What started as the idea behind a college project has become a worldwide-selling nutritional product that is set to make a young Dubliner a millionaire.
Gareth Sheridan from Terenure came up with the idea for his Nutriband patches while working on his thesis as a business and management degree student at Dublin Institute of Technology.
Nutriband works on the same principle as nicotine patches, and slow-releases vitamins and nutrients into the user’s system over a number of hours.
“It was initially a thesis idea that I was playing around with, but the more I researched it, I realised that it was much more than just a college project,” said Mr Sheridan.
“I started missing a lot of college and it was a tough year. I didn’t want to tell anyone what I was working on and people thought I was a dosser, but the hard work paid off and all was later revealed.”
Having invested €10,000 of his own money into the company, he launched the product in 2012 and has this year signed a deal to become a subsidy of US supplement manufacturer NNRX, which has since seen Nutriband go on sale around the world.
“It made sense to work with a bigger company that has developed contacts over the last 20 years,” he said.
“We currently have three products, one containing nutrients to boost energy, one with multi-vitamins and one formulated for use during weight loss.”
Now Nutriband is aiming to reach a €1m annual turnover, and hopes that a prominent feature on Lazada.com will boost sales.
“It’s South-East Asia’s equivalent of Amazon, it’s huge and gets something like 56m unique visitors a month,” said Mr Sheridan.
“We have spent the past eight months creating new distribution channels for the second edition of the patches and have 12 countries lined up to take it when it is ready.
“We have exclusive sales and distribution licenses for Canada and South Africa. The product will also be available in Ireland and the UK, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Sweden, Belgium, France, and Korea and we have had enquiries from Brazil and Australia.”
Positioning Nutriband as a subsidiary has allowed Mr Sheridan to continue at the helm of the company while also pursuing other ventures.
He is set to launch another company, Vitevo, which will also trade in personal nutrition, in the coming weeks.
His achievement has been recognised by Nissan, which has provided him with a new, taxed, and insured Nissan Qashqai as part of its Nissan Generation Next campaign.
The 10 chosen to become Nissan Generation Next ambassadors for 2015 also include an award-winning fashion designer, three 17-year-old scientists from Cork named by Time magazine among the most influential teenagers in the world, and a selection of rising sports stars in Gaelic Games, international rowing, canoeing, and pentathlon.
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