Saturday last week, I attended the Startup Day 2015 at Münchenbryggeriet, Stockholm. This is an annual entreprenurial event, arranged by Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, gathering around a thousand entrepreneurs and those interested in entrepreneurship. During the event, several talks and investor pitching sessions were held. Those attending the talks had the opportunity to listen to entrepreneurs sharing their stories about how they went from an idea to a business; the obstacles they faced and how they overcame them to get to where they are today. In other words, very inspiring for future entrepreneurs.
Fredrika Gullfot, PhD and co-founder of Simris Alg had an interesting talk about how bad the fish oil (Omega-3) industry is and how her company is a better alternative for manufacturing Omega-3 pills. According to Fredrika, around 600 mackerels are used to make a bottle of Omega-3 pills. Given the amount of bottles that are being made and sold, the amount of mackerels being used is tremendous. This is not sustainable since the ocean will eventually run out of mackerels, a problem which some regions in Africa are already experiencing. Fredrika mentioned, while organizations such as Greenpeace raise awareness about the problem through risky protests, Fredrika decided to actually do something to combat the problem. Fredrika and her business partner came up with the idea to grow algae. Because Omega-3 actually originates from the algae that the fishes eat, producing Omega-3 pills from algae instead of fish is much more sustainable. This is what the company now does. Since its start in 2010, the company has managed to get 37 million SEK (4.38 million USD) in investment and as you can imagine, the company is going very well. Fredrika ended her talk with a great quote “Be the change you want to see in the world. Start a company”. The first part of the quote was coined by Ghandi.
For someone like me, who spends most of the time in the lab interacting with scientists and discussing science all day long, it’s nice to get out of this bubble to listen to creative and inspiring people with great ideas on how to improve the world. It´s also a confidence boost for those, including myself, with an idea but have not tried to turn it into a business yet.
In short, this was very inspiring event! Highly recommended for those interested in entrepreneurship. See you next year?