These entrepreneurs are making the impossible possible
Inside the mission of two Techstars Sustainability companies
Could fish poop be transformed into a rich, nutritious protein source that feeds farmed animals? Could lumber mill waste be converted to a type of plastic that biodegrades?
These are the challenges that two of the companies in the 2020 class of Techstars Sustainability Accelerator are solving. (Techstars Sustainability is a program of Techstars in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.) These companies are making what seems impossible, possible.
How do you make the seemingly impossible be possible?
Sometimes it’s technology that makes what seems impossible be possible. At other times it’s creative thinking — letting go of all you know and using a different approach. And it’s often a combination of the two that makes what seems impossible become possible. Below are a two companies from the 2019 Techstars Sustainability class that are making things possible through both creative thinking and technology.
Transforming poop into food
Don’t be grossed out yet. microTERRA is developing an exciting, revolutionary technology. It treats farm runoff — pee and poop — with an onsite water treatment system using microalgae that consumes the waste and the microalgae grows into a healthy protein food source for farmed animals and fish.
microTERRA’s microalgae filter is being used initially with fish farms in Mexico and it’s environmental perfection. Why? Because it’s capturing three forms of pollutants (pee, poop and fertilizer) before they enter streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean and converting them to clean water and food for farmed animals. The company is creating a perfect system of eliminating environmental pollutants and returning clean water and food to the environment.
Converting waste into biodegradable plastic
Scientific American magazine named bioplastics the number one emerging technology of 2019 and featured mobius, another Techstars Sustainability company, as one of the leading bioplastics companies. Plastics have become one of our most critical environmental problems — just ask the fish, turtles, whales and other ocean life. Current projections are that by 2050, the ratio of plastic to fish in our oceans will be 1-to-1.
mobius, mobius is a public benefit corporation and their mission is, “To create a world where there's wonder in waste. It uses chemistry and biology to transform waste from food, forestry and agriculture into a biodegradable plastic. The initial product converts lignin, a byproduct from paper mills, into a plastic material that can be molded to replace almost any plastic product currently being produced (such as the large plastic pots that flowers and trees come in). When the mobius biodegradable product is no longer needed, it completely decomposes into water, compost and CO2.
What’s the entrepreneurial belief that makes what seems impossible be possible?
microTERRA and mobius are solving challenges that initially seemed impossible to solve. The solutions reflect a belief system I’ve noticed that most highly successful, creative entrepreneurs have. It’s the belief, “We can find a way, even if we don’t have a freaking clue today.” It’s a mindset ripe for creative solutions.
What seems impossible in your life or business? Are you ready and do you have the right belief to make what seems impossible to become possible?
To learn more about the Sustainability Accelerator and the eight other startups involved, click here.