At age 23, Ellis Fried wanted a healthier snack option, so he created one. He’s not a nutritionist, nor is he a chef. But he knew that he wanted to eat something in between meals that was bite-sized and also not loaded with cane sugar or brown rice syrup like a lot of the protein bars on the market.
While a junior at the University of Michigan in 2016, Fried was studying economics and getting ready for his summer internship with J.P. Morgan. With a typical busy college schedule, Fried would eat protein bars between classes, gym workouts, hockey practice and various errands. But he noticed he was never finishing the bars. “I’d have 10 to 12 half-eaten bars around my room at all times,” he says. He wanted something resealable so that he wasn’t wasting food. His curiosity and hunger led him to the kitchen and ultimately to developing SMPL, a bite-sized snack that comes in a resealable package.
Now, with just three years of experience under his belt, and $100,000 raised from the Zell Founders Fund, SMPL is slightly rejiggering its recipe and prepping for a relaunch. Here, Fried reflects with ONE37pm on the work that he’s put in so far.