Our mission at Model Meals is to transform the current American food system by providing clean, locally-sourced, ready-made meals and clean eating advice. After changing her diet through the Whole30 Challenge in 2014, Model Meals’ co-founder Danika Brysha felt very strongly that nourishing food could change the world. She started cooking and delivering meals around NYC from her studio apartment, digging herself into debt and eventually moving into her parents’ garage in Southern California to get her feet back on the ground. In 2015, Danika teamed up with college friend, Camille May, to formally launch Model Meals in Santa Ana, CA, where they organically grew their business to what it is today.
Danika and Camille have both experienced how hard it can be to prioritize eating healthy against the backdrop of a food system that makes it inconvenient, and confusing. After experiencing the transformative effects food had on their lives, they knew that if they could make eating this way convenient and delicious, they could help to create a happier and healthier world.
Camille and Danika bootstrapped their business, growing annual revenues to over $3M before being acquired in July 2021 by Home Bistro, a publicly traded food company for whom Camille now serves as CFO.
Camille is the co-founder of Model Meals, a paleo food business launched in 2015 after she experienced the transformative effect clean eating had on her overall well-being. She and her co-founder bootstrapped the business, growing annual revenues to over $3M before being acquired in July 2021 by Home Bistro, a publicly traded food company for whom Camille now serves as CFO. She currently resides in her hometown of Austin, TX with her 80 pound pit bull, Romeo, and enjoys spending time with her family, drinking mezcal, traveling to Africa, and all things health & wellness.
Cory McKane 0:00
Well, sweet. So um, is your last name actually major? Your middle name?
Camille May 0:03
My last name is May.
Cory McKane 0:04
Okay, gotcha. Okay. My middle name is McKane and Cory McKane. So I didn't know if you did that too. What's your real last name? Faulkner. So okay. Yeah, I changed it. Like, I didn't change illegally, but I struggle my Cory McKane like three years ago. I feel like it flows better. I like it more. I don't know.
Camille May 0:19
I mean, it works. Yeah. What's your stage name? My middle name is Mary mother,
Cory McKane 0:24
Mary de okay. So
Camille May 0:26
yeah, so you could call me Camille Merriweather beautiful
Cory McKane 0:28
Mary mother Mae. Camille Merriweather May. Yep, that's it. You sound like a fighter. That sounds like a full fighter, navy. That's crazy. Very cool. Well, you start off doing something, you start off with an awesome idea. And that turned into this college friend that you met that you guys kind of created a company with. And then that turned into a very successful exit, which turned into you now being a CFO. So we're going to kind of like cover that whole journey. I started through a little bit of that, but I don't really care. Do you want to introduce yourself really quick, and then we'll kind of break down what model meals is.
Camille May 1:03
Yeah. So I'm Camille Mae. I am CFO of a company, a publicly traded company called home Bistro. I co founded a paleo meal delivery business called model meals in 2015. With my one of my best friends from college, she was also one of my sorority sisters. We grew that business, we bootstrapped the entire thing. for about seven years until home bistro approached us about an acquisition about a year ago. With the acquisition, they hired both of us on to their to their company, very cool.
Cory McKane 1:38
Was it more of like an aqua hire situation where you guys were like, we'll take the money. And we'll also work for you if we want because we want to or what?
Camille May 1:45
Yeah, it wasn't, I think it wasn't required in our contract that we joined the company. But we were both pretty excited about what they were doing. It was both it was still in the food industry. We were excited about it, because it was kind of a combination, we'd been trying. We've been trying to raise money for a while, but it was really hard during COVID. And so we wanted to raise money to grow the business to expand the business so that we could deliver nationwide. Yeah. But during COVID, all of those conversations just got shut down. So this felt like a little bit more of a,
Cory McKane 2:22
like a giant investment kind of it was yeah,
Camille May 2:25
it was it was a combo type thing to where we got acquired. But we also got to stay on with this company that had raised a lot of money from the public markets, so that we were able to stay on and actually grow the business to nationwide. So
Cory McKane 2:37
cool. I mean, you get a big paycheck yourself. You gotta keep doing what you're doing, but in a bigger capacity. I mean, that sounds like a dream situation. Yeah,
Camille May 2:45
it was a really good opportunity. And yeah, it's been great.
Cory McKane 2:49
That's so cool. And also, like, if you sold your company, you're gonna probably just be bored anyways. So like, best best to, like keep doing what you're already doing in a bigger way. So that you're not like sitting at home. Like, what's the next thing I'm gonna do? Yeah, probably probably wouldn't be that. So yeah, definitely. So pretty cool. Sorry. They're gonna keep me on my bed. So what is model meals? And I know you mentioned you guys weren't nationwide yet. So like, what is model meals how to get started and then we'll cover like, how, how big of a region you guys recovering to?
Camille May 3:19
Yeah, definitely. So my, my business partner, Danica Brescia, my co founder of the company, she started the company initially just making when she was living in New York, she was just she needed to make some money on the side. She was plus size modeling. And she started making paleo meals and delivering delivering to people. I was totally,
Cory McKane 3:46
totally good. You can edit that out. Of course, you're good. Yeah.
