We check-in with clean-tech startup, SKOSH and Co-Founder and CFO, Tom Hackenberg – as he provides an update on their probiotic cleaner and their on-going collaborations with Novozymes.
Q: Can you give us a little update on where you are on the journey and what have happened since last time?
Of course,! we have been “live” now with our probiotic cleaner for about 3 to 4 months. Before that we did a lot of research and development with Novozymes in order to find the right balance of probiotic formulation, as well as some long term studies and technical analysis, which was completed in spring after which we created our first production batch.
We also did some market testing with our customers, to receive some feedback on the cleaners and how they use them, as well as their advantages and their disadvantages. We had one iteration at the end of spring/beginning of summer and since we have started selling we’ve already seen very good traction around the products.
Right now we are preparing for the next round of production and for a new batch of probiotic cleaners.
Q: How have you been collaborating with Novozymes?
We did a lot of technical analysis and product development, and then we took our idea to develop environmentally friendly cleaning tablets to Novozymes, who contributed their knowledge around probiotic cleaning. We more or less combined these 2 areas and came up with a probiotic cleaning tablet, which was tested over several months in all kinds of environments and fields.
In the future, we could see developing more product lines. For the moment though, it’s only one product, the specialized probiotic cleaner. We’re continuing to work on new product areas, such as surface cleaning and other fields or environments.
We had the pleasure to meet up with Simon and Max, on October 27th at their office, Minc, based in Malmö.
Some opportunities are too small for the big companies to pursue them from the beginning and that’s exactly the environment where start-ups are being formed and then, at some point, maybe the opportunity gets big enough for a big player to be interested in it as well and I think that’s something we can see in our industry as well and innovation is built that way.– Tom Hackenberg
Q: How has the open collaborative process with Novozymes helped you in accelerating the technology and the business?
I think it was great! I remember when we kicked-off the HelloScience accelerator/program, that there were many different parties who were able to give feedback, who had an idea of the industry we are working in and just wanted to help us going forward with the idea we had: of combining probiotics with our cleaning tablets.
I think in general, just being on the platform of HelloScience and having the different parties also following our stages and the development stages we had and giving feedback on those and every time is super helpful. At each stage we were able to state certain needs we had and problems that emerge and people in the ecosystem have been able to support us in those different areas as well.
We’ve also received great support from Marta Kinnunen-Grubb from Novozymes – who serves as our primary technical mentor – and the main technical support on our work has come from HHC EU Technical Service.
So, I think in general is good to have different groups and expertise combined, and that’s how innovations can emerge.
Q: Where do you hope you can take this collaborative approach in the future?
I see it mostly in new product development areas. We are now working on new product areas in different fields, both in household care but also personal care products. I think here is essential to get to know from existing players who have been in the industry for a while, in order to learn from them and they can learn from us at the same time. We might have a different view on the industry than they do and I think that’s the most valuable asset, to just combine these innovative companies and start-ups, and the industry players with a lot of know-how and expertise in different fields.
Q: How do the next 6 months look like for you? What’s the next step?
We are now in a very fortunate situation that we are going to raise a lot our funding round in the next 6 months in other to expand to other countries. Basically, we’re focusing on driving forward our international expansion, but at the same time drive the product development we have in our pipeline.
At the moment we still have a small team, so we want to expand it in order to explore more areas and opportunities Our core focus is to bring sustainability to household care – and so we’re constantly exploring ideas and opportunities for innovation in that space.