People and relations are your most important asset

Nutritio is a virtual assistant for nutrition and our goal is to simplify the nutrition through technology

Please introduce yourself and your startup Nutritio to our readers!
I am Laurentiu Nicolae – an entrepreneur at heart, technical person at surface.
I am a web consultant, with more than 10 years of experience on building and growing the online presence of companies on a very personalized way, with a strong focus on clean, non shady tactics. I am happy to be married with a doctor and to be the father of a 7 years old handsome boy. My passions are people, mountains and anything that flies (planes, para-gliders).

I co-founded Nutritio – along with Dragos Gurgui, a very smart and tallented guy with a strong technical background.
Nutritio is a virtual assistant for nutrition and our goal is to simplify the nutrition through technology. We accomplish this for two groups of peole:

1. We are helping companies and fitness clubs to provide personalized nutritional services to their employees or clients.
2. We are providing a SaaS for nutritionists that is helping them to generate diets much easier and faster without any manual calculations and to communicate more efficiently with their patients.

How did you get the idea to Nutritio?
Everything that we did was based on people’s feedback. We started by talking with a doctor about a totally different idea then we realized that most of the nutritionists are generating the personalized diet plans by hand which involves a lot of work and calculations. At that point we stopped the plans that we were doing and started to work on a SaaS for nutritionists. We created the ideal software for one nutritionist then we started bringing in more nutritionists that were giving us feedback.

During this time we kept receiving requests from regular people to do anything for them. We figured out that a lot of people want to change their lifestyle but they don’t know where to start. Which led us to the conclusion that we have an engine for nutrition where we can build on something for regular people. We have tested the idea of online personalized nutritional plans with very good results and we realized that the level of commitment might be very high for regular people. We crafted a new program which is much simpler – a nutritional profile which is a lifestyle check-up for people who are willing to change their lifestyle.

We collect information from users then we generate a very personalized report which tells them what’s working well and what they can improve. We include in the report details like ideal weight, body mass index, ideal daily calories intake, how to balance the number of calories between proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, how to distribute the calories per meals, how to combine food in a healthy way, we do a food diary analysis, we tell our customers what’s the recommended daily quantity of vitamins and minerals and where to find them, how much water, how much sleep and sport they need in a day.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We started the company as a side project and we were only 2 people who did everything – planning, collecting feedback from users, programming, user interface. Everything we did was bootstrapped, and we had to take care of our families. We worked a lot, sometimes 12 – 14 hours a day but we are proud of the results. We received a lot of help from our business mentor, Sergiu Negut, who is an angel Investor and business growth consultant.

I love to help people without expecting anything in return and the biggest driver that I have is to see happy people who are being more successful and are reaching their goals much easier and faster because of us. Another challenge that we had before we expanded our business to end users consulting was to convince medical people to change their processes. We overcame this by creating partnerships with nutrition schools and offering their students the nutritionists platform for free while they are in school. It’s a long therm strategy but it’s working very well.

Who is your target audience?
We have two main categories of people that we are reaching:

1. Regular people who are willing to change their lifestyle but don’t know where to start and to reach them we are creating partnerships with:
• fitness clubs because we can add a lot of extra value for their clients and we can offer them a white-label solution that they can implement in their offer
• corporations that are offering extra benefits to their employees
• insurance companies because they have all the reasons to have healthy clients
2. Nutritionists with focus on those who are beginning their career and are focusing on personalized nutrition or online consulting.

What is the USP of your startup?
Our mission is to simplify the nutrition through technology for people who want to change their lifestyle in a healthy way as well as for professionals: nutritionists, dietitians, fitness instructors.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I’m an early bird so I wake up pretty early and I have about 30 minutes of personal time when I read and put together my thoughts. I have a healthy and consistent breakfast with my family (live what you preach, we’re a nutrition startup), take my child to school then I have a meeting which can last between 30 minutes to a few hours with Dragos, my co-founder where we plan the day, the week, discuss the strategy and how to implement it and we get each other unstuck. Then we do the actual work which could be programming, promoting the startup, meeting new people and finding ways to help them through our products.

Our work day could end sometimes pretty late, if there are customers who need our help. We are trying to not get stuck in a routine since it kills the creativity and we are constantly doing things that are helping us to relax and recharge our batteries. Dragos is doing Aikido, I’m hiking mountains and flying any time I get the chance.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Nutritio in five years?
I see Nutritio as the best AI tool for personalized nutrition that understands the needs, preferences and particularities of a person and is able to help that person to change it’s lifestyle by creating a personalized plan (with focus on nutrition) and helping the person to reach her goals by keeping her accountable.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1. People and relations are your most important asset. Treat your employees, partners and clients as kings and queens. Make them love you. Your clients are not just numbers on a spreadsheet or “things” that you can call “cold leads” but real people with feelings and needs just like you. Treat them with respect and try to always understand them. Focus on delivering value for people without expecting anything in return. Money are just the confirmation not the reason. Leave a legacy by helping people to get where they want. Your company’s success on the long therm depends on how you can improve your customer’s life.

Anything else – marketing tactics, sales, products are just channels to reach this goal.
Get to deeply know your target audience, not only general things but what are their fears, what’s motivating them, what makes them happy, what’s their story and how you can help them change the end of their story.

2. If you are just at the beginning try to find companies that are bigger than you where you can provide additional value for a reasonable price. Create partnerships with them and you will grow together.

3. The best way to validate your ideas is to start today. Don’t wait until you have the perfect marketing strategy, the perfect sales pitch, the perfect product. Do something that’s imperfect, put it in front of people, collect feedback and improve.

I’m happy to interact with you at laurentiu@nutritioapp.com or on LinkedIn and Twitter.

More information you will find here

Thank you Laurentiu Nicolae for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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