A Startup Planet is Born: Planet Murple

What are these two up to? Designing adventures for visitors to Planet Murple, of course!

What’s Planet Murple? The answer has evolved since Emily Yao (MBA ’16) and her co-founder David Resnick (MPH ’16) hatched their idea in 2015 and then developed it further through the Berkeley Haas Social Lean Launchpad class.

With pre-grad school backgrounds as an artist/business strategist (Yao) and teacher (Resnick), the pair were committed to solving a big problem involving children. Healthy eating kept emerging as a theme, with the original idea being one of making eating fun through play and focusing on schools as their primary customer.

Their post-Social Lean Launchpad idea was good enough to get them a Dean’s Seed Fund grant, acceptance into the GSV Pioneer Accelerator and exceed their Indiegogo campaign goal. During the accelerator this summer, they ramped up customer discovery, pivoting away from schools and more toward enriching activities for parents and children.

As they dug deeper, their interviews revealed that playing with food elicited feelings of “messiness” with parents. This turned out to be a key insight and changed their entire approach about connecting attitudes and behaviors in a desirable way.

Now, they’re focused on videos making Murple a food friend who models good food behaviors and teaches children to be curious about food. Through hands-on culinary adventures for kids and families, eating becomes irresistibly fun as they create and try new foods.

Yao, along with intern Misa Tanaka (UCB Public Health, ’18) have turned a Haas storeroom into a temporary claymation studio as they prepare to launch later this month.

They’re currently looking for Bay Area families with 4-8 year olds to try an early release of Planet Murple for two weeks in mid-late August (start 8/12 or 8/19).

Learn more about the pilot by emailing dave@planetmurple.com and check out Planet Murple to see some of the videos.