Camille May 3:49
So she started making paleo meals on the side, and just delivering them all to clients by herself very small scale, like on a bike or what was she? I think she would take the subway. Oh, she'd be like sitting there with like, she would take the subway to Trader Joe's and go back to her studio apartment with all of the bags of food, prepare all the food and then deliver it to people. And she was like, I need to scale this. Yeah, exactly. So she moved back home to California. Right around the time I was living in Austin and I was dating a guy who lived in California. And so I went up to visit him reconnected with Danica, she was talking about starting the business that more efficiently there. I was working in commercial real estate at the time and just very not passionate about what I was doing. I've been doing it for about five years and was just kind of ready to move on to something new. I was always very into health and wellness and food industry. And so talking to her I remember coming back to Austin and I was in weirdly enough like Whole Foods during lunchtime during work one day and I remember calling her and just being like hey, Do you need a business partner? Like just very casually? Yeah. And she's like, Yeah, actually I do. I don't know anything about operations and finance. I'm such a marketing and creative person. And you know, I have another woman who's a chef that wants to join the founding team to
Cory McKane 5:17
really quick Do you have what's your background? Like? Are you like really good at business? You have a finance background, like what makes you like the perfect person for that?
Camille May 5:24
So I went to I went to business school in college, and did finances my area of emphasis, always been a huge math nerd. I love spreadsheets. And
Cory McKane 5:34
not that far. But I do love spreadsheets. So
Camille May 5:36
yeah, I can't say I really learned a lot of the
Cory McKane 5:40
what you didn't know.
Camille May 5:41
I think that I learned kind of the basics. And then as we started the business and grew it, you kind of learned how to apply some of the concepts you learned to the business. But I wouldn't say I really learned anything in college that
Cory McKane 5:57
Oh, Sam. Yeah. Yeah. I do go most of my answers without this day. Oh, yeah. What blog article somewhere?
Camille May 6:03
I will say Google was probably one of the biggest one of my biggest references when we started the business. 100%. Googling? Yeah, what business licenses?
Cory McKane 6:15
Yeah. How to business? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Business. Google should be on that cap table at this point, basically, like their co founder. Yeah,
Camille May 6:23
I totally agree. Yeah. So anyways, I think probably six months later, I quit my job and moved or moved out to California and moved into her parent's garage with her. We lived in the studio apartment in a parent's
Cory McKane 6:39
garage when we first started startup, classic startup classic startup
Camille May 6:43
environment, like, borrowed her dad's car to deliver meals. I think our first week. I love
Cory McKane 6:50
that. So that to exit is such a cool, like, yeah, Hero origin story.
Camille May 6:55
Yeah. And we just, I think, you know, neither of us have cooking backgrounds. And that first weekend, we were in the kitchen, our chef business partner at the time, was like telling us what to do and how to make the food or go chop a million onions.
Cory McKane 7:13
So it's the three of you like making these because like to just to scale it faster kind of a thing or
Camille May 7:18
Yeah, I'm pretty sure we hired a prep cook like the next week. I think we took I think we took what we made on our first week of deliveries and hired someone immediately. So slowly grew the business from there, it was very much anytime we had enough money in the bank account to hire someone or take on some new technology for the business. We would just reinvest the profits that ways
Cory McKane 7:47
very smart. Okay.
Camille May 7:50
I moved out of the garage. I think after about two months,
Cory McKane 7:54
nice. The other
Camille May 7:55
guy moved into my own place.
Cory McKane 7:57
Was the boyfriend still involved at this point? Or? No, I
Camille May 8:01
think I broke up with a boyfriend pretty soon after being out there.
Cory McKane 8:05
When you left the garage like I'm too good for you. Everyone thought I
Camille May 8:08
was moving out there for him. Oh, god. Yeah. I was like, no, no, you don't understand. I'm moving out there for this business. And no one believed me and then, I mean, we were so just day to day just working all day every day, then. I mean, we didn't really have time for it.
Cory McKane 8:25
Camille May 8:28
And I'm trying to think of kind of the next.
Cory McKane 8:34
We can we can delete this too, if you need to think. Yeah, I know. Like, whenever I tell my story, I'm like, I don't know. 20 2019 We were like, I don't know.
Camille May 8:43
I mean, it's been eight years. But we have a lot of great I mean so my business partner, Danica is an she's an Instagram influencer.
Cory McKane 8:54
She was though or she is now like through this process. She at
Camille May 8:57
that point, so she was a pretty well known plus size model. Okay, gotcha. She also had a pretty decent Instagram following, just because she was very open about body positivity. Just kind of speaking about that. So is
Cory McKane 9:10
that like 25th to 2016 Okay, that's when I started my company too. We had a failed b2c Hopefully we'll have an exit like you guys, but yes, well, about eight years also. So we're on the same timeline. So like, I feel like 2015 2016 That's pretty early to be like an influencer on Instagram. So that's
Camille May 9:28
I feel like she was kind of one of the one of the originals with that she would that she our company. While I was saying with that we have so much footage of starting the company which Oh,
Cory McKane 9:43
cool. So I do too. I look at terabyte Yeah, yeah, cuz
Camille May 9:47
she was always in the kitchen filming and posting on her Instagram. So we have cool. We have I mean, she made a whole movie about I love the week and it's so fun to have all of that we almost her Um, her talent manager at the time, I guess, tried to get us on a school she tried to get us on it tried to do a reality show about our company. Very cool. So they filmed a pilot. And it was so funny to see that whole process and how it works and actually see them behind the scenes trying to cause drama, telling us to get a fight in a fight with our cook and all of that. So
Cory McKane 10:30
that's actually interesting. As I I've been recording this thing this whole time thinking that I would want to have a reality show. However, the problem is what you just mentioned, I'm like, No, I mean, things go wrong, but I don't fight with people. I'm not like causing shit. Like, it's like, it's not enough drama. Yeah, it's cool to watch. Like, it's but I'm like, what are you gonna record me like, an hour of a podcast and put that in there then? 10 hours of me emailing people. It's like, what's, what's the where's the T? You know? Like, yeah, okay, that's cool. That's cool. That's good to know that you guys went through that process. That's crazy.
