SDC Nutrition

As a personal trainer and athlete, Sean Marszalek was always frustrated that there was not an all-natural, and great tasting, whey protein product on the market. In 2008, Sean partnered with food science expert Devenee Schumacher in an effort to solve this problem. After almost 18 months of recipe development, market analysis and testing, SDC Nutrition launched its first product – About Time. As Sean began to sell the product however, he realized he needed some assistance in further developing the business plan and securing additional capital. He was referred to the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help.

His SBDC business consultant first conducted an assessment of the situation to determine the overall state of the business; then began to assist him in refining the company’s business plan and financial projections in an effort to prepare for funding presentations. Sean admitted to having a strong grasp of the sales aspect of running his company but needed assistance in developing a budget and understanding the financial side of the business. The SBDC assisted in development of a three year budget, that was not only used internally but also as part of the pitch presentation to potential investors.

The SBDC consultant met with Sean numerous times to review his company pitch, discuss improvements to the pitch materials, and provide a general understanding of what an information is most important to an investor in his presentation.

In its continued relationship with SDC Nutrition, the SBDC has continued to advise this growing company as Sean evaluated the idea of starting an in house production facility. The SBDC assisted in analyzing the financial and operational impact, while also proposing potential financing strategies. SDC Nutrition remains in regular contact with the SBDC as the company continues to grow.

With SBDC guidance, SDC Nutrition was able to secure $250,000 in equity investment in the early part of 2011. This funding was used to secure a new production facility location, purchase production equipment and increase marketing efforts for the existing product line. The production facility opened in early April of 2011, and the company has since secured several private label contracts beyond production of their own products. Company sales have grown 50% per quarter in 2011. The company expects to exceed $1.2 million in sales in 2011. This growth has led to the addition of three new employees in 2011, and Sean expects to hire another 3-6 new employees before the end of the year.