Alumni Insights

Melissa Antal, Joe Malcoun, and Brooke McIntyre share their rich, entrepreneurial journeys through their responses to our questions as they impart advice, illuminate their triumphs and setbacks, and talk about everything else in between! As a dynamic group of entrepreneurs, disruptors, and thought leaders who are changing the world and making their mark in their communities and beyond, they represent some of the best and brightest of what a Michigan entrepreneurial education can offer.

Melissa Antal

Return to Home page

Briefly describe your company.

Foublie redefines how families access nutrition advice. Foublie achieves this by connecting parents to a telehealth platform that gives them access to a network of coaches who are registered dietitians specializing in child feeding, food allergies, and nutrition.

What inspired you to create this venture? What was your journey leading up to it?

I never thought that I would be an entrepreneur. I was happy working in international development, but the intense travel was wearing me down and I had recently become engaged. I needed to find something closer to home. Ultimately, I was seeking something new.

Foublie was born when I found a problem that required a solution. I started talking to parents about their struggles and successes in feeding their kids, and I was surprised that parents involved in my public health programs were getting better support on nutrition than American parents. Through this process, I finally met my perfect entrepreneurial partner, Maria Rivera, and it was like magic! A pediatrician, she was fielding questions from her patients and her friends on nutrition, which finally set the stage for us to build what we needed for ourselves.

Last summer, Maria and I quit our jobs to build and run Foublie full time. It felt like a crazy decision, but we did it with some serious backing from our spouses. They are the best.

How was the University of Michigan ecosystem beneficial to you?

The University of Michigan set the foundation for who I am today.

As a student, I grew academically and emotionally while pursuing my passion for public health. I was also an athlete, and while on the U-M synchronized skating team, I not only represented the university, but the United States in international competitions. Ultimately, I connected with so many people at U-M—some who will be in my life forever, and some who have had an impact on me forever.

The U-M ecosystem continues to benefit me, and here’s a story to illustrate why. After I graduated, I tagged along with my father on a business trip to Tokyo. Looking for fish auctions at the Tsukiji market, we got lost. A dock worker came by to help us, and though we were not able to speak much to each other, his English was better than our Japanese. He informed us that he had learned English in order to talk to his daughter’s friends, as his daughter was studying in the United States. Guess where she was studying? That’s right. As he walked away after helping us, he yelled “Go Blue!!!”.

This showed me that being a part of the University of Michigan ecosystem meant that we get to help each other out.

What would you consider your biggest setback (or setbacks) in your entrepreneurial journey?

I think of setbacks as something that slows your momentum. We’ve been lucky, in that no setback has knocked us completely down. Instead, we have been pushed to learn new things!

What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting a venture?

Fall in love with a problem, not the solution. Now go have fun and get to work.