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Irish healthy eating startup takes off with crowd funding

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Irish healthy eating startup Sian’s Plan, who have 5,000 users are looking to raise $170K through crowdfunding. 85% of this has been raised to date. The startup have been very successful in building an active following on social media. Sian’s Plan also contribute monthly healthy eating plans to IrishCentral.

Sian’s Plan was started by Vincent Breslin and his mom Sian in Donegal, Ireland in 2009. Sian Breslin had worked for 25 years as a Home Economics teacher, teaching generations of Irish kids how to cook. Sian’s plan was originally paper based and offered healthy eating and diet plans for busy people. The plans were originally paper based and her son Vincent helped her digitize the plans online, and Sian’s Plan was born.

“Sian’s Plan guarantees healthy eating. Our online tools and support help busy people provide real, healthy, home-cooked food easily. It all started in (my mum) Sian’s cookery school in Donegal in 2009. Mums and dads were working harder than ever before and finding it stressful to feed their family healthy food everyday.”

According to Breslin, “At every stage of our lives we encounter food related challenges. Right now we’re focused on helping busy professional and time poor parents get healthy meals on the table Monday to Friday.” 

Sian’s Plan is currently a subscription based premium product. There are plans to start producing Sian’s Plan books and other offline products. 

"Our vision is for Sian’s Plan to be at the center of your digital kitchen."

Vincent Breslin decided to raise money by crowdfunding through a platform called Seedrs. This is slightly different to Kickstarter as Seedr investors get equity in return for their money. The reason for going the crowdfunding route are twofold for Breslin. Firstly it’s an opportunity for Sian’s Pan to build a strong community which is crucial to our success.

“The idea of having 100+ people out there with a stake in our business, promoting and telling everyone they know about us offers huge value.” Secondly they are selling their business to their target market.

“By putting it out on the market, you can see whether people believe in your idea.”
For Breslin there is an added benefit to crowdfunding,

“If the funding isn’t forthcoming, it can give you a heads up that perhaps this version of your product is not right and it’s time to get back to the drawing board. These are vital learnings, particularly when you operate a lean business model.” 

Sian’s Plan are looking to raise $170k as part of a larger $500k round. This money will be used to hire new staff in Ireland and release their mobile app.

The Breslins believe that the culture of the celebrity chefs and a lack of education in schools has made food and health overly complicated. Their mission is to bring that back to basics.

We’re bringing back the lost art of home economics and using technology to make it easier.” 

All startups face daily challenges and the biggest success to date for the Breslins has been closing their first investment round of +$400k. “This was validation and a huge milestone for the business and us personally.”

Breslin concludes with some powerful stuff, “With the emergence of new technologies such as wearables, internet of things and 3D printing our vision is for Sian’s Plan to be at the center of your digital kitchen, where these technologies meet.”

Advice for fellow starters?

  • The most important thing about trying to get a business off the ground is to be able to get up in the morning and push on after you’ve been told no 10 times the day before.
  • If you have a passion and are willing to work hard then what’s stopping you! Get to it already, you’re just as good as anyone else.
  • Carry on the rich tradition of Irish people throughout the world. If myself or any of the team at Sian’s Plan can be of help to people starting off then contact us any day of the week. I’m not saying that we know it all but we’ve learnt a fair bit over the last few years and are more than happy to share some of those learnings with you.

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