Poles go to the world with an alternative to plastic. They want to solve an important global problem

Initially, we combined our own funds with investment funds to create a formula for advanced fibrous materials and their production process. Investors who understand deep technology are starting to appear in Poland. We had to do a lot of research and build experimental devices that couldn’t be borrowed from other processes. Research efforts culminated in the development of a unique process, thanks to which we can produce fibrous eco-materials with features that did not exist until now – says Tomasz Siamolsky, CEO of the startup FibriTech, in an interview with Mambiznes.pl .

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The project will participate in this year’s event for startups Infoshare. The Poles have an idea to conquer the world with biodegradable materials that will replace plastic.

Grzegorz Marynowicz: When did your adventure with work begin? Where did the decision to start a startup instead of a full-time job come from?

Tomasz Siamolsky: Our adventure is to find cutting-edge technical solutions to important global problems. When technology works, it begins to pave the way for business development, but first you have to find an idea for a new invention that can be implemented in business. In general, I am a person who has been looking for unusual challenges and problems to be solved with the help of technology almost all my life.

Did you have any work experience when you started? How was your start?

I have spent several years of my career in Scandinavia creating technologies for others as well as through my (sold) startup. Returning to Poland I began looking for another challenge, using some experience and contacts from other countries. This is how in 2018 the idea of ​​a new eco-materials made of organic fibers and the construction of a new engineering team was born in Warsaw.

Why just such work? Where did the idea to start working on an ecological alternative to plastic and other petroleum products come from? What is your product?

The recently popular software-based business will not solve the real environmental problems as the world is polluted and the resources of the mines are depleted. A revolution is needed in the ways to produce new environmentally friendly materials. Multidisciplinary experience from previous projects allowed us to take on the challenging task of creating a new process for the production of organic fiber materials with a wide range of performance parameters.

What does the competition offer that the competition does not offer? What do you give to the customer?

In our process, we construct fibrous spatio-material structures with tuned fiber density by stretching them within the 3D structure. This technological approach creates, inter alia, an alternative to light and wide materials such as polystyrene and other foamed polymers or an alternative to mineral wool. The same technology also makes it possible to produce lighter construction and furniture panels that do not lose their mechanical resistance and at the same time are a good heat and sound insulator. In addition, 3D fiber expansion technology enables management of organic fibers of any origin, including waste and recycling. The application we focus on in the first stage of scaling up the production process is biodegradable growth substrates for modern hydroponics.

Do you operate in the local market or perhaps put your mind to the global market immediately?

We are in the process of creating a new branch of the materials industry, which requires global plans from the beginning.

How much capital is required to start a business and what is the purpose of these procedures? Was the investor supporting you?

Industrial hacking requires a lot of resources. Startup ecosystems are accustomed to such thinking in the age of the internet and a stable oil-derived industry. Initially, we combined our own funds with investment funds to create a formula for advanced fibrous materials and their production process. Investors who understand deep technology are starting to appear in Poland. We had to do a lot of research and build experimental devices that couldn’t be borrowed from other processes. Research efforts culminated in the development of a unique process, thanks to which we can produce eco-fibrous materials with features that did not exist until now.

You fund the activity all the time with no outside funding. How do you do that and don’t need funds to scale your business faster?

In such a project, you first of all need to build and scale a new production process. Neither the materials nor the process can be sold until the first pilot plant is completed. It requires a lot of resources, but then the amount of business opportunities is huge. For this reason, we apply, among others for grants and investment support for programs such as EIC Accelerator. So the work is based on the premise that we have created a useful and scalable industrial process.

Who is the main customer?

Our customers are the factory owners of the future, and they can be divided into two categories. The first is conscious business players who see for themselves that the future must be environmental and actively seek to implement sustainable solutions. The second are manufacturers who must soon find an alternative to environmentally problematic materials, which are imposed by new environmental regulations. They both research the market extensively, so accessing them is very easy. It happens that global companies give us their reports based on the news in social media or after industry speeches.

What is your business model?

Our target customers are plant operators, to whom we sell production technology in a range of unique processing machines and process licenses along with the service of maintaining production quality over time.

Please tell me when did the moment come to believe that the idea worked and that it made sense? Or maybe you still have it?

The need for new environmental materials was so obvious that the decisive factor was the validation of the idea of ​​a new physical process. The first verification was made thanks to conscious experts and manufacturers who are looking for alternative technologies and have very positively evaluated the potential of our small material samples. Some have sufficient incentive to consider co-investing in developing and scaling up the operation at this point. Technological and economic analyzes conducted so far with the industry sector point to a further positive development. The final verification of technological, material and commercial facts will be carried out after the launch of the first trial production.

What is your advice to people considering their own startup? What mistakes should I avoid? What are you looking for?

Our context is the reality of an industrial enterprise. It is realistically difficult and requires a lot of capital. However, if someone has an idea of ​​industrial breakthroughs that bring us closer to sustainable development, now is the time to develop them. The world needs it, and in a short time there must be a radical change in industrial processes. Most venture capital is not yet ready for such projects, so seek as many industry partners and investors as possible.

Plans and goals for the near future?

Launching the first technology line in about two years. This will be the beginning of the possibility of significantly expanding the scope of the business by selling production technology for various applications.

Infoshare 2021 – The largest technology conference in Central and Eastern Europe, creating an ecosystem where new technologies meet business. The conference will be held on 14-15 October in Gdansk. Thousands of participants participate in it every year. Among them, start-ups, investors, company representatives, programmers and marketers. This year’s edition includes 5 thematic scenes, several hundred distinguished speakers from around the world, and nearly 200 presentations and workshops. During Infoshare 2021, we will also meet the finalists start competition.

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