Nivatha Balendra on growing your company, even in the most daunting times
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Over the last year, we have seen an important evolution in the global economy with increased focus on sustainability. At Dispersa, our goal was to continue accelerating despite the setbacks of the pandemic by quickly identifying opportunities. As the global crisis continued to develop, we noticed that consumer demand for products such as disinfectants and cleaning agents had amplified significantly. The cores of these products consisted of surfactants — surface-active agents that can break down the outer lipid bilayer of enveloped viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Being a surfactant-based startup, we knew that our natural biosurfactants could help in the fight.
As the pandemic progressed, we strengthened our efforts toward the cleaning-product field to capture the momentum of this strange time. We explored the antiviral capacity of our biosurfactants and discovered that they could be used within the context of disinfecting products. This provided us with an additional value driver to advance discussions with potential clients. The last few months gifted us with great opportunities for growth as we accelerated into the next phase of our startup journey through formalizing commercial discussions. Through this, we secured several letters of intent from North American cleaning-product manufacturers and are excited to launch our very first paid pilot project in the new year.
In addition, we have been working with clients in the petrochemical industry given their newfound interest to shift from petroleum-based ingredients to natural, bio-based materials, such as Dispersa’s biosurfactants. This move toward green chemistry is inspired, in part, by major brands like Unilever pledging to divert from petroleum-based ingredients to green materials as part of their global mission to foster circular economies.
Now, with the new year upon us, we are focused on scaling up Dispersa, both technologically and commercially. We look forward to setting up our 40-litre demo production capacity, which will be used to fulfill our first commercial pilot projects. By working together and leveraging our agility as a startup, we rose up from this trying period with even more opportunities than before. Despite the initial setbacks that the pandemic has presented, I am grateful to have an incredible team that adjusted to this new normal, and continues to work hard on our vision.