Nutrition is proving skin deep

PATCHES designed to deliver nutrition through the skin have proved a winning formula for Dublin start-up Nutriband.

This month it has won €20,000 and the Young Entrepreneur award from South Dublin Local Enterprise Office as well as Product Start-Up of the Year and Young Entrepreneur Start-Up in the Bank of Ireland Start-Up awards.

The company was founded two years ago by Gareth Sheridan who realised that the patch technology used to deliver pain relief, nicotine, and HRT medication through the skin could be adapted to deliver minerals and nutrition.

Nutriband is now preparing to launch globally next January with a range of three transdermal patches: One containing nutrients designed to boost energy, another containing multi-vitamins and one formulated for use during weight loss. Mr Sheridan aims to have a distribution agreement in place in every continent by mid 2015 and to sell 15m patches next year.

The 25-year-old entrepreneur had observed the growth in demand for patches and saw a gap in the health supplement market.

“The main advantages of delivering nutrition transdermally are that it bypasses the stomach, has a slow release, doesn’t contain unnecessary ingredients such as preservatives or flavourings and is fast, simple and removable,’’ says Mr Sheridan.

He found there were transdermal nutrition patches being sold online but no one had brought it to the retail market or developed a strong brand. He researched nutrition and transdermal technology and, with the help of a chemistry graduate, developed his first three products — an energy patch, a vitamin one, and one for recovery after sports. Using his own funding, and securing some grant aid from South Dublin Local Enterprise Office he looked for a manufacturer.

“Costs and order numbers in Ireland were too high but I found a company in Asia which agreed to produce one thousand of each product,” says Mr Sheridan, adding that he first had to get CE mark approval. Taking his products to health shops around the country he also set up a website.

While working on developing sales he was introduced to finance firm Alta Nordic, which offered advice and financial assistance. Alta Nordic also introduced him to US nutrition company Nutanomics and at the end of last year Nutriband gave Nutranomics exclusive North American sales and distribution rights while Nutranomics provided assistance in furthering the development of the product and advanced funding to manufacture in the US.

The Nutriband patches are being manufactured under contract in the US and will be launched in January, costing €24.99 for a month’s supply. The products have new branding, a new delivery system and a weight loss patch has replaced the post exercise recovery patch. Mr Sheridan is in distribution talks with 12 countries. He has set up a Nutriband subsidiary in the UK and plans to set one up in South Africa. In recent weeks he sold most of the remaining patches from the first production run to GNC, one of the world’s largest retailers of nutrition products, which plans to test them in the Philippines.

Plans include bringing out three new patches for pain relief, motion sickness and to aid sleep and also to develop vitamin patches for children.

Searching for a new premises for the company in South Dublin, Mr Sheridan plans to recruit two sales staff next year. He is also targeting a minimum turnover of $1m in 2015.

Company: Nutriband

Location: Rathfarnam, Dublin

Founder: Gareth Sheridan

Staff: 1

Product: transdermal nutrition patches


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