Camille May 11:02
It was funny. But Food Network did not pick us up.
Cory McKane 11:05
Oh, is for Food Network? Yeah. That's actually cool. I think I would watch that. Yeah. Okay.
Camille May 11:12
But anyways, but we have that whole pile that they filmed from that, which is also some funny.
Cory McKane 11:17
Do you have that itch? I would love to put a scene into the podcast. Oh, get
Camille May 11:21
it? Well, yeah, I'll get it for you. Nice. I love that. And yeah, I'm trying to throughout the entire other journey, we ended up buying out one of our business partners, the cook or the chef, a couple of years in. And so when we got acquired, it was just my business partner and I that were the sole owners of the company.
Cory McKane 11:44
Did you did you acquire because it was kind of like, like, that's the most scalable part of the company is just like hiring more cooks? Or like, how does that or if you don't talk about too, if it's like a weird, I don't even know how that works. So yeah. What's the question? I guess, like, cuz like, you're the YouTuber, like the business like founders and like, she had the idea and everything like that. Whereas like a cook. It's like, once you have the recipes, like that's like, do you necessarily need to give equity away from that? So I'm curious. Was it was it more like internal issues was like, like, what was the Yeah,
Camille May 12:16
yeah. So she was, I mean, she was one of the founding part of the founding team, but we just kind of at one point didn't really align on our visions for the company. It was going up. And so it was it was a mutual. It's kind of a mutual agreement. Gotcha. Okay, to buy her out and go on our separate ways. Yeah, I
Cory McKane 12:37
know, those can be tough, man. Sometimes they're easy. Sometimes they're tough like, Well, can you I want to break down the actual process, though. So like, first of all, can you describe to everyone because I also personally forgot what is a paleo diet again.
Camille May 12:49
So paleo is no grains, no dairy. Obviously, no gluten, no refined sugar. Just so I know, McGill
Cory McKane 13:01
was a hole. That's no alcohol.
Camille May 13:02
I'm trying to think if I missed any others, I'm a bad paleo meal delivery business. I missed any others. But I think that's it. It's essentially, we actually built ours off of the whole 30 diet, which is a little bit stricter than paleo just because on paleo, you can have like paleo desserts and stuff like that, but it's the same general type of food you can and can't eat.
Cory McKane 13:29
Did you all personally follow that diet yourself? Are you were you to still follow it to this day?
Camille May 13:34
Pretty much. Yeah, gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Just because I tend to feel better when I eat like that. I mean, I have drinks every now and then. Yeah,
Cory McKane 13:41
I've seen you have drinks. Yeah.
Camille May 13:45
Well, actually mezcal, though, I guess, essentially, the most paleo
Cory McKane 13:49
good to know alcohol you can drink. Gotta have a good mask. I'll tell you why. It's a good mask. Way less hungover when you do that. Yeah. So while you guys are building this, you're following the Paleo diet? Did you choose paleo? Because it was like a trendy thing or because it's like, or I guess the better question is like, what are the health benefits of following a paleo diet?
Camille May 14:09
Yeah, so we definitely, I think both of us, Danica and myself both saw the kind of transformational effect it can have on just your mood and your well being and just how you generally feel as a woman. And so our idea with model meals was to obviously give that feeling to the masses by providing them with that food and other educational content just in terms of recipes and blogs and videos on how to make your own food at home. And so on. Yeah, so we both follow that and I think I will honestly say I think that's part of the reason we were successful with our business because we were just feel like we were just on a different level mentally Yeah, we were just like, I don't think I drank for. I don't even know how many years when we were starting the business, we ate all model meals, and I just feel like we were so sharp and just wow could work all day.
Cory McKane 15:15
That's impressive. Do that now,
Camille May 15:17
I would rather chill a little bit, but during that time,
Cory McKane 15:21
I'm sure you guys were just like, your bodies were just so well, like, what's a good word for nutrition like neutralized? I don't know what to say. You play? Yeah, operating at 100% Every single day. Whereas like most founders are like, eating chips, skipping the gym, like not eating healthy in general and drinking and then you guys were just like, sharp because we were
Camille May 15:42
in. I mean, it's cool. To be fair, we had you know. We're at the kitchen. 24/7 You had a chef chefs were just made this food. So that was all we ate. Yeah, we would really try to get all of our employees to eat all the food too. We gave them all like free meal packages. So cool. You're like, well, they're eating all this food. They're gonna be more productive. And
Cory McKane 16:05
that's smart. That's really that's a really good idea. What I keep dying lost my question again. I have two questions. Oh, yeah, there we go. Um, is it called model meals because she was a model or his other this is a good model of what you should be eating or like, what is the name for?
