Melissa SnoverMelissa Snover has been an entrepreneur since the age of 23 and has built a reputation for being one of the leading visionaries in the world of food technology and 3D printing.

She is currently the founder and CEO of Rem3dy Group, which pioneers 3D-printed personalised health solutions across nutrition and medicine under the brands Nourished and Scripted.

Melissa started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 23 when she started a financial business. However, she realised she wasn’t truly passionate about it and so in 2010 she founded the company FTF Sweets Ltd, UK, creating the world’s first vegan, natural and allergen-free fruit sweet with the brand name Goody Good Stuff. After selling Goody Good Stuff early in 2015, Melissa partnered with the successful German Katjes family corporation to launch Katjes Magic Candy Factory, a confectionary company which allows the consumer to 3D print delicious vegan gummy candy of anything from selfies and logos to 3D messages and shapes in just 5 minutes. Now Melissa is pushing forward as the CEO of the Rem3dy Group and its two brands Nourished and Scripted.  Nourished produces the world’s only seven stack personalised vitamin gummy, while Scripted is set to be the first 3D printing personalised medicine dispensary, breaking into the pharmaceutical industry with accurate, personalised doses.

Melissa will be sharing the details of her business journey, her tips and invaluable insight into both the food technology and 3D-printing industry with the attendees of London’s Festival of Enterprise, the UK’s largest fast-growth business event.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Rem3dy Group is my third start-up, after Katjes Magic Candy factory and Goody Good Stuff. In 2015 I was at the helm of my first confectionary start up, Goody Good Stuff, where we created vegan candies. This was long before the vegan lifestyle was a popular consumer choice, so we were market leaders in the field and grew to be stocked in 27 countries worldwide. It became clear that customers wanted a product that was more personalised, and during the sale of Goody Good Stuff I met the Katjes team, and together we considered how 3-D printing technology could be harnessed in the confectionary industry. After research, trials and testing we patented the 3-D printer that could create personalised confectionary on the spot, and Magic Candy Factory was born. After just two years we had over 100 printers placed in 35 locations across the world – the customer could visit one of our sites and have their very own personalised candies made in front of their eyes, something that was unrivalled in the food technology sector. We pioneered the personalisation industry, and my current Rem3dy Group projects Nourished and Scripted are what I believe to be a truly necessary extension of the technology’s capabilities

What sparked you to take your technology into the health sector?

The things that upset and frustrate me the most tend to spark my most passionate ideas. Nourished was born out of the need to create a solution to what I believe is a huge problem, in 2020 our clothes can be more personalised than our own medicine and nutrition, which I think is ridiculous! I knew the technology was capable after the success of Magic Candy Factory, which was a delightful and educational experience for the consumer, and I wanted to use it for something truly meaningful. I believe that products catered specifically for the consumers’ needs is something that is sorely needed in the health industry and using 3-D printing to create personalised vitamins, supplements and medication is necessary, and adds so much value to the sector. At Nourished, our service allows the consumer to build their own 7 stack vegan gummy vitamin tablet completely catered to their own health needs, delivered monthly to their home. At Scripted it is our aim to 3-D print personalised medicines for hospitals. This project is something I am completely passionate about, it will allow more accurate doses, more effective recovery for patients and has the potential to completely change the prescription service

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I spent the early stages of my career and my businesses on the verge of a breakdown, unable to enjoy or celebrate my accomplishments because I was worrying about the future and what was next. Now I have experience and have built such a strong team I can enjoy my work so much more. I know that when my team and I are faced with a challenge, it’s not a question of if we will overcome it, but a question of when we will overcome it.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

We have just secured £2 million in Seed funding the second largest amount of Seed Funding in UK history that has ever acquired by a sole female tech entrepreneur. This is a huge win for us, because traditionally there has been a significant gender gap in funding in the technology sector, and it’s important to me that we are starting to start to buck that trend.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I don’t like to idolise people that I don’t know or haven’t met, but my biggest inspirations have always been my parents. My father was a MIT graduate, and I grew up knowing that as well as being a kind sweet parent at home, he was building innovative communications technology for the US Government at work. My mother is a force of nature, she worked from home, ran her own businesses all while raising her children. Both my parents installed such a strong belief in hard work, and I always look to them for guidance.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

It’s nearly impossible to truly enjoy the early stages of starting a business with all of the stress, planning and uncertainty that comes with it – but if you aren’t completely passionate about what you are doing that will never get any easier. Being motivated by money or trying to be self-employed just because you want to escape the 9-5 will never be enough, it has to come from something you believe in. You have to love what you do if you every want to be truly successful.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There is a lot of talk of women being at a disadvantage in this industry, and the statistics and data don’t lie, but I choose not to dwell on that – I’d rather focus on the positive impact that women are having on the industry. I want to be a force in my sector, and I endeavour to support and champion other women wherever I can. I believe that technology can be used to empower women.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think employers just need to be open to diversity within their workforce and recognise candidate’s talent, skills and knowledge rather than focusing on their gender. I have been involved in some incredible educational programmes to promote STEM to girls in schools and to show them how their skills can be applied in a working environment. I believe we are experiencing a new generation of inspiring and exceptionally gifted students who will really disrupt the technology industry in the years to come.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think it is important to bridge the gap between working in tech and mainstream jobs. Many aspiring techies don’t realise how their skills can be applied to a career, and that is why I hold seminars in universities and schools up and down the country to try and set an example of what a career in tech can look like for a woman. My first tech business involved launching the world’s first 3D printer for confectionery to reach the consumer market with FDA and FSA approval, and this led to me travelling all over the world working with companies like Facebook, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon. A career in tech often means you are challenging the norm, disrupting a market and finding new solutions which is absolutely exhilarating.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Attending events that allow you to learn from others! I have been so lucky to have the opportunity to speak and attend events that allow me to share my story. I am speaking at the upcoming Festival of Enterprise at London Olympia in April, which I am so excited about. I have been present at events in a multitude of different disciplines such as; food, technology, 3D, women’s conferences and more. My favourite events however are those like the Festival of Enterprise, where you can meet a variety of people from different sectors. It allows you to see so many unique business components and viewpoints, which is important no matter what sector you work in. I am so excited for this event, not only to share my experience with attendees, but to network and hear from other speakers and entrepreneurs.