The company, formerly known as Nutraceutical Discoveries, Inc., announced its first product – NuFit, an all-natural weight-loss supplement – at the Natural Products Expo West in March. Its Chief Science Officer (CSO) – Michael Zemel, former Professor of Nutrition and Medicine and Director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee (UT), came on board full-time following his retirement a few months ago. There are two more products that are expected to enter the market this month.
In a recent interview with teknovation.biz, Doug Grindstaff, NuSirt’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), described his reason for joining the company a little over a year ago and the passion that he feels for the work that is being done.
Grindstaff is a Knoxville native who has worked for Knoxville-based Radio Systems Corporation as well as national brands like Kraft Foods and Sylvan Learning Systems.
“I was commuting to Baltimore every week (for Sylvan) and wanted to get back home,” he said. Grindstaff has now traded airplanes for an automobile – commuting between Nashville, where NuSirt is headquartered because of its investors, and Knoxville/Oak Ridge, where the company has its laboratory.
“Dr. Zemel is an entrepreneur’s dream,” Grindstaff says, adding that the CSO is a “mix of mad scientist with disciplined and well-respected academic credentials. We clicked immediately.”
Grindstaff, who joined the company April 18, 2011, quickly lists NuSirt’s advantages that start with its focus on “the real chemistry of the body” and all-natural solutions for healthy living.
“We have the ability to apply a pharmaceutical level of rigor to natural ingredients,” he says. “We start with science and work back to natural ingredients to make a difference.”
He adds that “we have lots and lots of pathways” for product development, noting that the company “filed eight provisionals (provisional patents) since I came on board.”
When NuSirt announced its newest product – NuFit – in March, it said that the product’s approach uniquely combines unique leucine and vitamin B-6.
“Unlike diet plans that raise your metabolism by artificially speeding up your heart rate or tricking your brain and body to think or act differently, NuFit focuses your body to burn calories naturally and more vigorously.” The company added that “there are no adverse side effects.”
Leucine, which is found in dairy products, is an amino acid that activates the powerhouse of the cell to burn more calories. Vitamin B-6, which is found naturally in many food sources, works in conjunction with leucine and is a catalyst for metabolic reactions. By combining NuFit with 15 minutes of exercise, NuSirt says that an individual can realize the equivalent of 45 minutes worth of fat-burning.
As the company focuses on delivering products later this year, Grindstaff says that it is taking a “frugal” approach to expenditures. For example, all manufacturing and fulfillment are being outsourced. The existing five-person NuSirt team, which includes Grindstaff and Zemel, is focused on scientific discoveries and customer relationships.
“We are fortunate that we have a group of very strategic investors with a long view,” Grindstaff says.
In that vein, he sees NuSirt as a company that will be “changing tens of thousands of people’s lives in effective and safe ways and reducing their health risks” five years from now. Grindstaff also believes that NuSirt will be licensing some of its intellectual property to pharmaceutical companies.
For a corporate executive now running a small start-up, Grindstaff offers three insights for entrepreneurs.
“You need to see beyond the product launching next month,” he says in describing what he calls the power of the long-term vision. “You need to make changes in the context of that vision.”
His second point is related to a start-up’s business plan, advising that entrepreneurs must “realize that every business plan you write is no longer valid when the ink dries.” Grindstaff urges that a start-up “maintain some level of fluidity.”
Finally, he urges start-up CEOs to hire people who “share your vision and commitment. It’s high risk.”
More information about NuSirt is available at its new web site – http://www.nusirtsciences.com/.