Camille May 16:21
Yeah, so it was kind of a play on both of those things. Gotcha. It was a obviously her being a plus size model. That's kind of where the general name for model meals came from. But a lot of people would ask us is it because it's only for models? And we would say no. Because it's you know, modeling and how to live and eat cleaner. Okay, yeah, yeah, more than just providing meals we wanted to provide educational content and all of that just to help other people live and eat cleaner
Cory McKane 16:56
So where were you guys like heavily focused on like SEO? You mentioned blogging so you guys were like big on your SEO and analytics or were you more focused on like, just packages and making it better like product itself?
Camille May 17:06
Yeah, I mean, I think we definitely used our blog for SEO purposes okay, I'm not a marketing person. Oh, you're marketing for SEO purposes hit all the keywords in there but it was obviously also to provide content for gotcha Okay,
Cory McKane 17:28
gotcha. Yeah. Um, and then when you guys start so obviously you said you're in Callaway what city were you at actually?
Camille May 17:33
So we were based our kitchen was in Santa Ana. I was living in like Newport Beach Costa Mesa area love that area. Yeah. And then we started out just delivering to Orange County.
Cory McKane 17:46
Okay. How are you getting to your members? Is it word of mouth? Are you guys like putting you guys working with gyms with like flyers? Like what do you guys do and to go from like, she moves to California, she's growing her business and then you move out there and all of a sudden you're like in all of Santa Ana, whatever you're doing,
Camille May 18:01
we tried like every we literally tried to every we didn't like you know, direct mailings we did. It was a lot of word of mouth. I will say it was definitely a service where people would tell their friends about it. Yeah. We did really well with like new mom groups.
Cory McKane 18:21
Okay. Facebook or like we just hit up
Camille May 18:25
all the new mom group Yeah, and then different gyms and. And then obviously, Danica having such a big Instagram following was really helpful to you, I think, I don't think nowadays you're really gonna get as much free advertising. But I think that was really helpful for us in the beginning. And then digital advertising always performed really well for us. Very
Cory McKane 18:52
cool. And then are you guys? How are these deliveries being done? Because obviously, day one is subway delivery through her and then other stages, like a stage two, like you have, like five drivers in Santa Ana, whatever, delivering them, and then it's a truck or like what like, how did that progress as you guys scaled? Yeah, I
Camille May 19:13
would say Stage One was the Segway. Stage two was me and Danica. And I think her brother delivering them throughout Orange County love it. Stage three, we just hired like a third party logistics company cool. Or no, I'm sorry. We hired our own drivers and managers who said I figured that'd be part. Yeah. So we use some sort of software that allowed us to hire our own drivers. And then they would use the software that would you know, text clients once their meals were delivered, and we could track all of them and all of that. And with that, we realized that we were essentially trying to run the business. Exactly. Yeah, it was taking away from us running our central business. So we hired a company from there we went through a couple of different ones. And just kind of as we realized we want to grow, you know, we want to deliver up to the Bay Area. Yeah. And through that, we would either find a delivery company that could get us up there, or just find a totally new one that covered the entire gotcha span that we wanted to use that we wanted to hit. And then from our kitchen there, we basically served three states, okay. And in order to go nationwide, you needed we needed a special packaging machine that was going to be a pretty big investment, and also the ability to ship with FedEx. And so once we got acquired the company that acquired us had that special packaging equipment was an account with FedEx that so cool nationwide, so
Cory McKane 20:52
and then, are you guys like, cuz I know, I've gotten like, or I've seen a girl who got HelloFresh one time, so they had like, ice in the delivery. And it was like in like a cooler? I don't even know seems like a lot of wasted resources. But like, do you guys have ice in yours? Like, how does that they? Are they frozen meals? I don't understand how that works. Yeah,
Camille May 21:11
so they're all refrigerated. And then they come with like a plastic film over the top, okay, where there's no air in there. Because if you try to ship meals with air, and then nationwide, they just it gets it's possible, but it gets the food gets really shaken up. So we prefer to send it out this way with the big ice packs. And it is a lot of packaging. Yeah, one needs to come in to the pack industry and figure this out. But it is a lot of packaging, but you can order you know, two weeks of meals at a time. So cool. Yeah,
Cory McKane 21:45
in like when you guys first started when you were in the car, were you just like, do you have like in a cooler? Or like what
Camille May 21:51
did those cooler bags that try to think like, just uh, you know, there's just kind of general cooler bag, a big bag, gotcha. Have their logos on, actually sell them at the grocery store. And I think we just put the food in there with ice packs, it was probably not properly refrigerated throughout the time. As we got there, we had to do a lot of testing in terms of because obviously, with the time that the delivery company picks up the meals versus when they're delivered, we had to make sure that they're at a proper temperature, because there's so much just have to be careful. Yeah, all that kind of stuff.
