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We Go Behind the Female-Led Supplement Brand Loved by Celebrities 

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Main image – Seed

Ara Katz, co-founder of Seed, didn’t wake up one day thinking, “I want to change the world.” But what she did say was, “I want to create a brand that reflects the way I wish the world was.”

And so, Seed was born. A probiotics company focused on microbiome and who believes ‘the science of probiotics demands a new standard.’ Think top notch science researched by top notch scientists, celebrity followers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz and thousands of positive online reviews.

@marissacristinagrootes

Have you tried it? What are your thoughts? #fyp #foryou #probiotics #seed #seedprobiotic #guthealth #healthyliving #synbiotic #healthygut

? original sound – Marissa Cristina

 

Here, we speak to the woman Marie Claire named as one of “The 50 Most Influential Women in America” as well as one of Business Insider’s “Silicon Alley Top 100” (no biggie then).  Katz tells us how she went from co-creating Apple Pay to building her dream supplement brand, the heart-tugging reasons it all started in the first place and the geniuses behind the scenes who are helping to build it.

 


Before the science

No one is more surprised than Katz about where her career ended up. “It’s been a very circuitous path here,” she explains. 

“I spent most of my career kind of at the intersection of media, design and tech. I built two previous tech companies and we have always been really attracted to know where those areas converge. And certainly, how they can change behaviour and change mindsets.” 

Technology was always Katz’s passion. “I’ve always had the role of having to translate very new technologies and new ideas for consumers and I helped launch Apple Pay with my mobile commerce company.”

 

Image – @arakatz/Instagram

 

I’m intrigued to know what that was like. “It was super fun,” she says. “I got to be up on the screen at the Apple conference. I was able to be a part of some of those interesting moments in technology and ultimately just helping shape human behaviour forever.”

But her list of job titles didn’t stop there. “Prior to that I was a film producer,” she explains. “I made a lot of media when the internet was kind of dirty, like when web content first started, and I’ve always thought that everything for me is storytelling. So, I think that’s guided my workflows.”

 


Lifelong fascinations

So where does her career in science fit in? “My mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was in high school and that is when I started reading scientific papers and researching clinical trials,” she explains. 

Initially, she saw science as a hobby. “It kicked off a lifelong fascination with how frontier science makes its way to humans,” she says. 

“It’s definitely something that I was always at the forefront of trying to understand – a lot of these new areas of health and wellness and particularly how they get communicated to people. But you know, I never really wanted to pursue it for my career because I was very satisfied with it being a side hustle of learning science.”

But Katz eventually turned this hobby into a full blown – not to mention hugely successful – company, saying that Seed was like bringing together everything that fascinated her. “It was just the beautiful confluence of all the things I really am so passionate about.”

A quick glance at Katz’s social media suggests that this fascination is still fully in force.  Witness her chatting with Seed investor Cameron Diaz about all things microbiome in a video the pair made together.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Cameron Diaz (@camerondiaz)

 

 


Creating Seed

Katz is the epitome of turning a negative into a positive when it comes to the creation of Seed. “I’d had a miscarriage. It was very sad but it also actually became a very pivotal existential moment for me because this life inside me wasn’t viable. And what about my current life, does not feel viable?”

After this epiphany, she resigned her mobile commerce company. “I needed to really think about what I was actually creating in the world,” she says. She got pregnant again shortly afterwards and it was after having trouble breastfeeding, she thought about the concept of a science-heavy probiotics brand.

 

Image – Seed

 

“My co-founder, Raja, and I were starting to think about where we wanted to focus first,” she explains. “After a lot of research, we thought we might start with adult microbiome because we felt that it was certainly where we could make the greatest impact. But my breastfeeding experience plus my existential crisis is what brought this about.”

The name Seed is all making sense now. “I think one of the interesting things about microbiome is you start to understand these early windows of development really deeply, particularly for infants that are so critical to the health trajectory of a child’s whole life. 

This is where our name came from, as seeding is the biological term for an infant’s first exposure to microbes.” 

 


Building a team

With an impressive celebrity following that includes the likes of Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow, Katz must feel something’s going right. “I think that everything that we set out to do has been an exercise in sticking to a rigour of science, and a level of integrity and standard that I think earns us credibility in so many different areas,” she explains.

But she says the most important people here are the scientists, doctors and clinicians. “We work with the most notable living scientists working in the entire field. We’re also really proud of our doctors and clinicians. We actually just welcomed our chief medical officer, Dr. Kasam, who is one of the most notable names in microbiome. He was the founder of OpenBiome and he’s conducted over 30 microbiome clinical trials.”

 


What’s next?

“Firstly, two new really extraordinary pieces of data are going to be published in May, that I think actually illuminate the robustness of how our main product, DS-01, impacts human health. And we’re very, very excited about that,” she says.

“And then we’re going to be launching two new products this year, although I can’t go into the details of those yet.” I’m intrigued. 

“We’re really focused on our next areas of innovation, which will come out of our vaginal microbiome and gut brain programmes, and we are greatly accelerating our skin’s microbiome programmes.”

Look out supplement world, things are about to get even more innovative.

 


The takeaway

Whether you’re a science nerd or not, Katz’s passion to improve the world’s health and wellness is pretty inspiring. It feels like she couldn’t rest until she had made a difference and that even creating something as huge as Apple Pay just wasn’t enough. 

This is a testament to her passion for helping others and creating a brand that she wholeheartedly believes in. She says, “I think when you do those things, you signal, you start to create a language and ways of working and storytelling to nudge the world forward.” Consider the world officially nudged.

 

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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University
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