushing it. Awesome, man. Thanks. Absolutely. Can you give the world like a quick intro just about yourself and what you guys do?
Neil Thanedar 0:25
Yeah, so lab door test vitamin supplements. We're now close to 40 categories, anything from protein powders, creatine, multivitamins, now all the way to the CBD gummies. The vapes cartridges, we're kind of getting into any sort of category where there's real doubt in the quality and safety of the products that you're consuming. And so we're thinking about, we get asked about food about cosmetics, there's kind of this whole range of products that you think about in a drugstore. But those are really the products that we're looking to get tested.
Cory McKane 1:01
And is there a limit on how far you can go? Like, we're not going to test this dog food? Or is that a possibility? Like, where's your limit for all that?
Unknown Speaker 1:11
So actually, so dog food would actually be a great category, because there are those same issues, right, a lot of people worried about the protein content not being high enough quality, or, you know, they're lying about it, and there's, you know, way more grain or flour in there than there should be. And so, I think the limit is, is products that have a safety or an efficacy claim in some way. So, it and we've done testing in the lab that can even go into like water bottles, and is it really BPA free? You know, things like wine or alcohol, right? There are sulfides in the in those products or the products as pure as they claim or the alcohol contents accurate. So I think it's really just a limit of kind of scaling the platform and getting it to the place where supplants it's kind of is one business, and we're able to use, you know, certifications and affiliate revenue to monetize that, right. So it's, it's now more of a automated business where we we do the testing, we put the results up for free, right, and then we're able to get a recurring revenue based on the affiliates. But we have to be able to grow that platform. And that's really our next process.
Cory McKane 2:22
And so is it exactly that like you literally go, I think I you see for the last time we spoke, but I'll use it again, it's cuz I'm stupid. But we'll take C four, for example. So you test it for you put on your platform, and then you reach out to see for distributors to say, Hey, give us an affiliate code or like, how does that process work.
Unknown Speaker 2:39
So usually the affiliate codes can come from the major retailer, so we don't even have to work with the manufacturers at all, we'll just go and buy the product in store like anyone else does take the product into a lab. The the safety testing is we start with contaminants. So it's heavy metals forest. Some other ingredients like fish oil can have specific, you know, pesticide type contaminants, or mercury or other types of PCBs, stuff we could work on. And so we just look at those key contaminants. And then we look at the active ingredients. So same thing for official, we'd be looking at the the EPA or the DOJ for a C for we might be looking at the creatine and the caffeine content and a bunch of other active ingredients, because some of those pre workouts have a ton of active ingredients in them. And then we can basically put together our own profile of what the product is actually inside the product, not what's on the label, and use those that data to really compare the products, we grade them on a A through F scale of zero to 100 scale. And so sometimes you can see, you know, a few products of very, very close, or you can see products that have massive differences. And they're just all ranked there on the site.
Cory McKane 3:50
And what I just realized, too, is that I actually currently at my house have a protein powder official and a pre workout. All that I bought from you guys. Oh, and I have a creatine Little Pill container thing too. So I just love it. It just makes everything so much more legitimate. There's another website that that does it ever so since our interview, or does what you guys do, sorry. So our interview, that's pretty much all I do is just use your website for this stuff. So what what is one category that is the most I guess, like surprising, like surprisingly, incredibly inaccurate.
Unknown Speaker 4:26
So pre workouts was the one that we actually went in expecting there to be a lot of issues. We actually even tested for some products that had been previously dinged for having stimulants in them that were unlabeled. So that's actually we went and did extra testing on a category like that just on purpose so that we could do that. Some of the categories that were unexpected probiotics were one of the that the there were a lot of probiotics that had zero, almost zero or 1% active ingredient in them. Basically like if a probiotic goes bad if it's not shelf stable. But it doesn't lose like five or 10% of its active ingredient like the whole thing dies, like the the entire act of culture dies. And so we were finding products that were just zero active ingredients act like red live active ingredient in the product. And so that was the one that was the most surprising for me.
Cory McKane 5:17
With what you've said, like, how long do these tests take when you're in the lab? So obviously, you're not gonna be testing for an eternity. But when you get something new into the lab, do you test something for like a week and some four months? Or like, what is that process like?
