Circular Economy Startup, NaturLoop, sheds their insight on some lessons learned as an early-stage startup.
Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?
Naturloop develops sustainable biocomposites by means of upcycling agricultural wastes. Our first product, Cocoboard®, is made of coconut husks and natural adhesive suited for furniture and interior construction applications. It’s a bio-based board, integrating circular economy and creating a positive social impact on the welfare of coconut farmers.
What is something you wish you knew when you started putting together your business?
When we were starting out, I was eager to seize every opportunity, but I realized that it’s important to focus my energy on activities which help grow the company, because not every opportunity is aligned to our goals. Developing a good business development strategy and finding the balance between maintaining and gaining new partnerships early on is key.
What plans do you have for your startup in the next several months?
For this year, we are looking forward to immersing ourselves in the Philippines to meet partners, customers, and stakeholders, to gain a clearer understanding of the market and the supply chain. We also want to understand the country’s business and interpersonal culture as much as we can. Aside from that, we will be finalizing the operational/technical plans for our first factory and boost our go-to-market strategy by engaging with more customers.
What is the most useful advice you have received so far?
I was fortunate to learn a lot from great mentors coming from different programs, but there’s a couple of things that I come back to. First, focus on the market which urgently needs your product, and second, do not make decisions based on speed. If it’s not possible to move any faster than you do now, then set goals and let them develop in the right pace.
How did you assemble your startup team?
We assembled our team through referrals from people who knew the project for a while. It developed naturally from that, but essentially, we sought people who share the same vision, and are excited about our product. As opposed to bringing someone based solely from years of experience, I think it’s crucial to look for similar values, enthusiasm, and drive.