The technology start-up which aims to help us live healthier, happier lives.

Understanding the impact eating choices have on health, and the very individual ways those choices can affect different people, is a growing part of ensuring optimum health and well-being.

Now, entrepreneurs David Haines and Julian Shapley have developed software using biological know-how to help users adapt food plans to their own lifestyles – allowing them to understand how and why they react in certain ways to the different things they eat.

Cardiff-based Glucose Republic centres food choices on the user and their individual needs.

Glucose Republic has been supported through Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

 

Here, Glucose Republic co-founder David Haines explains how the company was formed and the journey it’s taken – and where he and business partner Julian Shapley want to take their business.

 


Tell us about Glucose Republic
We’re very much a partnership – Julian and I had previously been involved in developing the world’s first mobile-connected diabetes management platform. We have the expertise and experience to develop technology and products that provide clients with the systems they need to improve their quality of life.

The product is based on the fact that everybody in the world is unique.

Each person reacts differently to food they eat. Increasingly, how people manage their lives is becoming more and more bespoke. For example, diets can’t be one size fits all, as there are too many variables involved – people are just too different for one diet to suit an entire group.

 

Our background led us to develop Glucose Republic, software which is grounded in the fact that everyone has their own food fingerprint. We can access that fingerprint by tracking glucose levels and this can be used to provide users with feedback on the metabolic impact of the food they’ve eaten. This gives them the chance make meal choices with greater confidence.

Using our system – which includes the world’s first glucose prediction algorithm - people can measure how their body is reacting to the foods they eat and the things they do. Understanding all of this means people can adapt food plans to their own lifestyles, It also arms them with vital knowledge about their own reactions to food, creating individual responses and sustainable pathways going forward.

Ultimately, this is about giving people more freedom through understanding the food they eat and the exercise they take – which allows them to have healthier, more fulfilling lives as a result. We have real belief in this technology as a way of improving people’s quality of life. We are delighted that we recently secured significant investment, which will help take our business further forward.

 

What are your proudest moments in business so far?
Our proudest moments are yet to come. The true benefit of what we are building will emerge for customers.

Nevertheless, we have had lots of exciting moments. We recently welcomed new members to our team and we are planning to grow even more.

 

Not only that, we raised £500,000 in investment from leading equity investors Deepbridge Capital and the Development Bank of Wales, to build the world’s first system focused on the impact of food on individuals.

We always celebrate our wins – small or big, and only then do we move onto the next challenge. This is very much what the culture of Glucose Republic is all about.

 

What challenges have you faced in business
There’s no hiding from the fact that starting a business is tough. Starting a business and a pandemic hitting makes things even tougher and provides all kinds of unknown variables into the mix too.

Covid meant we had to quickly reassess how we functioned as a business and we brought in a remote-first working policy very early on. Other companies might well have had to do the same, but I think for us as a young, small and growing business that provided a host of different challenges which we had to overcome.

Put simply we had to keep the faith in what we’re doing.

Glucose Republic has a bright future ahead – the solutions we offer to our customers can be truly transformational and life-altering.

 

If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
We’re constantly learning!

What works for some people might not work for everyone. The best thing you can do is to stay critical and analytical and make the best decisions you possibly can in the moment.

This doesn’t mean you will never fail, but knowing that you’ve done your best matters.

 

How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
Business Wales AGP has provided dedicated work programmes to support our development.

These programmes have been massively helpful and key to our growth as a business.

We’ve also received equity investment from the Development Bank of Wales and we’ve started work with the Accelerate Health Programme led by the Life Sciences Hub Wales.

There’s plenty of great professional advice and support out there for businesses in Wales and we have benefited so much from this support.

 

What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

  • Be brave – There can be hundreds of reasons why you don’t do what you want – you might not have everything figured out yet, or you might be afraid to fail to look stupid, you also might think you’re too old or too young. Ultimately, if you never start, you will never know.
  • Have empathy – It will improve your relationships with your customers, support the people around you, and increase your sense of purpose and feelings of connectedness.
  • Work in teams – you can go faster together. A lot of young people believe they have to do everything on their own, but this mind-set will only hinder you.
  • Have integrity – Having strong moral principles will make you a better and more inspiring leader, and this will impact your employees the same way. This is how to build a strong foundation.
  • Embrace innovation – Be open-minded. Always.

     

To learn more about Glucose Republic, visit here.

Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.

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