Cristina del Río, an account executive, traveled the world with her partner, the architect Daniel Baeza, and noticed that supermarkets and parapharmacies in many countries sold glucose concentrates in different formats. They were products with which diabetics like her could stop unexpected drops in sugar and she thought that in Spain they could also work.
However, it was not until 2017, with Baeza out of work and with the first daughter on the way, when they finally decided, with an investment of 5,000 euros, to create GlucoUp !, the company with which they sell more than 70 products that they buy from 13 suppliers .
Their tablets, gels and pills are found in 11 physical points of sale, but 90% of the almost 80,000 euros they invoiced in 2019 comes from online commerce. Although they are suitable solutions for anyone who requires extra energy, they were clear that the success of the bet depended on winning the diabetic client.
“At the beginning we implemented very unconventional strategies, such as contacting the references of this community on social networks. We do not hide that we have made many free shipments, ”says Del Río of the difficult beginnings, adding that over time they have managed to have an important part of the work done by 11 hospitals that they have dedicatedly persuaded to recommend their products. “As a diabetic, I know that there is no better commercial in this than your GP.”
Baeza, for his part, reveals that the company has had profits “from the beginning.” They have been helped by the “wide margin” offered by their products and the lack of fixed costs beyond renting a warehouse where they keep their stock , located near their home in Alcobendas (Madrid).
In a turbulent time in which many start-ups suffer the effects of the covid, they have bypassed them and claim to have already reached the revenues of 2019. “It is true that the orders have dropped somewhat, but the time that the customer has increased it is on our website and the average ticket, which is between 20 and 30 euros, “says the businessman, who places” between 200 and 250 “monthly customers, with purchases ranging from a few euros to 3,000.
According to the data they obtain from their sales channels, 25% of its buyers are not diabetic, and athletes are the group that is growing the most. “We are not authorized to reveal these collaborations, but there are top-level football clubs that purchase our products,” says Baeza. Glucoup’s great challenge! it is, both grant, preserving its market niche, something that the lack of its own product can make it difficult.
Del Río affirms that they achieve this through exclusive contracts with some suppliers “to the best of our ability and at the risk of not selling those products.” At the moment, they do not value entering investors and believe that the next movements will be to outsource the shipment of orders and, perhaps, to hire a salesperson.