Spira: Simple Algae Food Replicators
Our solution's stage of development:Early
Spira tackles the problem of supply chain by creating microalgae farming systems that are effortless, and cost-effective to implement anywhere in the world while optimizing production. We’ve created novel food products as a means of showcasing the potential of algae to enable personalized nutrition and customized taste.
Food has a supply chain problem. We produce enough, we just can't get it to where it's needed. Spira grows microalgae that's 60% protein, with the micronutrients you need, while doubles daily. It absorbs 20x more CO2 than trees and filters 100% of nitrates and heavy metals from water. Our beverage provides bioavailable iron to treat anemia, a condition that affects 1.62 billion people worldwide. Our algae provides a vegan ingredient to replace animal protein. The total market for algae is estimated to be $44.6 billion by 2023. Spira is the technology for an algae food revolution.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
Based on NASA research, Spira grows microalgae, which is biologically the closest organism to derive pure energy from the sun, photosynthetically. We use spirulina as a food source, leveraging self-replicating biological systems to spread exponentially, doubling our cultures daily. Our bioreactors are manufactured using 3D printing, and incorporate IoT systems that measure and track growth to improve on nutrition, taste and yields through machine learning.
Our business model is to enable local algae entrepreneurs to spread our technology through peer-to-peer networks. We sell a consumer device that produces 10-20g of protein daily in your own home.
Our target outcomes:
We provide technology to local algae producers. They can then share their food replicator systems with their community, producing more nutrients than they need. Our aim is not to replace conventional agriculture, merely to ensure that anyone can get basic nutrition effortlessly.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
We've developed a modular and scalable photobioreactor system that can grow 24/7 with a minimum of 10x efficiency increase over current methods. We've also produced a novel live culture algae drink, protein powder, both of which have seen 100% customer preference over current spirulina products. These products can provide almost complete nutrition with a negative carbon load.
Why our solution is human-centered:
Our food replicator systems are modular, scalable and can be used personally or scale to thousands of liters virtually anywhere in the world. At the press of a button you can get your basic nutrients effortlessly.
In order to feed the bottom billion, we aim to implement a buy-one-give-one microlending system to distribute simpler systems to communities at-risk of malnutrition or in need of water purification systems using algae.
How people will access our solution:
Our business model is to enable local algae entrepreneurs to spread our technology through peer-to-peer networks. A single algae producer can be the source for their entire community. We currently sell a personal consumer device online that produces 10-20g of protein daily in your own home. We've shipped our units all over the globe and aim to implement simple systems in the developing world in partnership with the World Food Programme.
Technology-Readiness Level:4-5 (Prototyping)
How we will sustain our team financially:
We don't have to create our own algae farms, we merely leverage existing algae producers infrastructure and serve as the developer and tester of new technology. This enables us to be nimble and grow with each licensing deal while providing tools and equipment for algae producers.
We'll sell our technology to mid-market algae businesses while building a strong consumer brand to test new products. We aim to use influencer marketing to sell our consumer products and use our partners as the primary producers.
The factors limiting our success:
For novel food products we will have to overcome FDA regulation through a voluntary GRAS application.
There are only a handful of known consumable algae species. It is our motivation to open up the millions of unknown species tastes, flavor and nutrition through the usage of digital and synthetic biology, to make our food replication devices commonplace worldwide.
How long we have been working on our solution:2 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:3-6 months
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:6-12 months
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
We're looking to connect to people who have scaled technological solutions before. As a young team, there's a lot of unknowns and so having mentors who have implemented impact solutions in the developing world will be essential. In addition, we're just beginning to gain traction in our business and we need advice on what opportunities to take and the way to set ourselves up for success.
Our current partners:
Wellisen Nutraceuticals: wellisen.com
Halcyon Incubator: halcyonhouse.org