It's one thing to take that idea you keep thinking about it and actually turn into a real, live, tangible thing. It is another thing to then go out and raise funding for that thing. But It is a completely different thing to do all that while cameras are filming your every move and the person mentoring you is not only a huge movie star, but also the founder of a billion dollar company.
But Elle Huerta, the Founder and CEO of Mend, an iOS app that helps you through a breakup day by day did the third thing and she would do it all again. Huerta appeared on Apple Music’s first-ever original content series, Planet of the Apps, in which she took the app she had created and worked closely with Jessica Alba, founder of the uber successful Honest Company, to help take it to the next level.
With Alba's help she built out the brand's voice and transformed the app in time for its launch, scoring $200,000 in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners in addition to securing $800,000 herself. But she says it was the mentoring from Alba that was truly invaluable.
Huerta, an ex-Google employee, wanted to do something that has never been done before - leverage data and technology combined with storytelling to help people get through one of the hardest and most universal challenges ever: getting through a break up. "When I realized there was nothing out there on the web or the app store I just started building it myself. I really built MEND for myself, which I think is why it feels so personal and intimate," Huerta told Levo.
The entrepreneur was already working on the app in an incubator when she saw the call from Apple for developers and looked at the show as a great opportunity to get her brand out to a wider audience. After going through the casting process she booked the gig. In case you aren't familiar Battle of the Apps is Apple Music's first series about apps and their creators. Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk, and will.i.am all serve as coaches on the show.
Huerta was really hoping to work with Alba and her wish came true as she was assigned to her. "I really admire the company she has built," she said. "She provided so much expertise on the branding side, she's really a branding expert and also an amazing storyteller." And that she is. Though the company was underestimated at first as it just seemed like another actress launching something, Alba quickly proved the critics wrong. Honest went from selling health and eco-friendly diapers and baby wipes has turned into a household name and a $1.7 billion valuation.
It turns out a big part of The Honest Company's success is Alba's love of data and analytics. That's right. Alba is a data nerd. "It's one of her strengths for sure," noted Huerta. She also attributes Alba's hands on approach to really being the key to helping her. "She was so down to just roll up her sleeves and get in the weeds with our businesses. She was looking at dashboards and she knows all that stuff. She is in the nitty gritty," she said. Huerta also noted that Alba, when Honest was just starting out, was really receptive to feedback, something all founders struggle with often. "It's a testament to her character. She is very down to earth," she said.
In addition to being so attentive to Honest customers (even though there are hundreds of thousands of them) Huerta was also just so impressed by Alba's ability to juggle it all as a powerhouse business-person and a mother to two (with a third one on the way.) "It was so inspiring," she said.
Photo Courtesy of Apple Music