Unknown Speaker 5:31
So we So what we'll do testing on every year to basically will try to update these results proteins been updated, a few of these categories have been updated? The question is, what shelf life is not most supplements actually can last for years, right? So if you had your creatine in your house, you know, it might have a two year expiration date, but it could easily last four or five plus years, there's nothing that's going bad or like kind of degrading in the product itself. There are specific products like the probiotics where, you know, every year like that, or even, you know, batch to batch, you can see some variations. And so those are the categories that need to be tested more frequently.
Cory McKane 6:12
And what did you remember from last night? What did you study in school? Like, why are you so good at doing all this?
Unknown Speaker 6:18
So I studied molecular biology in Business at the University of Michigan. The reason why I'm good at testing is actually a family connection. So my dad ran testing labs my whole life. And so I had the idea of molecular biology and business together as a, as a way to, to build labs and build testing labs, my, my thought had originally been to go more into the, like biotech type space, like what kind of Madonna and like vaccines. And that was actually what I was studying to try to go into, it was kind of to be more in the biotech space. And just through the the process of when I graduated, my dad's businesses were not doing very well. And so I just jumped in and helped him right. And so by helping him rebuild his businesses, that was, I got deep into the chemistry side, which is kind of seen as more of the, like, old school sciences, right, like the chemistry, biology work versus kind of like everyone wants to be in like biotech and pharma these days. And so I kind of went back into that chemistry testing, and found that there was just like, so much that wasn't being done, right. There's just all these products that we consume every day, and no one's testing them. Right. And it's just like, it is a matter of getting just building a lab, you know, buying hundreds of products and running them through an assembly line and getting every single one tested. It's a process, but it's like someone's job, and someone needs to do it. And so that's really how I kind of got into testing for the last 10 plus years. And now it's become a specialty, but also just a passion to make sure that everything is tested like I we live right by Flint right now. Right to figuring out more water testing, What is there? Like, what are ways that we can improve water testing, make sure that, you know the mortality like those 10 times or 100 times more tests out there, right? All of those types of things are just like it, they they're still unsolved problems. There's just like, this, this space, the lab science, testing, space, still has so many unsolved problems.
Cory McKane 8:23
And I feel like I could be totally wrong, but I feel like it's unsolved, because it doesn't like who's who's funding it? You know, am I wrong with that?
Unknown Speaker 8:31
No, that's, that's a big problem. You're right. It's I think the that was an issue that we always have with loud writers, like we have to pay for the testing ahead of time, right, and then expect the business to work, right, they've entered now, now that we have a lot of categories we have we have momentum into some of that can build in is kind of like the same way someone would have an existing audience, right. And you just keep talking to that existing audience. But the issue with that was, then we had to, you know, we did multiple rounds of angel and VC funding. That's not easy. That takes a lot of time. It can really push the business in different directions. Right. So I think that that's an unsolved problem, right? Meanwhile, the FDA spends $5 billion a year and does not do this testing, right? This just isn't even part of their job. And so in some ways, there's just like massive amounts of money going into theoretically going into this exact space. And in some other way, there's just not, they're not really using it effectively. And so someone like labdoor can spend, you know, a million or $2 million a year and do this kind of massive amount of work. What we've got to figure out is how do you scale that up? How is lab door doing 10 million or $100 million in testing? That's one kind of factor that we're always thinking about. And then that goes for, you know, how does Consumer Reports get funded, how to, you know, propublica gets funded, like a lot of these are nonprofit. A lot of these are these institutions in New York Times bought wire cutter, and so a lot of these companies have the potential to to build these businesses, but they're they're challenging businesses. They're kind of this combination of they're they're partially like media business or journalism. Like, it's almost like running the New York Times or something. It's hard, right? Like you're constantly, people are constantly challenging you, you know, you have to get better better with this fact checkers and all these different things. But it's also from a business side very difficult. Right? It's because, you know, it's hard to sell ads nowadays, it's hard to sell subscriptions nowadays. And so just like all of these different things, if we could figure out a way to fund more of this testing, right, massive improvements could be made. And so either, you know, way more funding, or the way I always think about it is can we figure out a way to bring the testing cost down? Right? can we can we figure out, is there a way to decentralized testing, in some ways a way to, to improve the technology so that the testing gets cheaper itself? So there's, that's those are really the boundaries of the problem that we're trying to solve.
