Girls who are obsessed with algae and, more specifically - the sustainable use of algae for environmental improvement. In other words, Algae Hive is a developed solution for making organic agricultural fertilizers from algae.
Last year, the Algae Hive team participated in the Alter State Nordic-Baltic Women Innovation Sprint, where they became the third-place winners! More inspiringly, the team continues working hard on its project until this day. We’re more than happy to introduce more about the Algae Hive concept in the following interview with all team members: Giedre, Viktorija, Ugne, Jadvyga and Dovile.
Let’s start with an introduction to what is Algae Hive?
We are Algae Hive, a team of motivated women driven by the idea to use algae for environmental improvement.
Explain us the existing problem. Why is it important to develop such a solution as Algae Hive?
To start with a very beginning, the sustainability aspects of algae production implementation seem to be indisputable regarding the possible benefits resulting from such technology. The versatility of algae application in fertilizers products and the very high nutritive and bioactive profile of this ingredient make this resource of high importance in a low-emission economy.
An up-and-coming option can be both the direct and indirect use of algae biomass in agricultural production, which may significantly affect the development of low-carbon agriculture. Socio-economic benefits and many advantages for the environment and ecosystems are important in the investigated problem area.
Tell us more about the progress. What keeps your team driven to continue growing after the Alter State Sprint?
Each of us is busy and we even have different work schedules, so it was pretty challenging for us to feel the pulse before we had a clear agenda.
One thing that boosted our project progress - weekly team meeting. Therefore, our team started to have regular meetings in 2021. We meet to discuss ideas, share our progress, and decide on further tasks. Weekly meetings help us commit to the team and find a gap of time for working on the idea. Our team is motivated by the idea itself because it might be a game-changer in the industry, and we really believe in its advantages.
Another progress reason - relation with our mentor. We are in contact with our mentor Irina who helps us shape the Algae hive strategy and to test out an idea as quickly as possible.
We want to know more about people standing behind the Algae hive. Please, introduce your incredible team members
Algae hive team is formed from five inspiring ladies:
Giedre, Business Operations & Design. She has recently started to work on her own as a freelance UX/UI designer and UX researcher, so she is often in touch with end-users who share their needs and behaviors, which then become material for the end-product design.
Viktorija, R&D. She is freshly graduated in a master's studies, biomass engineering study program. At the moment, she is working on the quality of automotive electronics.
Ugne has biotechnology, circular economy knowledge. She is focusing on the R&D part - how to produce prototypes and end-product practically.
Jadvyga, Business Development & Finance. She is a tax specialist who has accounting and taxation knowledge. She is constantly interested in various activities, hobbies that allow her to broaden her horizons and learn something new.
Dovilė, Business Development & Marketing. She is an experienced marketing professional skilled in brand building, new product development, marketing and communication strategy, customer journey processes. Always eager to find the uniqueness of the product.
Share the main issues your team is facing at the moment
Our main issue is doing research, especially during the pandemic. Previously we had issues related to biomass. It was hard to get seaweed from the Lithuanian Baltic seashore since the shore was frozen earlier.
Although we found the solution - our mentor Irina sent us seaweed from Denmark. Moreover, our team member, Viktorija’s relatives, brought seaweed from Norway. Finally, at the beginning of March, we got Lithuanian seaweed.
Our current issues are related to our prototype creation. We need to figure out the chemical composition of seaweeds and check whether to create a liquid or solid-state fertilizers. It takes time to do research, especially in Covid-19 times.
Looking from the future perspective. What are your main ambitions?
So far, our ambitions are to fully test the suitability of Baltic algae and create a working prototype. Once we do that, we aim to build a relationship with farmers to determine the final product's effectiveness.
It is important to note that this is not a fast consumption product that takes one day to get started, and everything is clear. Thus, to this day, our ambitions are to move forward slowly but surely and create a working prototype that would be something new, untried but would be accessible and harmless to use for farmers in Lithuania.
Algae hive team shared some golden rules for current or future entrepreneurs:
Giedre wishes for every woman to be daring and explore the unknown with self-confidence. "You should seek to feel confident and comfortable in the unknown because this is the only state when real creativity unveils."
Viktorija advises every woman to be and do what she really wants in her life and not worry about stereotypes!
Ugne shares even 5 tips, learned in 2020: 1. People who make a difference are builders, not talkers - a lot of people are amazed by the startup idea itself and do PR just before creating a real product/ service, but actually, it's hard work up front. 2. Don't worry about being a woman. Currently, there are fewer stereotypes. 3. Choose wisely startup ideas and team members. You need to trust your team and idea to make it grow for at least 5 years or decades. 4. Never stop learning. Life is dynamic, and everybody needs to adapt. 5. Don't worry about your prototype appearance. E.g., I've created my first 3 prototypes at home - by using primitive kitchen appliances. Suppose it is possible to make it at home or garage, not fancy offices. Industrial machines can produce the product.
Jadvyga wishes every woman to boldly take on various activities, although they may seem even utopian. "In this way, women will fully discover themselves and their best abilities."
Dovile suggests leaving behind the need to over justify your actions. "You know yourself best, which should be enough. So be creative and trust your guts!"
Thank you for the interview, Algae Hive team!