How did you come up with the idea for your business?
One Sunday morning walking along the beach with my co-founder Guido the shore was completely covered in the washed up algae. I asked Guido who has been working in food his whole career - ‘Can’t we create something delicious with this?’That’s where it started. And here we are now, creating New F!sh from co-fermented mycelium and microalgae. Seafood that provides us with all the nutrition we want out of the ocean while also helping her to thrive. Because we want thriving people and oceans. No pollution of our waters, over-fishing, or disruptive aquaculture. And no consumption of microplastic, toxins and heavy metals.But fat-free, low calorie and still full omega 3s, vitamin B12, B2, and due to our fermentation technology even pre-biotic fiber.Thriving. That’s what we aim for and what we do. With an international and two-generational team; entrepreneurship, food innovation, and a big drive for sustainability come together in a journey to explore the opportunities the ocean gives us.Koralo is our way of adding to a sustainable future of seafood!
What were the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business?
Endless challenges when you start your business building everything from scratch with limited time, resources and money you have to learn to really prioritise and just start, put something out there, make mistakes, listen to feedback and improve.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Trying the best you can yourself and then also building up a support system around you of team members, advisors but also friends and family. Every challenge is a learning so when you learn from what is going well and what isn’t you can also improve and overcome bigger challenges going forward - in the end most things are a matter of changing perspective and trying again.
Did you have any surprises along the way? If so, what were they?
Along with challenges the second most frequent thing facing a startup are probably surprises both negative and positive. I think it’s the beauty of a startup as well the unpredictability of the journey of how the startup will develop and what the original plan was vs how things actually develop. I think what surprised me most was just how much building a startup changes you as a person from who you meet to where you go and what you do.
How did you build your team and what qualities did you look for in your team members?
We always believed that it was better to grow slowly but sustainably and not hire and fire. Therefore, initially when we started we relied a lot on freelancers and bachelor and master students to support in building the company and with the first larger funding we started to hire looking for people that matched to the core values of the company.
What marketing strategies have worked well for your business?
Understanding and localizing marketing to the demands of our local customers has worked best for our company so far as well as always staying authentic and true to ourselves and the representation of our company.
How have you funded your business, and what advice would you give to others seeking funding?
We initially bootstrapped as well as got first funding from winning competitions and grants. Having proven our technology, product and initial market traction we sought external venture capital funding. I would advise anyone seeking funding to get awards and grants until you have proven your business and then seek external VC funding as this way you can build your business more sustainably.
What metrics do you use to measure your success, and how do you track them?
We use OKRs as well as KPIs to measure and track monthly as well as quarterly progress in all areas from sales to production to impact to personal development and have monthly as well as quarterly meetings to discuss and analyse developments.
How do you stay ahead of your competitors, and what steps do you take to stay innovative?
Always be your greatest critic and listen to all the negative feedback to try and improve your products, business and brand to continuously try and meet more consumer demands. Continuously also building out new technologies, processes and products to not stay in the comfort zone of what you do well but push the boundaries of what could be possible.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
1. Get a co-founder who you trust no matter what and will stick with you through the good and the bad.
2. Only start a business you really have a WHY for - understanding if the passion you need to put your heart and soul into the startup you want to build is enough.
3. Take a chance and believe in yourself and your idea and just start it