Cory McKane 10:58
And then you mentioned, the VC and Angel rounds. And I know, just because I've already interviewed you that you guys got like, you're pretty big investors, like one of them being Mark Cuban. And so like, what were your pitches early on? Like, what were you like? Were you presenting? What were you literally have today? Or was the vision back then not clear, like, Where were you at back then when you raise that money.
Unknown Speaker 11:18
So the vision on on why we were doing it was always very clear. So it was like these products need to be tested, this information needs to be clear. And that was I actually had met Mark Cuban in in February of 2012. But three months before I started lab door, and we had briefly had a conversation about this, which is my last business was a testing lab that worked for manufacturer, so we solved the problems that manufacturers had. So if a product was failing, we would work with them to figure out why and try to solve that problem, and then tell them but it would be a kind of a, it would be a private process where we solve the problems they fix it and, and no one would know, first is what I really wanted to do was independently test and then we could tell anyone if a product had failed. And so in this situation, I knew that we needed this information that the data was going to be valuable. And and and what Cubana had talked about was this idea that if there was a way to build an assembly line type process, basically automate or kind of scale rapidly, how many products you could test, that that data itself would be really valuable. And that was really the basis of is like this data is important for for millions of consumers, therefore it'll be somehow will be an important business. And that's all we went out in the seed round with, until we did that process. And then, so that was 2012 2013. And so we built that we built the site out, we got hundreds of products on the site. And then 2014 2015, we went into Y Combinator. And that's really when they pushed us to figure out where the business was, and scale the business side of it. And so we really pushed ourselves initially to be a marketplace. And so in the kind of early 2015, period, it was, how do we, how do we take these reviews? And what's the What do these reviews have their most value? It's when you're buying a product, or you're doing this research or trying to decide what to buy? And so, Ken, in that moment, can we connect people to the products that they want to buy, that would be the most efficient way to build this business? And so that's really we scaled that 2015 1617. And then so our series A was very based on on the business that we had built and why it could be self sustainable. But the Yeah, seed round was totally done just based on the idea that this data would be important and just people needed.
Cory McKane 13:47
Maybe definitely raised because Have you had like an incredible background, like you obviously know what you're talking about. I feel like if I tried to raise that kind of a funny round with that business, they'd be like, what, what are you doing? You know,
Unknown Speaker 13:59
it's tough either way, right. I and I also think that there's people with more experience than I did, right. So I was gaming, I moved, I just moved from Michigan to San Francisco in 2012. I didn't know anyone out there had never really met VCs had never like, bumped into, like, there were no VCs in my life. Like, none of my family friends were VCs or anything. It was until I moved to LA and really, really so. Yeah, so it's like, I didn't know any of the concept. Right. And so I we started from scratch. And so from that process, I ran through just hundreds of pitches, events, I think if there's anything that's like in my investing story, if we had, we have like 50 or 60 total investors right now. And part of that was just like, by necessity, or like I pitched like 500 investors to get 50 small checks, like relatively small checks to put together around where sometimes, you know, nowadays, there's like single investor or two, three investor, you know, $10 million seed rounds and stuff like that. So definitely definitely struggled though. The way up ticket to get some of that funding.
Cory McKane 15:03
Yeah, I've been in the same boat. And I feel like my biggest checks came in this year, one investor funded 50k. Most of our checks have been like 10k 1520, and so, so forth. So I'm still waiting to get that one big, like $10 million check. So I could totally feel you on that. You have a passion for like fitness nutrition outside of lab door, like, outside of just chemistry and science and all that stuff. Like, do you play sports? Or where are you at with all that?
Unknown Speaker 15:29
Yeah, so I do. So I use lab door for for myself. And so I have a big supplement routine, too. I play hockey twice a week. Yeah, so I'm a big hockey player. And I do CrossFit a couple times a week to trying to build up a little bulk for for hockey, because I'm, I'm on the smaller side, in on the hockey side. So I'm trying to try to bulk up trying to get a little stronger. And so that's, that, to me, gets me that's my routine of just like, basically just trying to try to be a better hockey player is is my is my fitness goal and system. But yeah, a lot of supplements involved.
