Ian Brady, CEO and Co-Founder of AVA, is speaking at the inaugural Boston Food Tank Summit, “Investing in Discovery,” which will be held in collaboration with Tufts University and Oxfam America on April 1, 2017.
AVA is a venture-backed artificial intelligence company focused on nutritional consumption data. Currently in private beta before being released to the public, the AVA programs are customized to various nutrition, wellness, and lifestyle goals, featuring meal tracking, recipe suggestions, and real-time coaching. By users submitting photos, AVA determines calories and macronutrients of each meal.
Before founding AVA, Ian was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with DCM Ventures and Co-Founder of Social Finance (SoFi), an alternative lending company that has originated more than US$12 billion in loans and raised more than US$1.9 billion in operating capital. Ian holds a master’s degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business where he was a Sloan Fellow.
Food Tank spoke with Ian about his background and using technology to help people lead healthier lives.
Food Tank (FT): What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?
Ian Brady (IB): Two family members developed significant dietary restrictions and were dismayed by the lack of innovation supporting these conditions and, in general, the notion of hyper-personalized nutrition.
FT: What makes you continue to want to be involved in this kind of work?
IB: While early, we’ve made substantial progress in developing unique artificial intelligence algorithms that support a number of nutritional related analysis and recommendations. Our motivation is to enable this technology to help a significant portion of the population lead healthier lives.
FT: Who inspired you as a kid?
IB: Thomas Edison, Run-DMC, my Mom.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
IB: Leveraging new forms of food production to provide more affordable, accessible, and healthy meals for low-income families.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero who inspired you?
IB: My mother-in-law is my food hero. She’s mastered old-world Italian recipes passed down from many generations and finds time to show her grandkids, my children, how making (and eating) these recipes can be so enjoyable.
FT: What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?
IB: Redirecting agricultural subsidies from commodity crops toward more fresh produce.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
IB: Add more turmeric to your meals.
FT: What advice can you give to President Trump and the U.S. Congress on food and agriculture?
IB: Less tweeting and more transparency on food regulation.
Click here to purchase tickets to Food Tank’s inaugural Boston Summit.