Ryan Perlowin left one of the Triangle’s most promising digital startups to launch his own company, and it’s a return to an original love: food. 

Perlowin was in business development at Youth Digital, where he spent two years developing important partnerships with Amazon, Target, Groupon and Minecraft, all to help the Chapel Hill online education company move toward its big goal of teaching more than a million kids to code. 
“My time at Youth Digital reinforced the notion of how important it is to work on something that is meaningful,” Perlowin says. 
Now he’s channeling that energy into his own startup that helps people plan meals so they’re able to eat well and affordably. Perlowin began My Happy Plates as a solution to his own problems. Now he hopes to bring it to the masses through (what he hopes will be) a successful Kickstarter campaign and public launch. 

Crowdfunding to grab attention, add features

Perlowin has one partner, Nick Bodner, and they have yet to take investment, though they say that investors have taken an early interest in their MVP and results. 
Based on customer feedback, Perlowin and Bodner are planning to launch new features on the My Happy Plates website later this summer. 
“The most important one,” says Perlowin, “is that we’ll now be able to customize a meal plan based on each member’s eating profile.” 
The product will source recipes from across the Internet, and will reduce the time customers would otherwise need to spend to identify recipes that fit their family’s eating profile. 
To fuel and fund this effort, the team is managing a Kickstarter campaign, which is nearly 60 percent funded to a goal of $10,000 with two weeks to go. The campaign rewards include lifetime access to the company’s products, and a few other fun perks provided by Perlowin and Bodnar. 
The long-term plan is to build partnerships with delivery providers so the company can provide on-demand service for its users. Best case scenario, says Perlowin, the company will launch this feature set in late 2016. 
“With My Happy Plates, we’re working at the intersection of food and technology and we’re building something really special,” says Perlowin, “a scalable business that makes people happy.”