Cory McKane 22:31
I can't, I mean, I've interviewed a few founders that are like in the, you know, the CPG space. But like, when you're in CPG, you have that physical product you have like your your internal employees, you have like you have to have some sort of technology to whether it's your website or like some sort of app. So like, was that? Was it difficult trying to scale when you feel like you have so many different elements of your business, you have to like focus on
Camille May 22:51
like, yeah, it was hard for sure. And to do it without any funding. Yeah, that's fine. But I think it made us be very thoughtful with every decision we made. Because we were like, We can't lose any money on this. Gotcha, analyzed the shit out of every decision we made. I think throughout that we learned a lot about starting business and what works and what doesn't work. And
Cory McKane 23:21
did you guys have any, like formal advisors? Or was it you guys just like whiteboarding out ideas and be like this, this probably is gonna work best. I don't know.
Camille May 23:28
It was us like whiteboarding and spreadsheets and a lot of ideas. And just kind of, I don't know, I think it was really helpful that my co founder our brains worked very differently in terms of maybe more finance numbers, and she just be more visionary and marketing tool. And I think it allowed us I mean, we disagreed on a lot of stuff. But both of us were really good about expressing why we had our certain opinions. And we would usually meet in the middle. And yeah, I think that's why we worked out so well.
Cory McKane 24:04
And then when you mentioned funding, like I know, you guys were bootstrapped prior to the exit. So Was that intentional? Was it just hard to raise funding? Did you not want to like what, like what led to you guys never raising capital?
Camille May 24:16
So I don't think we really tried to raise capital until kind of later, you know, I want to say probably about a year or two before we got acquired. Yeah, and I don't think we really ever went at it as hard as we should or tried as hard as it should
Cory McKane 24:39
be as far as like DMing angels and that kind of stuff, or what do you Yeah,
Camille May 24:43
we were I mean, the business was doing well. I you know, we were doing about 3 million in revenue. We were proud. Oh, cool. So it wasn't like we really were desperate for funding. And I think at that time, you know, I think We both my business partner and I had both gone off to kind of look at different ventures to start, like different businesses to start on the side, because
Cory McKane 25:07
you're just like it was was it kind of automated at that point? Yeah, gotcha. Okay. And then,
Camille May 25:12
sorry, my eyes watering.
Cory McKane 25:13
Let me turn off a fan. Fan doing it, or just like in general,
Camille May 25:18
I don't know, maybe just allergies or something. But emotional, I would say, um, I don't think we like when a lot of other company founders that I talked to, talked about their fundraising process and just how like,
Cory McKane 25:36
Oh, they're like, full time, full time.
Camille May 25:37
I just don't think we really ever devoted full time to it. And then other company approached us. We were like, Okay, let's meet with them. And honestly, at that point, we had tried to get investment throughout COVID. And I think we had gotten shut down or shut down a lot. And I think we both just had a good feeling about it. And we were like, this is kind of cool. It allows us to get invade investment, stay on and grow the business, which is kind of exactly what we wanted to do.
Cory McKane 26:06
Yeah. So do you do you guys that if this is confidential, I have to say, but do you guys have equity in the company that acquired you then?
Camille May 26:14
Okay, we got stuck in the acquisition.
Cory McKane 26:18
So cool. And then this company that acquired you what, what did they do? Are they just like the same thing you were doing? But just for like, more brands? Or like, what is their? Are they
Camille May 26:25
Yeah, so they have there's the publicly traded entity which is like the parent company of all the entities and then underneath them, they have a they have two other companies. One is like a It's kind of like a butcher box type situation. Where you can order meat, your house, rob me, Roger Raja Sabha cow. And then there are other business is its meal delivery. But their whole angle is that we partner with celebrity chefs. So we've partnered with cat Cora, Ayesha Curry, Richard Blaze just to name a few. And they create lives of meals for the company that we then deliver gotcha now model, and then they acquired model meals. So that's another one of their entities, but you operating underneath them.
Cory McKane 27:20
So guys, but you work for the parent company, and you have equity, the parent company. Ah, very cool. Okay. Does that mean because I'm always confused on how these all work? So does that mean you have you only have equity in the parent company? And you have what just encompasses model meals? You don't have actual equity in model meals anymore? Right? Yeah, they do. Like curiously but like not,
Camille May 27:39
yeah, they own model meals. 100% now, and then I own shares of stock. Gotcha. Parent Company.
Cory McKane 27:47
Very cool. Okay. And what what would you say is like the percentage of, like, cash you got versus like, equity, because I'm always curious. I feel like these are all different. And it's so hard for founders that are like listening to, to know like, if they get offered to get acquired, like, What the what, what happens at the other side? It's like, yeah,
Camille May 28:06
I guess it would have been I think only 3%. Probably, I guess 3% would have been cash. Okay. And then doing the math in my head. Yeah. And then the rest equity.
Cory McKane 28:22
Okay, gotcha. Okay. So interesting. Yeah, I mean, I've heard I've heard every assortment of different combinations of that. So then the suit, basically you get cash equity, and then you have like a salary that you negotiate on as well, too. Gotcha. Do you? What is that onboarding process like? Are you immediately just kind of like, Alright, now I'm working for the parent company like or like, do you have to continue to run model meals, or into this day? Are you still doing some stuff with ball mills, too?
Camille May 28:48
Yeah, so I would say my role didn't really change at all in terms of my day to day with model meals. I basically just added on more because now I'm CFO for the parent company, along with being CFO, still CFO for model meals. Still CFO for homebuilder, and then CFO for home Bistro, the subsidiary so I'm essentially just overseeing all the everything financial for all three of the entities and it all, they all play together because all of the financials for the company's annual audit are consolidated and everything's just kind of all as one so cool.
