The disruptive transformation S.Lab is bringing to the packaging world
Interview with Julia Bialetska, Co-Founder of S.Lab
Let us introduce you to S.Lab from our Batch #3 🌿. How did everything start with S. Lab?
Julia and Eugene founded S.Lab in 2020 to change the world’s perception of polystyrene and plastics. Before that, they were travelling and working remotely, one day finding themselves on the paradise island of Bali in Indonesia. Went to the beach to have a surfing session and enjoy the beauty of nature, but instead saw huge mountains of plastic that were covering the whole seacoast. It was such a devastating picture, that Julia and Eugene couldn’t think or talk about anything else except this plastic problem.
Eugene started researching all the articles, videos and information on the technology and materials side while Julia was actively looking into the market and existing solutions. And then Eugene came up with the idea to use hemp to create bio-composite. But then quickly understood that also a gluing component is needed. That’s when they went to the botanical institute in Kyiv (Ukraine) and explained their idea to the scientists. And soon enough scientists worked their way to mushroom mycelium.
“The world has changed and no one wants to use any more of this dreadful packaging that lasts hundreds of years when the products in it might be in use just for a few minutes.” For example, polystyrene - there is no recycling of it, and every single unit that was ever produced out of polystyrene remains somewhere in landfills, polluting soils, oceans and even our bodies. S.Lab packaging - the natural replacement for polystyrene
To unveil more about this genial idea, we asked a couple of questions from Julia Bialetska, the Co-Founder of S.Lab.
What are the problems that your startup helps to solve? And what is the solution?
“S.lab’s solution is a replacement for polystyrene and is truly green packaging, that consists of only two plant-based components, which are hemp and mushroom roots. When those two are mixed together, mushroom roots start to bind or glue everything together and we get a very strong and reliable material,” notes Julia.
S.Lab packaging is 100% biodegradable - after usage, it can be thrown with the rest of the garbage and it will fully decompose in just 30 days. This material has applications in various industries, like cushioning for beauty and self-care, lodgements for electronics and devices, thermally insulating boxes for food and pharmaceutics, packaging for shoes, clothes, decor and many others.
S.Lab 100% biodegradable package
What was your experience with Beamline Accelerator?
Understandings from workshops. For the Beamline Accelerator program, S.Lab set clear goals: to define a business model for the next scaling stage, find engineering partners, get more investors onboard, and work on the marketing and branding strategy. And the very first workshop was about business modelling from a very experienced mentor who spent most of his career helping to build business models for various businesses. That workshop was not only informative but very practical as we were doing exercises that immediately helped to define the 2 best business models for us. And every workshop was like that: very practical, on point and exactly what we needed for our startup.
A-peer-to-peer approach. We got acquainted with the other startup founders and could brainstorm all together on the struggles/problems/issues of each startup regularly. Such brain power working for your startup is worth a lot!
Also, we liked that we got to know many cleantech startups and visited them at their premises and it definitely gave us several ideas that we can implement for us. We also already have potential engineering partners that we continue to work on. We got as many investor intros as we needed and continue to work with those who got interested in investing in us.
Goal-settin’ = getting things done. At the beginning of the Beamline acceleration program, we set our goals for 3 months, 1 year, and 3 years. And to our surprise, we reached 95% of our goals for 3 months during Beamline acceleration. This shows how the program was really supporting each startup in their journey and adjusted the program based on where the startup needed most of the help.
What is the biggest value you got from Beamline Accelerator?
During the program, we signed a contract with a huge customer, raised 100K€, won a few competitions and advanced every part of S.Lab.
And together with all the great knowledge, intros, brainstorming, and hundreds of pitch practices we still had so much fun during the program! We as startup founders always felt seen and heard and Beamline was always responding to our needs. This is something that each founder should experience!
Beamline Accelerator is from the land of the unicorns, a topic-focused accelerator, where we offer a tailor-made approach to each startup, delivering services and networks to fuel organic growth.