'I was a nutritionist for Meath GAA. Within three years, I was working with Man City'

As part of our How My Business Works series, we profile sports nutrition firm Nutritics.

By Paul O'Donoghue

AFTER DAYS SPENT carefully uploading the statistics he needed for a major college assignment, corruption reared its ugly head to thwart Damian O’Kelly.

The Dubliner was studying for a master’s degree in sport and exercise nutrition at the Leeds Beckett University. For one of his main projects he was keeping tabs on what a dozen athletes ate while they trained.

O’Kelly, 31, was trying to work out the best diets for those trying to exercise. He spent dozens of hours poring over the figures and uploading them to his computer in college, the only machine where the files were stored.

“I was inputting the diaries from the people I was working with; I inputted for over 80 hours,” he tells Fora. “I had to go back to the same computer every day, it was the only one that you could work from.

“The file became corrupted and I had to start over. I thought at the time ‘there has to be something better than this’.”

O’Kelly turned to his brother Ciaran, a web designer, to see if the pair could produce an easy-to-access database that nutritionists could use to give their clients better information on what they should be eating.

“I had a wishlist, I wanted the database to be web-based, that it would have lots of food elements, like supplements, accounted for, and that it would be reliable so that you wouldn’t lose your data,” he says.

damian nutritics cropped Nutritics CEO Damian O'Kelly
Source: Nutritics

Manchester City and beyond

Damian returned to Ireland after graduating from Leeds in 2011, and the two brothers worked on the database during their spare time and at weekends as a side project.

“I was the sports nutritionist for Meath GAA, I was only there two days a week and had some social welfare benefit as well,” he says.

“I was working on the database quite a bit, When we put it up online in March 2012 we thought it would be a little earner on the side, but we made about 200 sales between March and September and we knew it had some legs.”

The brothers took an Enterprise Ireland course in an effort to gain some business nous and formed a new company, Nutritics. The pair then started looking to sell subscriptions to the database to universities in the UK.

“We thought people using the software in universities would take it with them when they graduated and spread the product, and we could get in at the ground level of a lot of new nutritionists,” he says.

The firm signed up dozens of universities in the UK and Ireland and started landing other major clients, including the likes of Premier League football giant Manchester City.

“It was a good success for us, it was a proud moment.”

Manchester City v Sunderland - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Nutritics clients include Manchester City
Source: Anthony Devlin/PA Images

Nutritics now employs 18 full-time staff at its base in Swords, Dublin, and its database has expanded dramatically since the launch in 2012.

Diet planner

It is mainly used by nutritionists, who pay a subscription fee for access. The nutritionists put in their client’s details, such as age, weight and height, and their fitness goal, such as running a marathon in six months.

The company’s software will then produce a detailed, personalised diet plan for the person to follow.

“Our software will say that this person needs this many calories, proteins, fats, etc, to reach their fitness goal,” O’Kelly says.

“You can get a detailed target for an individual, or the software can give you recipes and a meal plan.”

Asked why a nutritionist would pay for the company’s software rather than devising their own meal plans for clients, O’Kelly says: “The software is the peace-of-mind factor.

“It gives you evidence that says if you stick to this meal plan then you will get this many calories, otherwise you’re just monitoring a client’s results. We are confident that we are using the best nutrition data in the industry.”


How much the company’s software costs varies hugely. Some of its most basic packages cost just €25 a month, while a full suite including training and support from Nutritics can cost as much as €3,000 per year.

These offerings are mostly used by large sports organisations that have large teams of nutritionists.

The firm made a very small loss of about €15,000 in its most recent financial year, although O’Kelly says that the firm has been reinvesting a lot of its cash in its operations.

New app

At the moment, the company’s offering is largely aimed at nutritionists. However, the firm has plans to develop an app that will be more consumer-friendly.

“Anyone will be able to download the app and calculate your diet. You will get a basic report (for free), if you wanted a more hands-on approach we would refer you to one of our professional nutritionist users who would then charge for a consultation,” he says.

The company will then take a cut of any consultation booked through the app. O’Kelly says that the rate hasn’t been decided yet.

“One of the main reasons that nutritionists cancel their subscriptions is because they don’t have enough clients to justify paying for the software; we want to connect clients to the nutritionists. We want to be like the Hailo for nutritionists.”

CMC0790-24 Ciaran (left) and Damian O'Kelly
Source: Conor McCabe Photography

Until the launch of the app, Nutritics’ main customers are universities, those using the software for research, sports professionals and people in healthcare.

“We have about 26,000-27,000 subscribers from 100 different countries, (but) most of our business would be from the UK and Ireland,” O’Kelly says.

“There are people who would have one licence but it could serve more than one person; one licence could cover a local nutritionist or Manchester City.”

More features

The Dubliner says that the company has had some success in the Middle East and is now looking to put a focus more on that market, as well as the US and Australia.

O’Kelly says that there are several companies that offer some of the services that Nutritics provides, such as suggesting recipes. However, he says that his firm’s software is more useful as it offers several complementary features.

“Companies might do meal plans, but if you don’t have a personalised target than there isn’t much value in it,” he says. “We think that ours is more powerful and useful.”


Nutritics’ main focus for the next few months will be to get its new app up and running.

“We are now looking to bring all the different markets that we operate in into one full circle,” O’Kelly says.

“(Through the app) we will bring consumers in and connect them to nutritionists and academia, and we will be getting the platform ready for international scale.

“The first phase of the app will be launched in August, and the fill app will be launched about six months after that.”

The firm plans to hire as many as 20 people over the next 18 months, which O’Kelly shows how far Nutritics has come since its origins as a weekend project.

He says that he is in it for the long-haul, and hopes that the business can get a major shot in the arm over the next few years.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this point, and I’m not looking for a quick exit,” he says. “We have had offers of cash injections before, but we didn’t see the need to do that. We want to be the ones doing the buying.

“I want to make us the most renowned nutrition platform that everyone knows, that’s my goal.”

This article is part of our weekly series examining the nuts and bolts of businesses. If you would like to see your company featured please email news@fora.ie.