By Alyssa Pressler
Myxx Inc. founders Monica Wood and Dede Houston shared a dilemma common among busy working moms: How to plan and prepare healthy family meals without spending a lot of time or money.
The business partners became friends about seven years ago when both worked for a Triangle advertising-technology startup, with Wood in product management and Houston in marketing. When Wood took a new job that required a lot of travel, she found it was harder than ever to plan healthy meals for her kids.
“Dede is also a single mom, so I remember I asked her if [the reason] was just me and my travel,” Wood says. They determined it wasn’t, and in 2015, they began earnestly discussing plans for a business that would help solve the problem.
Myxx’s online platform allows users to create shopping lists based on recipes they’ve found on the site, helping them plan meals in advance and buy less unnecessary food, Wood and Houston say.
With more grocery stores ramping up their online presence, the partners developed technology that works with stores’ e-commerce sites to provide a real-time list of available products. Myxx derives much of its revenue by helping brands such as Kraft Foods, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. and Perdue Farms create shoppable recipe programs incorporating their products, which are found on the site.
Shoppers create a free account and browse Myxx for recipes by meal, difficulty level or ingredients. The site then creates shopping lists that include specific aisles where you’ll find items at your local store. If your store doesn’t carry an ingredient, users are notified so they can adjust meals or find it elsewhere. Myxx provides per-serving costs for meals, estimated preparation times and real-time pricing for the ingredients. Users can update shopping lists to reflect items they already have in their home’s pantry or fridge.
Myxx raised $400,000 from two investors in its first financing in 2016, a securities filing shows. The site launched in fall 2017 with links to 18 Triangle-area Harris Teeter stores. Since then, the company has raised additional money from investors including Cofounders Capital, the Cary-based firm that supports early-stage startups; RTP Capital Associates; and Charlotte Angel Fund.
Today, Myxx works in conjunction with more than 10,000 stores in 49 states, including Walmart Grocery, H-E-B, Safeway and others. As stores offer more grocery-delivery options, Wood, who is chief executive officer, and Houston, who is chief operating officer, say in-store shopping is often more practical.
“We’re moms — we’re realistic, and we know there are times when I’ll shop online, and sometimes I’ll shop in person,” says Houston, a Virginia native who moved to Cary 20 years ago.
Myxx plans to add about nine workers this year to its 14-person team, while creating more partnerships with stores and recipe publishers. The owners also plan to incorporate user requests such as uploading family recipes to the site.
“We are two female founders of a company with venture funding, and that is rare. We are in conversations with the largest companies in this space,” says Wood, who moved to North Carolina to attend graduate school at Duke University. She has a master’s degree in economics.
“Everyone is targeting females [in marketing], but most of the food companies are run by men. We are female founders, we are from North Carolina and we are proud.”