Cory McKane 16:09
Yeah, goals are so important. I found out that just from personal experience that when I'm in the gym, I don't really have a plan. I feel like I have a half assed workout every single time. So I like being able to actually achieve something. And I think it's just so essential for not just your own workouts, but just like being in the fitness industry in general. And actually, going back to a previous company that I wanted to talk about, I think we mentioned this in the last podcast, but your previous company was acquired for a lot of money. And can we kind of break that down again, like what that process was like getting acquired and what that company was called.
Unknown Speaker 16:42
So the company is called aev. mean, it was started in 2012 2010, right out of college. And so we were in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and testing business, started that business with my dad. And so his his past business had had struggled through the recession, he got into a fight with with the bank, the bank had taken the business kind of like in a foreclosure type situation. And so he needed to do something new, right. And so we needed to kind of rebuild the business. And so we went like five miles off at our best campus place that was relatively cheap, got a few 1000 square feet and bought a bunch of secondhand equipment and started building. And so that business had grown pretty significantly was probably 15 or 20 people in 2012, by the time I started lab door. And so basically, I got really full time on lab door and he took over my dad took over as admin, and he really ran with me in from 2012 to 2016, when the company was acquired, he and I always really worked together. And so when that company got acquired it, I think a lot of what was kind of exciting about those types of businesses is that they, they start getting more and more, more and more automatic overtime. Right? I think that I think one of the big challenges of those types of businesses, it reminds me of like, like a law firm or something like that, where, at a small scale, it's a real hustle, right? Like every single client, you have to go out there and like no one knows who you are. And so you have to go and convince them why you're good. But then, you know, five or 10 years into a process like that, if you've built a name recognition, you've built a brand, you know, you've gone online and people know who you are, then all of a sudden, like in business just like comes to you, right? People know who you are. And you just get that or that business. And so that it became a business, I was just very solid. And it just kind of continued to run and do really well. And so it's been it's been in other people's hands now for five plus years. And it's doing great. And so it's getting close to 100 people now. And so we you know, we share for on the sidelines, but it's it's just yeah, it was a great process in one way very different than lab door, which was you know, there's no outside funding. It was entirely that kind of that bootstrapped hustle. But then it turns into, like that kind of SMB, that really strong, small business, I wish that there was a better name for those that than a small business because those things are really powerful. Versus the lab door, which is kind of that boom or bust. You know, you have to go out there and fundraise. There's no money at the beginning, no revenue at the beginning, and then trying to you know, flip a business model on later. It's just a completely different system. And so it was it was fun to get both of those experiences.
Cory McKane 19:31
Yeah, I mean, exact same boat with that here. took me years to build up to where we're at. We're just now on the revenue side of things. So it's an exhausting process. So I totally feel you there. Speaking of revenues, 100% of your revenue comes from the percentage of sales through your website. But for example, I bought like 30 things from your website. Your revenue comes from all those sales like through affiliate links or how does that work?
Unknown Speaker 19:55
So that was how we started and now we have a second revenue stream where we started to For the best companies, they basically license a lab or certification that goes on their product. And so we do this. And so for those people will actually do additional testing. So we'll actually go in and do batch to batch testing. So it's not like every year, we'll make sure that we're guaranteeing to test them more frequently. And then if they've consistently passed all their purity and safety testing, they can add that, and that includes now for CBD testing, we can also guarantee that a product has no THC, like a THC free certification, so people aren't failing drug tests is a big issue with athletes we're doing we also have weakened certify for sport. So if you is that we can guarantee that there's no banned substances in the product. And so we've we've now started to get deeper and deeper into this certification process where we can really precisely say, for kind of the specific use cases, say we guarantee that this product has no banned substances a week guaranteed has no THC to make sure that right like in a really high value case that nothing bad happens.