Cory McKane 29:37
I guess you're kind of like doing like that. Not necessarily copy paste, but it's very similar tasks for per company, as a CFO, because it's like their numbers. So
Camille May 29:45
yeah, and then when Yeah, and then when we got acquired, you know, it was a whole project just to kind of overhaul all the company's accounting system so that we could Look at all three entities on a consolidated basis. And I don't know, is it super boring?
Cory McKane 30:04
No, I'm curious. I mean, because I mean, that's, that's the thing, too, is like, or actually, one question would be, would they acquired you? Like, would you guys want to say any numbers? But like, when they're when they're negotiating? What they're gonna buy you out for? Like, are they looking at your arr? Are they looking at like, your subscription numbers? Like, what are they looking at to like, figure out what price they're gonna buy you for?
Camille May 30:25
I would say I, you know, I think with any company, there's kind of an industry multiple revenue, you can look at to assume what you're gonna get acquired for. And I think most CPG trades around three to five. But I think the meal delivery industry just given its super small margins, is probably going to be a little typically going to be a little bit less than if you put all of ours. Oh, yeah. We traded at a one at one time. And one time, revenue multiple,
Cory McKane 31:04
okay, and then are you negotiating on that at all? Or is like, what they're like, we're gonna give you you know, half of your annual and you're like, oh, that's bullshit. Let's get let's make it one and a half you meet in the middle? Or is it kind of like, they just like didn't one of those and you just signed it? Like,
Camille May 31:18
we negotiate? Yeah, we negotiate it a little bit.
Cory McKane 31:21
Gotcha. Do you have like, cars or something at that point? Like, did you have a lot of wiggle room? Because like you said, you're making 3 million a year. So it's like, you're it's not like you have to have money? Or were you guys more just like excited for the opportunity and ready to like, go on to the next venture kind of a thing?
Camille May 31:35
Yeah. And we talked about that. We were like, We don't want this to be a decision made out of desperation. Yeah. And because obviously, I just remember, it was a big decision. It felt like a conversation you would have with like, your husband or wife. You're like, okay, are we gonna do this? I remember Danica and I sat down together. And we were kind of talking about if we were going to do it or not. And we're like, yeah, we're both super excited about Oh, cool. Yeah. You know, you know, we were like, it's maybe not as big of an exit financially as we would have hoped. But we're excited about the opportunity to grow this business that we started and stay on. So
Cory McKane 32:18
well. Yeah. Because I mean, I can't imagine what it'd be like if she was like, No, we're not going to do this. And then you want it to like that could definitely yeah, as part. Yeah. So it's been what you just said, what was like the initial, because obviously, you can do way bigger things with these three companies underneath you now. But like, what was what was the initial dream when you guys first were building this? You're like, I want everyone in the world to have these paleo delivered? Or what did you just want to like, conquer California? Like, what was the original goal for you?
Camille May 32:44
Yeah, I mean, we definitely wanted to be nationwide. That was our that was our goal. And we definitely wanted to deliver nationwide. You know, we would love to be in retail location. So you can go to Whole Foods and just pick up our meals. And that was kind of our goal with it. I mean, we were we would have loved to be international at some point. Yeah. But I think those were just kind of dreams that I don't know, that we had. So yeah, but I think over I think, you know, we wanted to be nationwide. That was kind of our next step that we wanted for the business. Cool.
Cory McKane 33:21
And then these guys would definitely do that for you. So I mean, are you kind of when you're like, I mean, I guess as a CEO, CFO, you're more focused on the numbers, but like, you kind of like alright, we're focusing on these three companies, but like, that's my baby or like, what's your like? Because you you have three underneath you? So do you kind of still have to, like, you know, focus on model meals a little bit more or like, do you have to trim focus up on the whole company itself?
Camille May 33:44
No, I don't give any company's preference.
Cory McKane 33:47
Okay, gotcha. I mean, I'm not saying you're fudging the numbers but I mean, like time that you're putting like, I don't know because I guess no never Yeah, got you Okay, as well in because this Danica right, your business partner? So is she doing like the entire CMO or whatever role she's doing? I'm assuming it's in marketing or something like that? Yes, she is CMO? She said, What perfect. Is she doing like all three companies marketing campaigns, or like she's kind of overseeing what their marketing managers are doing? Or what is her role like now?
Camille May 34:17
Yeah, so I'd say both of ours it's kind of similar like I have accounting managers underneath me at each entity that I oversee. For her she oversees marketing for all the entities and then has marketing managers underneath so
Cory McKane 34:32
look at you guys. That's so cool. Yeah, I love that way so so where do you see like moto Mills going now? Because I mean, you like, again, you're not fudging any numbers or you're not like I'm being biased towards one company but like, obviously, that's your baby so that'd be cool if that one just kept getting bigger and bigger. So are there people there that like you trust that are gonna like keep scaling and scaling it or is it more like you're nationwide you guys are hanging out having a good time like what's what's the like the vibe of the company moving for word I guess.
Camille May 35:01
I think it's just I don't know. I mean, I think it's just growing our client base nationwide, it's like we can deliver it and deliver nationwide, which was only recent. I think we just started doing that. I guess it's been like a year, but I think it's just growing or growing marketing to reach more clients.
