In partnership with Tecno International, UCL School of Management recently hosted the inaugural Pitch Day of the UCL SoM SustainTech Pitching Competition. Our finalists pitched their ground-breaking startup ideas to a panel of experts and competed for one of three prizes: Best Pitch, Best Idea, and Audience Choice Award.
Taking home the Best Pitch Award were BioBright, who impressed the judges with their innovative algae solutions. BioBright is an online, eco-friendly business providing algae solutions as interior design decorations that not only limits the waste caused by the mass ordering of plants and flowers, but also minimises water and pesticide usage. We recently caught up with brother and sister co-founding duo, Vanessa and Aryton Barzasi, to learn about their entrepreneurial journey so far and the future of BioBright.
can you tell us about biobright?
BioBright is a company that specialises in providing algae plants as interior design decorations that offer both health benefits and environmental protection. One of the notable advantages of having algae plants as interior design decorations is the range of health benefits they offer. Algae plants are known to release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, which can help improve air quality and create a more oxygen-rich environment indoors. This can lead to enhanced air circulation and a reduction in indoor air pollution, potentially benefiting respiratory health and overall wellbeing.
Moreover, BioBright’s approach to utilising algae plants as interior design decorations is focused on environmental sustainability. By opting for algae plants, the company avoids the use of pesticides commonly associated with traditional plant cultivation methods. Algae plants are naturally resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical interventions. Furthermore, algae plants require significantly less water compared to traditional houseplants. They are highly efficient at water utilisation, minimising water waste and conserving this valuable resource. Additionally, algae plants do not contribute to soil erosion or nutrient depletion, as they do not require soil for growth. In terms of environmental impact, algae plants offer several advantages. They have a high capacity for carbon dioxide absorption, aiding in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, their growth does not contribute to deforestation, as they can be cultivated in controlled environments without the need for large-scale land use.
what inspired you to create this business?
The inspiration behind creating this business came from a personal experience and the curiosity sparked by an observation made by your brother. After losing my job at the Swiss embassy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself in a difficult period where I struggled to find my place and express my creativity. While searching for job opportunities in Switzerland, I realized that none of them resonated with me and failed to ignite my passion.
During this time, my brother noticed algae growing in a water bottle that was used to water plants in our garden. This observation piqued his curiosity, prompting him to delve deeper into the subject and learn more about algae cultivation. Together, me and my brother began exploring the idea of utilising algae plants as a unique business venture. At the same time, we always wanted to create a business that helps both people and the environment. We always wanted to create a place where people where just accepted for who they are without being judged.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE SUSTAINTECH COMPETITION PITCH DAY?
The SustainTech Pitch Day was an incredible experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. It provided me with valuable opportunities to enhance my public speaking skills and refine my business pitch. Initially, I felt a sense of fear and nervousness, but as I progressed through the pitch, I gradually became more relaxed and confident. The event was not only a platform for presenting our business, but also a valuable learning experience. I was able to receive feedback and guidance from experienced professionals and experts in the sustainability and technology fields.
The supportive environment created by the organisers and the attendees allowed me to feel comfortable and encouraged us to share our ideas. Reflecting on my experience, I highly recommend participating in the SustainTech Pitch Day to other entrepreneurs. It not only provides a chance to improve public speaking skills but also offers valuable connections, feedback, and insights from industry experts. The event creates a supportive environment that encourages growth and innovation, making it a worthwhile and memorable experience for aspiring business owners.
how did it feel to win the best pitch award?
Winning the Best Pitch Award was an overwhelming and deeply rewarding experience for you. Achieving recognition for delivering the best pitch among the participants not only affirmed your skills as a presenter but also highlighted the strength and viability of your business concept. It served as a testament to the value and potential of your idea within the sustainability and technology sectors.
Achieving recognition for delivering the best pitch among the participants not only affirmed my skills as a presenter but also highlighted the strength and viability of our business concept. It served as a testament to the value and potential of my idea within the sustainability and technology sectors. The win provided a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, as it allowed me to witness the tangible results of your preparation and dedication. It reinforced my confidence in the business and its potential for success. Furthermore, receiving the Best Pitch Award can open doors to new opportunities, such as increased visibility, potential partnerships, and further support for your venture.
where do you see biobright in the next 5 yearS?
In the next 5 years, I envision BioBright expanding its presence across Europe, becoming a prominent player in the industry. Our team is driven by a strong desire to make a positive change in people’s lives and the environment, and we are determined to achieve our goals. As we grow, I see BioBright flourishing with a team of over 100 dedicated employees who share our passion for sustainability and innovation. We will continue to attract talented individuals who are committed to our mission and can contribute to our continued success.Our focus will be on making algae more appealing and accessible to a wider audience. We believe that algae plants have immense potential in transforming interior spaces, providing health benefits, and contributing to a greener future.
Through extensive research and development, we will introduce a diverse range of products that showcase the versatility and beauty of algae as interior design decorations. Additionally, we will actively engage with customers, providing education and raising awareness about the benefits of incorporating algae into their living and working environments. We want to create a shift in people’s perception, where algae plants are viewed as not only aesthetically pleasing but also as essential contributors to healthier indoor spaces and a more sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, our expansion will enable us to establish strategic partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organisations, research institutions, and eco-conscious brands. These collaborations will foster innovation and allow us to continuously improve our products and practices.
what’s next for your business in the immediate future?
In the immediate future, our focus at BioBright is to secure contracts with prominent hotels and offices, as well as conduct workshops to raise awareness and educate individuals about the benefits of algae plants in interior design. We recognise the potential for large-scale implementation of our algae-based interior design concept in commercial spaces such as hotels and offices. By collaborating with these establishments, we aim to showcase the aesthetic appeal, health benefits, and sustainability aspects of algae plants. Securing contracts with well-known hotels and offices will not only provide us with valuable exposure but also serve as a testament to the credibility and viability of our business.
Additionally, we plan to organise workshops and educational sessions to engage with individuals who are interested in integrating algae plants into their living and working environments. These workshops will serve as platforms to share our knowledge, demonstrate the various ways algae can be incorporated into interior design, and provide hands-on experiences for participants. By empowering people with information and practical skills, we hope to create a growing community of algae enthusiasts who appreciate the value and potential of these unique plants.