Cory McKane 21:04
And I feel like there's so many like branches, you can go off and like, measure or doing that stuff for like bodybuilding competitions, or CrossFit or whatever. And like, I'm sure I don't know anything about blood testing, but I'm sure you guys could do the same thing. I mean, obviously, you know, more than me, but that's so cool. Yes, you're doing that. So I'm trying to picture the product that I bought, I feel like it did have a little lab door certified thing on it. And I mean, this with all due respect, and I use the product obviously. Are you guys big enough? And this is obviously Yes. Cuz you just said it is? Are you guys big enough that like the companies are coming to you and saying like, yeah, we want that lab door cert? You know? Like,
Unknown Speaker 21:39
it's happening more and more every year. Right? So it's, this is now your nine. Right? So yeah, so it is much more in year nine than it was in year four. Right? We actually did have your three or four, there were a few companies already that started coming to us and saying they saw themselves. They said, Hey, like our sales went up. We didn't know how, you know, we looked around the website, the web and like your site kept kept coming up or like, lab door kept coming up in our customer reviews, right? Things like that. Like there were these really early signs where they said like, how can we work with you? Can we do something. And so we had started doing that on these very, like one off basis, we'd start working with specific companies. But once we kind of year, as we kind of got into the series, and we had a little bit more resources, do multiple things at the same time. That's when we got deeper into, you know, how would the certification work? How could we? How could we do this testing at scale? And so that, I think, is something that now like at 50 years, or you know, it'll be better than the 10 years, right. And so I think there's, for me, I always think about the brands like lab door tend to be compared to like Consumer Reports, which is a 90 year old company, right? New York Times or The Washington Post, which 100 plus year companies, there's kind of a the Lindy effect is like the self fulfilling prophecy, a little bit of these companies, but the longer they survive them, the more trust they get, like, the longer they fight, the longer they're there, the longer year, you trust them. And so we have to build that and like we'll have a decade, next year, right. And if that's just starting that process of like, you know, we've been here for a while, and we know what we're doing. And I think that's why I had that itch to to start more businesses. And I've always, that's who I've always been. Same way I left, you know, at the start lab door. And so I we kind of we really thought about that process carefully. We said we wanted, you know, a long term CEO, you know, someone who's been there since day one, Rafael, to kind of to keep the process going, keep that running and, and allow me to kind of think about what's next. And if there's kind of other categories and other things to invent. It'll probably still be in this space, but it's just, it might be a new company. And that's something that I've been really excited about.
Cory McKane 23:52
And just to clarify, because we talked about that before I hit record, so you actually stepped down as CEO and your co founder took the role. So you can what you just said basically, but just want to clarify the audience. That's what happened. So congrats to you, you know, to open up your schedule and you know, work on other things that we're passionate about.
Unknown Speaker 24:08
Yeah, it's exciting. So I get to do the fun kind of board member stuff. We've always hated the board members are just are still the three founders from the very beginning. And the three of us work great together. And it's just to us that part that's such an that is a lot of where the like creation and strategy happens. It's just those like, the three of us just not like no agenda, just sitting in a room or now sitting sitting on a phone call and figuring it out. And so that that part is that part I love doing. And so now it's fun to actually kind of then see the execution happening. And you know, I can check in once a week and you know, like, Great stuff is happening. So the team is doing an awesome job. And I think this kind of next level of how can we you know, keep building on the certifications building on the brand and expanding it now it's starting to go a lot more international. So we're seeing India as a religion. Popular country for our service.
Cory McKane 25:03
Yeah, India is blowing up for weightlifting. It's crazy. Like, all over Instagram, we have so many trainers that are joining from India like it's it's absolutely insane.
Unknown Speaker 25:12
And so I think that's that's a huge thing is just in Brazil, same way both my co founders are Brazilian, but it's it's really kind of going globally where people are understanding what the brand means, I think in other countries that the quality control issues are even worse than they are in the US. Right. And so there's counterfeit issues or certifications, we've we've thought about that too. In globally, there are counterfeits, right, and so how do we can we use the certification to somehow block counterfeits? And so that's another factor that we've had. So those are all of these, the places that we can expand to and so I'm excited to see where that goes. And yeah, just just supporting the team as much as I can.
