GRIT EDITION THREE - Flipbook - Page 13
CLASS OF 2020
By: Natasha Dhayagude; Co-founder,
Chinova Bioworks; Next Founders
Chinova Bioworks has developed a
natural preservative extracted from
white button mushrooms for use in
food and beverage products.
the use of this mushroom fiber to provide consumers
and brands with a clean-label solution. This technology helps to improve the quality, freshness and shelflife of food and beverage products while reducing
food waste and ensuring an abundant food supply for
the future generations.
As responsible consumers with backgrounds in
biochemistry and microbiology, David and I felt compelled to start Chinova Bioworks with the aim to deliver clean-label ingredients and reduce food waste.
Preservation is essential for almost all consumer products, but natural and effective solutions have been
hard to find. This is where Chinova fills the gap. Using a fiber extracted from the stems of white button
mushrooms, under the trade name “Chiber™” is the
healthy, clean-label solution to improve the quality,
freshness and shelf-life of a variety of products. Unlike other preservatives on the market, Chiber is natural, transparent and, effective at inhibiting spoilage
against bacteria, yeast, mold and does not affect any
sensory characteristics like taste, smell, texture or appearance of any of your favorite food and beverage
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
Natasha was named Startup Canada’s
Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 and
Startup Canada’s Woman Entrepreneur of
the Year in 2019 for her work with Chinova.
She holds a Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, from University of New Brunswick.
WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU SOLVING?
At Chinova, we’re working to eliminate
food waste. Did you know that $49.5B worth
of food is lost or wasted in Canada alone? This
staggering loss shows that there is no lack or
shortage of food, but that the culprit is spoilage. As co-founders, David Brown and I challenged ourselves to work with nature to find
the ultimate solution. The answer came in
the form of an extract from white button
mushrooms. At Chinova, we are pioneering
For most consumers, the clean label movement
becomes relevant when they are at the grocery store
checking out product labels and questioning the ingredients. It is more than a product’s ingredient label
and evolves as consumers become more and more engaged in the farm to fork process. As responsible consumers with backgrounds in biochemistry and microbiology, my Co-founder and I felt compelled to start
Chinova Bioworks with the aim to deliver clean-label
ingredients and reduce food waste.
Looking to nature, the founders came across a
natural and sustainable alternative to artificials in a
fiber extracted from white button mushrooms. Since
then, we have been working tirelessly to tap into the
amazing protective qualities of this mushroom extract
to maintain product quality, freshness, and shelf-life
in a sustainable way resulting in increased consumer
satisfaction and reduced food waste.
BEEN AROUND FOR
YEARS AND ARE DEEPLY
ROOTED IN THE FOOD AND
BEVERAGE MARKET. HOW ARE
YOU BREAKING INTO THE MARKET
AND THEN SCALING?
The key to commercializing and launching Chinova really stems from the relationship Dave and I
have as founders of the company. We both have different skill sets that complement one another really
well, this really helped us move through any barriers
that came our way. The first couple years of the company were heavily focused on research and development which is very time consuming and requires
a lot of patience. We were able to get through that
process by relying on each other’s skills and adding to our team along the way. Now at our current
stage, we have commercialized the technology into
the market, gained traction and launched products.
The next stage is continuing to scale the operations
of the company and raise funding. Though this process is tough for any entrepreneur, we as founders
have developed the ability to focus on “good conflict”, which focuses on the problem at hand and
coming together to find a resolution. This is what
helps drive the company forward to enable us to
reach the next level.
ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
Ducks have webbed feet which allows them to
paddle and swim in water more smoothly. When
ducks swim, they push their feet back in a kicking
motion so that the webbing catches the water and
they are able to swim forward. Be like a duck, calm
and controlled above water but furiously kicking
underwater to continue innovating and propelling
Learn more about Natasha and
Chinova on the latest episode
of RBC Disruptors