The platform offering advice and products related to endurance sports nutrition announces an initial investment of 150,000 euros from a private investor.
Update : Julien and his team have since launched a new project: milepaKr. milepaKr's aim is to reference all the sports races in Europe (running, trail, triathlon, etc). Collecting and sorting is ongoing and the agenda should be updated before January 2017. A multilingual subscription platform will follow in 2017, covering a maximum of the referenced events.
Interview with Julien Brunel, co-founder.
Congratulations Julien for this first financing round and the installation of your team in your new offices! The nyuko team is definitely going to miss you! Can you share a little bit of your background?
« All roads lead to Rome 😉 !». I have always done a lot of sport. As a teenager I even thought about it as a career possibility. I eventually ended up studying at a business school, and I worked for very conventional companies as a financial analyst, and then as a recruitment consultant. Even if very educative, these experiences felt impersonal and too formatted. I had this ambition to create something that is more like me, more rewarding. Back from a work placement in Australia for Suez Environnement, where I had the opportunity to step back and develop the project, I decided that is was now or never. The right project, at the right time: Nutri-Bay was going to happen.
Why do you think Nutri-bay has taken off today?
I think we did get it right! Our understanding of the needs of sports people was right and how we answer it seems appreciated.
I, to be honest, am far from being a beginner in the field. Even if it is the first time that I actually create a company, I studied and tested - certainly like other entrepreneurs usually do - different ideas during the last years. Nutri-Bay takes off today because I use in this project everything I learned from my previous experiences (conventional jobs and entrepreneurial inspirations). I use everything from the past and consider everything as a possible future, without limit. The present happens naturally.
There is also ,and mainly, the passion - remember, I dreamed about a career in sports when I was younger? That allows me to be more patient, more thoughtful and more objective. This sort of project happens on a long-term scale!
Lastly, I work in partnership with my associate, Emeline Altmeyer. Our complementary personalities and the synergy of our skills is most likely the biggest asset of Nutri-Bay.
What are in your opinion the key elements for the correct operation of a startup in e-commerce?
It’s very easy to learn the commercial outlook, the market studies, the marketing, the management control and all of these. They are obvious steps to think of, especially with my background. However, the logistical chain was a challenge for me, particularly for sales of perishable goods, like ours. There’s a whole logic involved in how to handle limitation dates, stock, supplies, deliveries, etc. If it’s not something you’ve worked in before, you're going to meet difficulties over your journey.
You’ve just managed to raise 150,000 euros. How did that happen?
Initially, I approached a local company with the aim of organising a traditional trade deal that would have brought us, among other things, an industry support. It turned out that the owners were very interested, at a personal level, by our project and the quality of the work we had delivered so far. Soon enough the idea of the fund raising to accelerate our growth popped out in our minds.
I asked the opinion of Nicolas Valaize, manager in charge of nyuko funding. He confirmed that the opportunity was there and then strongly supported us a lot to structure our approach both in terms of form and content. Nicolas also brought his expertise when it came to defining our business’ valuation as well as ambitious and realist financial forecasts. His support regarding our term sheet and shareholder agreement was also key, as these legal documents were definitely tricky. Finally, he played with neutrality the role of matchmaker with our investor, which was not necessarily used to this type of unusual transaction.
What advice would you give startuppers who want to raise funds in Luxembourg?
You can have the best idea, if you don't have the experience and the skills, then it's probably not going to work. It doesn't come out of the blue, you absolutely need to seek for professional help, as nyuko - and Nicolas Valaize in particular - was for us.
What are your next steps?
Today we developed an offer for endurance sports products. This is a very large market, of perhaps ten million people in Europe. They have good buying power and are not (yet) attracted by the large, traditional players in the market. Our idea is to develop services for this target market, related to sports activities. There are few services of this kind at the moment despite the large demand.
We’re also going to continue to develop our site and try and spread awareness of its name. It is a lengthy process but totally worth it! My partner Emeline also started the Business Mentoring program from nyuko, and we hope that the knowledge she will get from it will be a true asset for us!
It that continues, I’ll be able to make my two dreams come true: my childhood dream of working in sport, and my adult dream of having a prosperous and thriving professional life!