We talked to Laurentiu Nicolae of NutritioApp about how they simplify and democratize nutrition through technology for professionals and their clients. This is what he had to say:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Laurentiu Nicolae: We are well, got vaccinated and have not been affected by Covid yet, even though we had contact with infected people.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Nutritio.
Laurentiu Nicolae: I have a technical background, I have been working as a developer for more than 15 years, but recently I switched more to the marketing side.
I co-founded Nutritio along with my friend Dragos about 4 years ago. We found the need by talking with a nutrition professional, and we realized most of them are still using pen and paper or Excel to create meal plans and to work with their clients/patients, so we started to build an app that would help them stay organized and save a lot of time. We put it in front of one dietitian, got feedback from her and went through a few iterations until she was able to use it with her patients then, we added more dietitians, nutritionists and health coaches, collected feedback and implemented it until we got to this point.
Right now, we have about 14.000 nutrition professionals that are using or have tried the app.
How does Nutritio innovate?
Laurentiu Nicolae: We are bringing innovation from other areas like marketing to the nutrition sector by automating the meal plan creation and giving the nutrition professionals the ability to create nutrition and health coaching programs and put them on autopilot. We help them scale the number of clients they can work with.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Laurentiu Nicolae: Initially, we’ve lost a few clients because they no longer had clients, but after the first few months, we noticed a growing interest in platforms helping them to work online with their clients. We built the platform from the beginning to support online collaboration between nutrition professionals and their clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Laurentiu Nicolae: Fortunately, we didn’t have to make difficult choices, but our approach was to keep the team as small as possible and to outsource some parts of the development.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Laurentiu Nicolae: At the beginning, we did not use any tool, but as we grew, we felt the need to use some tools. Right now, we have implemented a CRM along with a marketing automation platform that saves us a lot of time because it automates the entire onboarding sequence, which makes the learning curve smaller for new clients.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Laurentiu Nicolae: We got a small government grant which helped us a little bit, but I wouldn’t say it had a huge impact on keeping the business afloat. However, as a bootstrapped startup, any help from the government is welcomed.
Your final thoughts?
Laurentiu Nicolae: I believe every crisis comes with some opportunities, and as entrepreneurs, we should look for opportunities instead of complaining or thinking that everything is lost. It is also a good time to prepare for the after crisis time when the demand will probably grow, and we will have less time to innovate than now. More nutrition professionals are looking for apps like NutritioApp because they started to work online with their clients, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have that vision from the beginning of our app – to make an app that would allow 100% online collaboration between nutrition professionals and their clients.
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