Business Monday

Startup spotlight: SuperFuzion

ON THE SHELF: SuperFuzion co-founders Alyssa Fernandez-Isla, left, and Jacqueline Gadala- Maria playfully display their products at the Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables.
ON THE SHELF: SuperFuzion co-founders Alyssa Fernandez-Isla, left, and Jacqueline Gadala- Maria playfully display their products at the Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

SuperFuzion

Headquarters: Miami

Concept: SuperFuzion products are an “Outrageous Fusion of SuperFoods.”

Story: SuperFuzion is a Miami-based natural health food products company that aims to infuse the daily diets of people everywhere with an outrageous fusion of superfoods. Each product contains a variety of premium nuts, seeds, and super fruits thus creating the optimal nutritional combination of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The seed for SuperFuzion was planted in founder Jacqueline Gadala-Maria as a child growing up with her father who believed passionately in the power of healthy eating to transform lives. She began pursuing her dream when she decided to build a healthy “superfoods” company with fellow dreamer and close friend Alyssa Fernandez-Isla. Inspired by a “super fusion” of family, friendship, and food, SuperFuzion was born.

Gadala-Maria handles product development and Fernandez-Isla handles operations. Gadala-Maria used to make the mix for herself and brought it to a dinner. Everyone loved it and persuaded her to start the company. With Fernandez-Isla’s help, she perfected the recipe and the team developed the labels and branding – they chose lime green and purple to make sure the labels stood out on the shelves. “We would put our products on the shelves at Whole Foods to see how the labels looked,” Gadala-Maria said. And they pursued Whole Foods hard. “We kept going until someone called us.”

Their efforts paid off as the product is now in five local Whole Foods stores, and will soon be in the new Brickell store, as well as other shops in South Florida. The company plans to expand outside the region, as well as grow its product line.

Launched: SuperFuzion products launched in local, independant stores and markets in Miami in early 2014.

Management team: Jacqueline Gadala-Maria and Alyssa Fernandez-Isla, co-founders.

Website: SuperFuzion.com.

Financing: Self-financed.

Recent milestones: Gained acceptance into Whole Foods Florida region to launch at six Miami-Dade County stores. Partnered with the Seed Food & Wine Festival, the first plant-based food festival in the country, Oct 15-19 in Miami. The product is also sold in Norman Brothers in Kendall, Wayside Market in Pinecrest, The Beehive on Bird Road, the Original Daily Bread on Miami and Key To Health on Key Biscayne, among other stores.

Biggest startup challenge: Curating the best suppliers, designers, facilities and professional service providers.

Next step: Make the Whole Foods launch as successful as possible so that SuperFuzion will be a solid platform for product development and geographic expansion.

Strategy for next step: Demos. “At the end of the day, our first priority is allowing consumers to taste our delicious superfood fusions and educating them about their myriad health benefits and applications. This is why we invest heavily in in-store and event demos, where we provide complimentary tastings of our products. People buy SuperFuzion because not only is it healthy, it’s tasty too,” said Fernandez-Isla.

Mentor’s view: “SuperFuzion is a great example of local motivated entrepreneurs with a great venture idea but in need of assistance to operate on solid legal footing,” said lawyer Ashley A. Juchawski, who directs the Venture Law Project for Dade Legal Aid. The Venture Law Project, founded to help startups, has provided SuperFuzion with pro bono legal assistance, filing close to a dozen trademarks for Superfuzion to protect its name, branding and logo. “Superfuzion has also been diligently working with some of our best pro bono patent attorneys to protect all of the secret formulas you know and love,” said Juchawski.

Nancy Dahlberg

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