Cory McKane 35:21
Cool. So you didn't want to anyone watching this can order model Mills right now? Yeah, you can get
Camille May 35:25
it in Austin. Now, it was very cool. Because I feel like the whole time that we were starting up the business, my family's all in Austin, they were like, well, when can we get model meals? meals? And finally, you know,
Cory McKane 35:37
eight years, seven years later.
Camille May 35:40
So it's, it was kind of surreal to have a model because I've been living in Austin for about four years and I could never eat.
Cory McKane 35:46
That's frustrating. Yeah. And so it was
Camille May 35:49
kind of surreal to look at my refrigerator and have school there. I
Cory McKane 35:53
love that. Wait, so did you like order one just for like, the the like, I mean, obviously, you're gonna still eat it too. But like, Did you order one as soon as that happened, like right away to just like, be able to do it, or Well, yeah,
Camille May 36:04
the first week that we started delivering here, I ordered I ordered I order every week. So
Cory McKane 36:09
cool. Do you get a discount? Yeah, yeah, it's part of my part of my comp package. Oh, seriously? Yeah. Is it like, is it like free? Or like, what's the what do they like? For free? What? Yeah, that's a good. I mean, that's like a 2x salary right there. I know. Just get free meals for life. Why is it for life? Or how does that work? Yeah, for
Camille May 36:28
my employment and employment contract. I'm employed with the company.
Cory McKane 36:32
I would never quit that job. Yeah, it's gonna keep the bottle wheels forever. Yeah. Okay, so you started off as you get, you know, you go to business school. You're like, let's do this startup, like we all do. We're like, Yeah, we're gonna do this, we're gonna make billions of dollars. And then obviously, you take years to, like, scaled. So you're, you've learned throughout it, but now you're like, the CFO of a publicly traded company. So like, what? What, like, what are some, like, I guess key things that I know how to ask this, but like, how is your role changed from when you first started to like now? I guess? I mean, everywhere. Yeah.
Camille May 37:05
I mean, I feel like when I first started, it was just such a it was so hands on. ingrained in the day to day, just a lot of sweat equity. You're literally making the bills. Yeah, really making the meals. And now, and it was just, you know, so startup mode, so disorganized and so unprofessional. I feel like I'm the CFO of a publicly traded company. There are so many rules and regulations. And it's yes, so very different. That's so crazy. But I think when we first started, I just never would have thought, I guess how long it takes to get connected. I think when you first start a company, you just think that
Cory McKane 37:47
you see all the tweets, and you're like, Okay, we'll do I think it's gonna happen so soon. But
Camille May 37:51
realistically, for any company. You know, the average time to exit is like five to seven years or does fail.
Cory McKane 37:59
Typical. Fail? Fail? Yeah. Yeah, you guys. So you guys were like, what? led the less than 1%? Probably, if I had to guess that have an exit? Has to be way more than that. Do you do? I mean, we can delete this if you don't want to get dN by everybody. But do you do angel investing now in the CPG? Space? Do you do it in general? Like where do you see your role? Like as a exited founder now? I guess?
Camille May 38:21
Yeah, definitely. So I do angel investing. Mostly CPG. Just because those are the businesses that I understand the most. Yeah, for sure. Um, but yeah, I think I love it. Obviously, it's, you know, a way to get involved. Get involved with other businesses, that doesn't really take my time.
Cory McKane 38:41
Yeah. And I always thought it'd be cool to like, be an angel and have like, my own little portfolio. You just kind of like you play like, where do you where do you track that stuff? Do you have like this huge Angel locker or what?
Camille May 38:50
I have my own little nerdy spreadsheet? To keep updated?
Cory McKane 38:54
Very, very cool. Yeah. That's how many investments have you made so far?
Camille May 38:58
I think I've probably done about 10. So cool.
Cory McKane 39:02
I see. Yeah, I'm picturing my own spreadsheet right now, eventually, that I want to have. That is, so that's definitely my next step. Like, hopefully, post exit, you know, is being able to like, give back into the community. I don't know anything about CPG. So I won't be in that space. But that's, that's cool that you
Camille May 39:18
are okay. Because software companies usually have bigger exits. So there you go. Probably the ones to get into.
Cory McKane 39:25
So what was your who's the first person you wrote Angel? Or how long after you exited? Did you put your first angel check in?
Camille May 39:32
It was before we exited, actually. Well, I
Cory McKane 39:34
mean, you're making a lot of money at that point. So yeah, you're Yeah,
Camille May 39:37
yeah, we were pretty profitable. We had a couple of years with pretty high profitability. And so, so cool. I think just being in the founder, entrepreneurial world, you're always getting connected with other founders and so
Cory McKane 39:52
especially here in Austin, yeah. Especially here in Austin. Definitely. How so? What made you come back like just to be a part of the community that you can I'm back during COVID, or when was a time while
Camille May 40:02
I came back about that was April of 2018. And my whole family lives here. I grew up in Austin. And so it was just getting to the point where I
Cory McKane 40:14
was four years ago. I don't know why I thought Yeah, I
Camille May 40:17
was. I felt like it was kind of close to COVID. But it was just getting to the point where I was coming home for family events all the time and flying home and just kind of missing being around my sister had kids. And yeah, I just wanted to be back here as well. A lot of FOMO Yeah, I'm sure family stuff. And so I moved back. I love Austin, I'm so happy to be back. It's such a
Cory McKane 40:38
cool place to run a run a company, or me to, you know, just be in the in the tech scene for sure. Do you would you see yourself ever running a company again, like starting a starting a new venture like that? Or
Camille May 40:49
I have a couple ideas? I don't think it would ever. I don't know if it would ever be something huge. I think I would want it to be if it's something I'm starting, I kind of want it to be a very like simple thing like stress. Yeah, something that I like either some sort of product I can develop and then sell on Amazon. Super easy. Make them all, you know, handle all the logistics? Yeah. Very cool. So something easy like that. I don't think I would ever start a very operational business again.