Cory McKane 25:54
And then with the certifications, I'm gonna bring up c four, again, just because it's a good example. So obviously not a high quality product, I take it sometimes because I just feel hyped up like, obviously, it's not the best or not the most high quality product, but as a company like cellular or C for whatever it's called, are they going to ask you for a certification? Or I guess I'll take a step back, like what does this certification mean? Does it mean that you've tested it? Or does it mean that it's a high quality product,
Unknown Speaker 26:20
so the sort of, we're working to make the certifications, a stricter standard of testing, then then our independent testing, so the independent testing is, contaminants active ingredients, right. And so it's kind of, it's a very sad panel, which really tells you, you know, 9599 plus percent of what's in the product, but there is this, the risk of C for like products, especially for, the more strict you get into athletes, is, if there is that like point 1% of banned substances in there, that's really where they're going to get in trouble. And so that that's really where the certifications are kind of looking for these really specific things. And so it's possible that c four, could be completely clean from a sports perspective. And so they might still want to do that certification and be certified for sport to say, hey, there's guaranteed no banned substances in here. It might not have, you know, the best, you know, active ingredient profile compared to the other products or not, we don't know, maybe it does, we'd have to test it. But I think that the issue would be, we can always kind of find in some of these cases that if a product is you know, THC free, and as a CBD product, it might not have the highest concentration of CBD. Right, but it has no THC guaranteed, and that might be important for a certain customer, right. And so I think we're starting to try to figure out this is now the dream has always been for labs to get as personalized on the testing as possible, right? It's like, every could we test every allergen? We've tried to figure that out? Could we you know, like, it starts getting more and more precise, have specific people need specific data. And and that could be companies that could be people that could be people with a specific allergy or specific illness. But oh, it could be people taking it if there's kids taking the product, right, that that's a major factor these days of making sure that specific ingredients are out of the product. And so those are all the places where we're trying to push the science and push the certifications to also just to teach people that, hey, look for that certification, look for the lab or certification when you buy something if this is important to.
Cory McKane 28:21
I mean, I tell everyone, so I'm one of you guys biggest advocates out here, saying for the fourth time, I just love how there's rankings makes it so simple. Like it's go on there just like boom, bought it done good to go. I know it's a high quality product. And so with well over time cellular and their website, and Amazon, for example. Is there one of those two, that gives you a higher commission, like through the direct website or through Amazon, and then I'm also going to assume it's not Amazon.
Unknown Speaker 28:47
So we're, we're now starting to work with the companies directly. So we started 2015. It was all Amazon links. And Amazon needs to be eight 9% affiliate rates right now it's like one to 2%, right, it's really crazily dropped off in the last eight years, five or six years. So that's a big issue. Right. So over time, we started saying, let's just link directly to the companies. And so as we're as we start reaching out these companies, my proteins, a classic example, they've really built out a huge ecommerce presence on their own. And so our links can just go directly to my proteins website, we can even kind of figure out ways to do we're trying to figure out ways to like pull discounts through and different things like that, too. And so if we can be, if we can get you like directly, like direct to the source, they have a better price. A lot of these companies are starting to do that they're starting to list higher on Amazon and list the lowest possible price on their direct website to get customers to buy direct. And so if we can get you more directly to source, we'll do that. And so that's another part of the, you know, go out the platform go out the system. It's just a long process of going company to company and getting some of those systems working and
Cory McKane 30:00
Just out of curiosity, do you analyze if there's a higher buy rate, because I just feel like me personally, I'm like, the normal consumer is just way more comfortable with Amazon and that point of sale and then when you go to another company is totally different if they can do accounts like what is that? What is that, like conversion rate like? That? I
Unknown Speaker 30:16
think so the Amazon conversion rates are always great. I think it's a, it's, I think they're it's either the comfort with Amazon itself, right? It's just like, everything's, it's, you know, the shipping, it's the credit cards are already saved. There's a lot of inertia in that. So I think from that perspective, it goes really quickly versus like, if I send you to some some sampling companies website that you've never bought from before. And you have to like you have to put in your shipping and billing information, all that stuff. I think that so that's one issue. I think we're seeing Shopify websites, so like, websites that are Shopify integrated, are easier, right, there's sometimes they can like figure that out and kind of bypass that process. Some of those things are helping, that's a major is someone can figure that out. And we were looking into ways to do that, too. If we can kind of build affiliate tools into our own website, and also start to take some of that middleman out, we're trying to figure that out as much as possible. But there's, I think there's a lot of value in, you know, getting Amazon out of the process and get connecting customers directly to the companies. And lab was trying to do that right as if you know, because I think the biggest pivot point is lab door. In some of those cases, it's like lab doors changing who's which product you're going to buy. And then it's kind of, then you decide which store to buy. And I think a lot of people are choosing Amazon. And so the question is that second step at the step after lab door, right, it can companies convince customers that they should buy direct and with what advantages can they use that for? So I'm very curious about that. But that's something that the industry definitely needs to work on.
