Simon Carty is a passionate sportsman and biochemist. He’s the 30-year-old founder of Amino, an innovative sports nutrition startup, providing new ways to keep the body fit and healthy, whether bodybuilding, or fending off the wear and tear of old age. Inspired by nutrition’s transition over the last 10 years, moving from the fringes of public consciousness, into the mainstream, Carty is on a mission to deliver more exciting, scientific products for ‘everyday athletes’; helping people to live better, for longer. Growth in the health and fitness markets has certainly been dramatic, and now seems a positive time to bring this new class of product to market.
“Originally, protein was only ever used in niche settings like bodybuilding” he explains, “but now you can buy a protein shake, and is recognised as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle”.
Searching for new ways to optimise his own nutrition as an athlete, Carty recalls, “I stopped using protein supplements 6 years ago, instead looking to apply the science [from his Biochemistry and Physiology degree at Loughborough University]”. He has been independently researching, and biohacking, to formulate better protein and nutritional products for himself. Amino has turned this research into new class of supplement. Proteins are broken down into their simplest forms, as liquid muscle-building solutions, for drinking. This promises users a targeted delivery of nutrients, and rapid absorption in the body; essentially doing the body’s digestive work for it.
Carty explains how, “the body breaks down proteins, from long chains of amino acids, into these smaller acid blocks. Amino has those building blocks as the core ingredient, in specific solutions. The speed of absorption is immediate into the bloodstream.“ He points to studies that show how after the age of 25, the human body slows down its ability to digest proteins, which affects nutritional intake. The body gets less effective at ingesting protein over time, so he sees an opportunity to rebalance this, and benefits may include a better ageing process. Amino promises users the most up to date nutrition technology, available online on subscription. Like the famous ‘Dollar Shave Club’, Amino plans to build trusted relationships direct with consumers on the back of a strong brand identity. Customers can order the ‘Essential Amino Acids’ products online now for £25/month. The company launched with a ‘training formula’, with 7 addition health focused products, including an anti-inflammatory, and 2 energy formulas, in the pipeline.
With a background combining pro sports and science, Carty is a first-time startup Founder, who bootstrapped the company through product development, design and market research, using £20k of personal savings. It is the most common way for entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground, but the process of raising money following this can be intimidating, and expensive on legal fees. Inviting investors to subscribe as new shareholders is often essential to growing a business, typically starting as a ‘friends and family funding round’. SeedLegals helped Amino to launch and manage this kind of funding round online, with the capital invested into getting a second Amino flavour on the market. SeedLegals helps you to complete Due Diligence, build a Warranties Schedule, create Board and Shareholder Resolutions, and every document needed to close your funding round.
Carty wanted to run the fundraising process professionally. “If you’ve not done it before, raising money for shares, and the anxiety of the legal work, slows you down” he notes. SeedLegals stood out in his research as a purpose-designed tool to help early stage entrepreneurs do this. “They made it so much easier.“ His business profile and term sheets for investment were set up within just one day, and the seed funding round closed within just 2 weeks. Founders log into SeedLegals to create their own legal documents, following guidelines set out on startup norms. The end-to-end cost for this investment round, including share certificates was just £700.
“I wanted to understand the process and have an educated conversation with my investors. Trying to talk finance and investment for the first time with other people is hard, but the communication is made so much easier by having it distilled in a simple format online.”
The learning value of creating your own investment term sheets for new investors, stands out as a key benefit. “The step-by process was very important as I hadn’t done this before. I now understand the process completely. They’ve taught me how to do it. Jack was amazing in customer service, and getting me through the platform. It was literally like being in a tutorial.”
“You’re trying to balance marketing, finance, legals, and product all at once. It was amazing to have someone there to hold your hand through the process. I’ve learned through it, and can now share know-how with other founders. I also wanted to store documents on the cloud. We have company employment contracts, finance and investment contracts in one place”
“SeedLegals gave me the confidence to discuss the investment terms and the process. I’m a huge fan – the platform has just been brilliant for someone like me, in my position. SeedLegals has levelled the playing field for entrepreneurs. It is democratising a complicated process… I would have honestly paid more money for it.”