Cory McKane 41:21
Yeah. I mean, it's I mean, we both know it's a lot. Yeah.
Camille May 41:24
Well, that's definitely I think I've done my done my time.
Cory McKane 41:28
Oh, one question I forgot to ask was when you guys, we're scaling? Did you guys have like a lot of competitors? And that kind of stuff like in the Paleo Meal creation space? Or was it kind of just you guys out there?
Camille May 41:41
We had a couple competitors. But I will say I think the rate of failure amongst meal delivery very high, because you think about all the costs that go into it. In terms of packaging, delivery, packaging and delivery are super high. Yeah. You know, refrigeration. Yeah, they dig into the profit margin. So that's why you hear about so many of those companies just raising tons of money and blowing all through it. And so I think the rate of failure is very high. So we had some competitors, but I think a lot of them failed. And then there was there's a lot of kind of like mergers and acquisitions happening within the industry. So
Cory McKane 42:27
if you guys because would you guys have utilized cloud kitchens, if they had been like a big thing when you guys were building, do you think?
Camille May 42:35
Yeah, I think so. For sure. Okay, gotcha. And we even looked at them kind of as an opportunity, you know, if we were to expand, utilizing them, but and we did, actually, that's kind of where we started out, was in a cloud kitchen kind of situation in Santa Ana. But then we ended up signing a long term lease and kind of cooling over the space on our own,
Cory McKane 42:58
but so cool. Well, I mean, I could ask questions for a long time. But yeah, I mean, honestly, at the end of the day, like, I think what you guys have done is so cool. And I love that you guys exited. And I think it's so badass that you now are like a CFO of like a public company through that process. Like, I feel like typically people get, you know, Aqua hired and then all of a sudden, they're just like an employee. And then they're just like out. So it's cool that you're like lead. Oh, actually, how big is the fat? Or the? Sorry? What is the company that acquired you?
Camille May 43:25
Home? Bistro home? Bistro?
Cory McKane 43:26
Who was home something? Well, how big is that company? That your CFO?
Camille May 43:31
I would say across all the entities? It's you know, they're probably about 40 employees.
Cory McKane 43:35
Very cool. Okay. What do you guys have? Like? Like, what plans do you guys have for the future? Like, are you guys gonna keep acquiring companies? Are you guys gonna like execute bigger company? Like, what are you guys thinking?
Camille May 43:45
Yeah. So just in terms of the celebrity chefs, we have a couple new exciting ones that we've brought on that are going to be creating lines of meals. And then yeah, the company just has would love to make some more acquisitions in the meal delivery space.
Cory McKane 44:03
Very cool. And are you are you personally, I don't know if the CFO does this. But are you personally working with these celebrities at all? Like, are you like, on the phone with them? Like, hey, don't forget to file your taxes?
Camille May 44:13
Oh, not in terms of that. But I've definitely I've been down to art facilities in Miami. And so I've gone down for shoots we've done with,
Cory McKane 44:22
so cool. What a fun experience. I love. I love when celebrities are getting more and more involved in the startup world now. Yeah, I think it has its pros and cons. But I mean, the pros are good. So yeah,
Camille May 44:31
yeah. And I think it's cool because a lot of these it's kind of just providing a platform for them to have their own meal delivery business.
Cory McKane 44:37
Exactly. That's really cool. It's like kind of white labeled meal delivery. Yeah, that's cool. Like,
Camille May 44:42
you can go on and say I want meals from Ayesha Curry and I want from cat Cora, it can be delivered to your house. Yeah.
Cory McKane 44:51
Hey, why don't you have your own meal on there?
Camille May 44:53
I don't know. We'll,
Cory McKane 44:55
we'll get there. We'll get maybe after this podcast goes blow up so much like you Yeah, totally celebrity status. Yeah cool. Do you have anything you want to leave anyone with people can follow you on somewhere they can you know, they can pitch you maybe not that but like, what what do you want to close the podcast with? Um, I mean my instagram i don't know I'm barely even. Yeah, we can totally just delete that we don't have to have anything. Yeah, just check out mana meals guys.
Camille May 45:26
Yeah check out model meals, order some meals order some home bistro meals they're all great we have a great kitchen team. The food's really good.
Cory McKane 45:35
There we go, the more you buy the more CFO of work she has so like you know yes, definitely the more numbers that you have to cry There we go. There we go. What was a pleasure to have you?
Camille May 45:43
Yeah, thanks Cory.
Cory McKane 45:44
I am loved it. Sweet
Transcribed by https://otter.ai