Cory McKane 31:52
Yeah, I'm curious, I figured it's a good answer. And just from my experience, I bought privately from you guys to the website, and I also bought through Amazon, and then I obviously, with Amazon, I can just go boom, boom, boom, and get it with the other websites that you have to make an account. It's a little bit more of a process. So I like supporting your business more. But if I'm a big hurry, I have to kind of go through Amazon. So kind of changes things. And about a little over a year ago, you started another company. And I believe it's called all the all. And can you just break down what you guys do? And like why you created this company?
Unknown Speaker 32:25
Yeah, so it's aired all and aridol is it's no worries. Yeah, it's a it's an it's a nonprofit. So we started March last year, it is for so we had we had the idea about putting a group of smart people together and try to invent low cost medical devices. And so we've gone through the entire process of we can put together these really cool teams from around the world that started working on ventilators and respirators. And so there's two models of ventilators a model a that's, that's really simple and cheap, could be under $1,000 per ventilator versus these like $50,000, ventilators. And then a Model B ventilator that could be you know, in the, the, you know, one to $3,000 range. And so thinking through what that looks like, and then also a respirator up a powered air purifying respirator PAPR that is basically for if you look at like health care professionals, they're like, you know, like doctors who have these like these full like, hoods on when they are going into COVID conditions. There's basically like a hood, and like a hose that's attached to this, like, this air purifier that sits on your waist. These things are like 1000s of dollars, usually, and they're really hard to get these days because of COVID. And so we tried to design a system that was under $500. And so we've got, now we've got this working paper that we've kind of fully tested, and we want to get out to NIOSH, we've done all the work to get a 501 c three certification. So we're going to be, you know, a non full nonprofit, we're already a California nonprofit. And so we go to all these structures to basically to build cheap medical devices for these kinds of issues. The tough part was it was kind of this one year sprint. So many challenges. One like supply chain was a mess this year, even like this would normally be a challenge. But it was especially a challenge this year. And just like building all that remotely was really, really difficult. But I think now that we've gotten to a place where you know, we're going to have the nonprofit status, we're going to have these products developed. I just I want to make sure that this is something that exists, like the idea of nonprofit medical devices is just something that I believe should exist. And so as much as possible, this will be one more thing that I think we'll try to recruit as as we kind of get the nonprofit status solidified. Try to recruit a more long term team as well here, right and have people who are kind of actually working for the nonprofit day to day and making sure that these products is And because there's a lot of these places where we found that so much in Asia, Africa, South America where that there weren't, there were decades long shortages of medical devices. This was like not a 2020 problem. There was just people had never had medical devices, there was never a ventilator in that hospital, right? Like there was never a ventilator in that state, like, right, like someone would have to get like sent internationally to get be on a ventilator in some of these countries. And so we just need to do this work. And so this is one more, one more of my, I think, in my passions that I had this idea of the the world's biggest problems, it's something I've been this list I've been building on my website, I've just been like, what are the world's biggest problems? And how can we solve them. And so I think, this idea, nonprofit medical devices, it's just like, always on my list, this is like something that needed to happen. And trying to tackle it the sheer same way that independent testing has always been on my list, right. And I think that, like ladders really challenged that for many years. And so so I think that's, we've made some major progress in aridol in one year on the idea of nonprofit medical devices. And so excited to see what will happen there. But it's, for me, that is that's much earlier along in the process, it's like much more getting that to where we're going to shipping devices all over the world. That's, that's really a few years away, but I'm really excited about it.
