Wyldsson’s Dave McGeady tells his Start-up story and the highlights from his time at the AIB Start-up Academy.

Wyldsson’s Dave McGeady: Our AIB Start-up Academy Story

Wyldsson’s Dave McGeady: Our AIB Start-up Academy Story

Behind every great Start-up is the solution to a problem. In the case of Dave McGeady, it was the recent trend of healthy snacking that helped him achieve his lifelong goal of starting a business.

When he was made redundant from a medical technology company, Dave spotted an opportunity and acted on it, having recognised that while healthy eating was on the rise, sugar-filled snacks were often the only snack food available. 

 

After interviewing leading dieticians, Dave decided to start up. Wyldsson was born, focusing on a range of gluten and dairy free healthy whole foods. Dave says: “There’s been a massive change and a lot of people are now reading the labels of food that they’re buying in the supermarket and they’re paying more attention to health and fitness. Take a look at something like ‘Operation Transformation.’

 

“That’s a massive TV show and it’s something that wouldn’t have really worked ten years ago but people have become really conscious of the state that they’re in and are trying to do something about it. So it’s a really good time now for health and fitness related brands.

 

“I think that healthy snacking is something nobody has ever really cracked before so I wanted to give it a go. It’s a big problem for people and a massive opportunity. So I thought it was a really good starting point.”

 

“The snacks we provide are not specifically for athletes, they’re for everybody but they certainly appeal more to those who are very conscious about what they eat. He adds: “For athletes in particular, what they eat affects their body and in turn, their performance. But really, our food is for everyone.

 

“Our muesli is just a really good muesli and our nuts and seeds are really good snacks. Our customers are from a pretty broad demographic. We have busy parents and people of all ages who buy from us.”

 

Starting from the main concept, Dave worked to develop out a line of health products to attract consumers. He explains: “Our first product was the Pro Mix; they’re like trail mix with a combination of nuts, seeds and fruit. We started selling them online but we found that if you want to sell something online, you should have a variety of offerings.”

 

“Having a range of products justifies going to a web store and buying online. You don’t want to be a one-trick pony. So we started developing a range of products like muesli, porridge toppers and nut butters. We created a wide range of products.”

 

“The first year was really daunting because you’re stepping into the unknown but it’s very exciting as well. You’re getting to start a business which is something I wanted to do for a long time.”

 

Every business has a moment of validation when it appears that all the long hours and hard work is finally paying off. For Wyldsson, this moment was viewed by millions of people around the world.

 

An impressive launching pad for the business, Dave explains: “The most satisfying moment I’ve had running my own business was watching the British Open Golf tournament this summer and there was an Irish player called Paul Dunne. He’s an amateur golfer and was leading The Open, which was incredible.”

 

“He’s a customer and while he was on TV, he happened to have a snack from one of our Pro Mix tubes and that was shown on TV to millions of viewers.

 

“It was a great moment for me because it really brought our brand and product to a whole new audience of people and helped validate what we were doing. It also helped spread the word and encouraged other people to give us a try.”

 

Part of the AIB Start-up Academy, Dave says learning from other new businesses helped greatly.

 

 “The highlight of the Academy for me was meeting the other participants,” he notes.

 

“I really enjoyed that and have stayed in touch with quite a few of them. I think the social aspect was really interesting because often when you’re an entrepreneur or a small business, you’re quite isolated. It was really interesting to find people that share the same experiences and have the same pressures.

 

“I found the sessions really useful. It gave me the opportunity to stand back a bit and rethink our business and the things that we do. When you start a business, it can get pretty hectic and you don’t often get a chance to sit back and reflect on exactly what you’re doing.”

 

Looking to the future, the Start-up is hard at work making the next innovative addition to their line of products. With the trend for healthy eating only growing, Dave says: “At the moment, we’re developing a range of bars which you can bake yourself. It’s like a bread mix but it’s for making bars; that’s our new product at the moment.”

 

“We spend a lot of time on that. We’ve been tweaking the recipe over the last few weeks. Generally, I go home and bake the latest batch in the evening and bring it in for a taste test with the team in the morning.”

 

“We want to stay online and our focus is online-only. It’s a bit of a conflict because if we were to sell in stores, the price would be much higher so we’d have to create products of lesser-quality and we’re not willing to do that.”

 

Find out more about the AIB Start-up Academy and how you can apply to take part. Submit your application now for a chance to win a place in the next AIB Start-Up Academy.

 

Check out more on how We’re Backing Brave, follow us on Twitter @AIBBiz or check out the conversation at #backedbyAIB.

When he was made redundant from a medical technology company, Dave spotted an opportunity and acted on it, having recognised that while healthy eating was on the rise, sugar-filled snacks were often the only snack food available. Behind every great Start-up is the solution to a problem. In the case of Dave McGeady, it was the recent trend of healthy snacking that helped him achieve his lifelong goal of starting a business.

 

When he was made redundant from a medical technology company, Dave spotted an opportunity and acted on it, having recognised that while healthy eating was on the rise, sugar-filled snacks were often the only snack food available. 

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