CHAPTER 1: THE BEGGINING
Our story starts on freshman year in college where we studied biotechnology together. The three of us were first brought together by a shared passion for applied science and new technologies that might lead to a greener future. In the next three years we contemplated various research ideas but we lacked the neccessary skills and knowledge to give any of these ideas a fair try.
Vladimir, one of us three co-founders, is a beekeeper and we conducted a small student project to test supermarket honey products for traces indicating adulteration.
In this small, unpublished study we realized that the honey quality varies greatly with some samples (brands) containing levels of certain chemicals above legally allowed limits.
CHAPTER 2: THE IDEA
During our graduate university studies, we acquired a significant skillset in the lab, with each of us specializing in a one area of life-sciences.
For one university course we had to come-up with an original idea for commercialization of science with which we would compete with other groups of students in the course. Since Filip was interested in
microbiology and we already had some experience in beekeeping and associated research, we decided to combine these 2 fields- honeybees and microbiology.
We contemplated the idea of honeybee microbiome modulation after extensive research of published research. This all pointed to the indispensible role symbiotic bacteria play in honeybees' health and productivity. After pitching the idea on the aforementioned course, we were encouraged by the course leader to pursue our idea beyond the theoretical phase.
CHAPTER 3: THE COMPETITIONS
When we planned the neccessary research that would lead to the commercialization of our idea, we realized that the neccessary laboratory equipment, and bacterial media
would be exceedingly costly and that we needed funding. We then started applying and competing in startup competitions that give small grants to winners. Although we got positive responses from the first
few competitions we attended, we didn't win anything.
We had success when local government of the Istrian Region and the City of Rovinj supported our research with a small grant that covered most research expenses. This allowed us to obtain the first bacterial isolates from honeybees and acquire preliminary research data.
CHAPTER 4: FIRST ACHIVEMENTS
Our first major win at competetions was a second place we won at the national finals for University Startup competition. This enabled us to compete in the University Startup World Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark together with university startups from all over the world.
This competition enabled us to further hone our idea and research plan with the help of world-class mentors
from the agritech and biotech industries.
We have also gained many important business contacts and invaluable experience on the international stage.
CHAPTER 5: FURTHER RESEARCH
We continued research emboldened by positive results and reached a stage where we identified the most effective bacterial isolates as candidates for the optimal honeybee probiotic composition.
We ennumerated these isolates in large lab-scale production batches and then prepared a sugar syrup probiotic solution. We administered this solution to our test honeybee colonies and monitored several parameters of bee health and productivity, comparing them to untreated colonies. This stage resulted
in a prototype of our probiotic product.
CHAPTER 6: HARD WORK
The last startup competition we attended was actually the Demo-Day of a year-long incubation program for startups in Rijeka, Croatia. In this program,
out of a dozen startups we won second place and a cash prize for continuing towards the commercial production of our probiotic.
CHAPTER 7: IN PROGRESS...
We are currently raising additional funds we require for the optimization of our probiotic production process towards full-scale industrial production.
We are also preparing an IP protection strategy for our innovation and devising a marketing plan aimed at large commercial beekeepers.
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