Cory McKane 36:25
That's so cool, man, I'm gonna I'm not gonna say I'm proud of you. But I'm like, so pumped for what you guys are doing over there. Air to all is a much better company name. All the all a mess that one up, obviously. But you know, we'll we'll figure that out later. So, you sit on the board of all these companies, you run like 14 of them. So how do you divide your time each day.
Unknown Speaker 36:45
So I'm trying to actually set that up in a more concrete way. My idea is, is to build something like a startup studio around myself. And so a few other people have done it. This may be I think, 60 years or so in the us right now, of these kind of these kind of companies that are that build other companies. And so I'd like to do that I'm kind of in the early stage of that process right now. So ideally, that that'll help me kind of build some infrastructure. So I can, I can start working on these projects. But the other part of it is just I use my calendar, it's got to be segmented for, like, for the last kind of few months, Wednesdays have been aridol days, I've used Mondays for lab door, and then I've kind of used the other days to build new things. So I sometimes get that regimented. Sometimes just specific meetings or specific times I can just block off for for different projects. But that is us talking about kind of physical performance or kind of getting as optimized as possible physically, as I get to I'm 33. Now I've got two kids, right, like, and I feel like more of that like veteran in a in a athletic competition, right? versus like, now is all about optimizing all the little details of like, how do I make sure like every, like sleep is right how to make sure like, like my office conditions are right. Like when I'm focused on focus, like my like, I like take, like I have a separate like desk to do some different work. Like I have two different desks, I have a standing desk, I do different work on the right, there's just like, every little detail of it, to try to optimize that performance is just, that's what I want to do. I want to be on all the time, and I want to be trying to do all these things. It just it's more, it's way more exciting to me than doing one thing all the time. And so I do whatever I can to try to optimize it. So I can actually do that.
Cory McKane 38:35
Dude, I'm the exact same way. I mean, that's why I have a podcast for we strive. We're building videos for our exercise library. I just can't be like fitness app. Like I just I can't be one thing I do. And like I'm working on organizing a tournament. And I'm like doing so many things at once. I just can't be doing the same thing every single day. So I'm in the exact same way. And I have like multiple spots where I work like my standing desk at home. I'm here in the office right now, go to a coffee shop. So my brain is not built to do the same thing every day, by any means. And I would go absolutely crazy if it was so I feel like you kind of put the same energy into lab door like you're not just gonna test one product, you're testing all the products. So you guys are testing the whole gambit of the health and wellness world. I love that. So honestly, this has been an incredible podcast so far. And I'm just so happy to have you back on I'm gonna obviously keep ordering through lab door. So there we go. Do you have anything you want to leave our listeners with like maybe your favorite supplements right now or something that you've learned through all your company journeys?
Unknown Speaker 39:35
Yeah, so just in terms of the supplements that right now in labdoor, that I think have been extremely popular. So I think with COVID, especially vitamin D, is has been a major factor and we've seen some really great studies. And so and the dosages can can be I've seen dosages as high as 10,000 iu a day that are actually clinically safe and effective and so If there is it kind of one something that you should be taking during COVID is that so check that out on lab door for sure. And I think just I think, if you want to send at lab door, if there's a product that's not on lab door, send us a message, any any social media, it's at lab door, and let us know what you want to test. It doesn't have to be supplements, like anything that you want to see tested, let us know that big list really helps us. And so if there's a new category or something that you see, especially if it's something that you think you've taken the product and it's failed, or you think that there's something wrong with it, definitely let us know.
Cory McKane 40:35
I love that. And actually, I don't know if you guys are going this way, but one of my friends runs one of like, the biggest CBD pet companies in the world. And I don't know how they do their testing. So they drove I don't know. Yeah, I don't know if you
Unknown Speaker 40:47
were getting close there. So we've got CBD gummies. Now we've got the oils and the vapes. And so I think we're looking at at animal products in both supplements and CBD right now. So it's good it's getting there in the next year I'm hoping because I have two dogs too so I'm hoping that two older dogs so hoping that some of these things will get tested soon
Cory McKane 41:10
yeah she's she's awesome to sell this most of the intro make it work there we go. Well Neil so awesome having you on man love lab door and keep doing you guys are doing man. Alright, sounds good.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai