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    Date submitted
  • 13-Mar-2016

Spira

Abstract

Spira creates hardware that grows, processes and engineers spirulina protein as a nutritional supplement. We're building devices to meet the growing demand of the $40.8 billion alternative protein market. Our scalable modular IoT devices produce the fastest-growing, cleanest and cost-effective protein using microalgae.

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Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Spira’s beverage solves the problem of a high-protein nutritional supplement, and particularly iron, for active females aged 25 – 35, ten percent or more of whom are anemic. In addition, it is a plant-based, low-calorie and low-carbohydrate option that allows for greater flexibility of use.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Anemia is a pervasive condition, affecting over 1.62 billion people worldwide, and is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the United States. Severe anemia particularly affects 16 million women in the United States. Anemia can result in reduced oxygen transport, causing fatigue and diminished physical capacity. Prolonged and chronic anemia can result in secondary organ dysfunction or damage, most notably heart disease. Currently there are limited nutritional options when it comes to iron consumption, particularly for those who have dietary restrictions. In addition, the target demographic most at-risk of anemia is seeking convenient high-protein, low-calorie, low-carbohydrate foods.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

We grow microalgae in a closed-loop photobioreactor system that can produce an estimated 10x the yield of spirulina daily compared to our competitors and be operated year-round. Conventionally spirulina is grown seasonally in shallow outdoor open ponds and due to its uncontrolled environment, needs to be thoroughly tested, adding to the total overhead of an organization. Since we can grow continuously and in a closed system, we can out-produce other spirulina suppliers in a smaller space with less overhead. Spira is currently working on bottling directly from our photobioreactor. Spirulina every 23 hours at peak efficiency and is 60% protein-by-weight with nearly 10x the amount of iron as spinach. Fresh spirulina has a neutral taste and so we keep spirulina as a live culture beverage, varying growth rates to extend shelf life beyond conventional means. Our brand is the first green health drink to deliver direct-to-consumer, to supply females with a natural source of iron, plant-protein and have minimal calories and carbohydrates.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Elliot Roth brings 10 years of synthetic biology experience to the team along with 6 previous startups experiences and 2 non-profits. He founded a nonprofit laboratory to conduct experiments, building and fixing his own equipment.