John Conroy’s Redesdale backs Louth start-up soothing children’s sore throats

Senior business figures are investing alongside food and wellness fund that has raised €27m

A new food and wellness fund backed by former Merrion Capital founder John Conroy has made its first investment. The Redesdale Food Fund, which has already raised €27 million, is leading an investment believed to be worth up to €800,000 in Soothing Solutions, a Louth start-up that has developed a honey-based product to help young children with sore throats.

Redesdale, which has €15 million of State backing through Enterprise Ireland, is investing in the company alongside Niall Fitzgerald, the former chairman of Unilever who also chairs Redesdale's advisory board, as well as Sean O'Driscoll, the former chief executive of Glen Dimplex, and Simon Cummins, who chairs the Redesdale Group.

Páraic Duffy, the former director general of the GAA, will join the board of Soothing Solutions as its chairman.

Soothing Solutions was set up by trained pharmacy technician Sinead Crowther, who is its chief executive. She started the business after becoming frustrated by the limited availability of products to soothe the frequent sore throats suffered by very young children, for whom traditional products such as hard-boiled lozenges are unsafe.


The Redesdale fund and its co-investors will assume a minority stake of less than 40 per cent in the business through a loan note that can be converted into shares in the business.

The investment will be spent on new production facilities in Dundalk, as well as on marketing and sales, as Soothing Solutions prepares to launch its newly-developed product in pharmacies nationwide.

Michael Cantwell, a partner in the fund, said it was impressed with the determination of the company's founders. Mr O'Driscoll, who left Martin Naughton's Glen Dimplex business in recent years after working there since the late 1990s, said he wanted to support "female entrepreneurship": Ms Crowther co-founded Soothing Solutions with its chief operations officer Denise Lauaki.

Ms Crowther revealed Soothing Solutions has already been working with the fund for several months, and welcomed its powerful “mix of co-investors”.

The Redesdale Food Fund, which aims to raise €75 million, was launched in December after its first €27 million round closed. Founded by Mr Conroy, its investment committee is chaired by Stan McCarthy, the former chief executive of Kerry Group.

Redesdale is also backed by Coca Cola, food business Tate & Lyle, retail group Musgrave, US firm Lord Abbett and Monaghan Mushrooms. Its marketing manager is former world champion athlete Eamonn Coughlan.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times