Startup Stories: Bugfoundation
The entofood startup scene is buzzing with activity (pun intended). We had the pleasure to present our questionnaire to Osnabrueck, Germany-based bug protein startup Bugfoundation. This young startup designs delicious, healthy and sustainable food – made of insects.
Please introduce yourself briefly. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Baris Özel and with my friend and co-founder Max Krämer, I am founder of the Bugfoundation.
What is the unique appeal of the company you lead? How do you differentiate yourself from the competitors in your industry?
Taste, taste and… taste! Bugfoundation creates not only a sustainable and nutritious principle meal which outperforms regular meat products, but we’re constantly having the bigger picture in our minds.
By producing an insect-based food product, we’re opening a whole new food segment in general and therefore we want to convince our customers by offering quality, great flavor, shortly a perfect experience getting in touch with an insect based food product for the first time.
Of course there are other companies having a try and once we’ve paved the way for them, more will pop up immediately, however existing products are mainly situated in the snack area, wherefore we’re offering a high-quality principle meal alternative for everyone who wants to take care about himself and others as well as enjoy a unique texture and taste.
What was your inspiration for starting your company and how is your core team composed? What was your motivation?
Max Krämer and I got inspired on a trip to Thailand where we ate insects for the first time. In combination of geographer and businessman, we we’re bold enough to develop our idea further.
Our biggest motivation is the incomparable potential we are seeing in our high-quality product and gladly others are feeling the same about our revolutionary approach.
To what extend do you interact across the world and how important are the international markets for your company?
We’re seeing our central vision in revolutionizing the Western market, however familiar legitimate constraints impeded and delayed the planned market entry in Germany.
In the meantime, we’re using the Dutch market as production model and in retrospective this primary international orientation in Belgium and the Netherlands increases our leap and paves the way for future international collaborations. We’re not only aiming to supply European countries.
Which game-changing product can we look forward to?
Well, first of all THE ORIGINAL Bux Burger of course. With it’s 43% of insects it has the highest amount of insects of all food product and is supposed to revolutionize the market of insect based food products. It will draw huge attention to this new segment of food.
However we won’t lean back and relax on any success; more convincing and developed products are already in the tray.
How is Agtech/Food Tech going to change our lives and society in 5, 10 and 25 years?
Our main goal is to make eating insect something normal, part of our everyday life’s. Nowadays the land and water resources of our earth, which form the basis of the food production, are under enormous pressure. This means that the demand for agricultural products saving resources is greater than ever before.
By farming insects present producers will be able to modify their production more flexible and hopefully food waste can be reduced by generating a mature circulating concept as well. In general, consumers are seeking for product diversity, however this desired variety has to go hand in hand with sustainability.
The digitization of food retailers and optimization in planting are major areas which will be developed further. In the near future we will face vertical farming in food stores and agriculture will be optimized by analyzing soil conditions more efficiently by using drowns and highly specialized technology.
What can your company offer that other employers cannot?
Beside the incomparable atmosphere in our young, aspiring start-up, we offer the possibility of an autonomous workplace with a vision. We’re not only advertising with the fact that students and experts are allowed to put their knowledge independently into practice!
Especially at this stage our company offers great support for students who want to implement their own ideas and change the taste with Bugfoundation.
How important are foreign experience and international communications skills to you in the Agtech sector?
The Agtech sector will flourish further within the following years, that’s for sure. However foreign experience and international communication will take up a crucial place in this innovative field. Especially the Nordic, Scandinavian countries steadily seem to be one step ahead in comparison to other countries in the world.
Nevertheless we see it as our task to overcome this barrier of missing farsightedness and innovation in up moving countries as well. Knowledge share has to be seen as required tool creating a world in which we’re not only exploiting fertile ground until regenerability is impossible.
What career opportunities are currently given in the Agtech sector and how will these change in your opinion?
On one hand motivated employees will be able to collaborate with rapidly growing and flexible operating start-ups, but on the other hand a lot of interesting research must be done. Vertical farming represents a superficial game plan for food retailers to supply consumers with fresh foods without cooling-chains and additives lengthening the food products life.
In our field the Novel Food Legislation represents the starting shot for the development of insect farming and collaboration with farmers who quickly need an alternative to their loss-making businesses.
Which basic qualifications should an employee fulfil to get employed at your company? What are basic requirements to getting started?
I want to emphasize the importance of his or her “drive” as constitute basic qualification. We’re searching for people who feel related to our mission and who are personally engaged to sustainability and a health conscious life style.
Nevertheless, we need people who are team players, internal and external communication are crucial in every company and as third aspect I would name a dash of madness.
Which three qualities should an ideal candidate have?
If there was such thing as an ideal candidate he/she would be at least as nuts as we are and set on fire by the issue in order to fit perfectly in our team. Beside his/her practical experience in the certain field of studies the candidate should be able to implement creative ideas autonomously.
Therefore, one should definitely be ready to take responsibility.