By Hidayah Shahidan, CEO Zymeratics Sdn Bhd
“It is not just about getting investment to fund our startup but, more importantly, building networks and getting to know people who can help clean tech businesses grow.”
Climate change vs clean tech business
Science always fascinates me, and so does entrepreneurship. Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a scientist. I was once a scientist before embarking on this entrepreneurship journey. There was a moment in life when I realized that doing business is something that I want to do in life. I would say that my passion in both science and entrepreneurship has led me to become a technoprenuer. After all, with the thought that I can save the planet through green technology, I can still channel my passion in science and business by doing something that I like.
I strongly believe that technology is the way to help the world get better! Look around and observe, and we will see the benefits if we explore what nature can provide us. Solar panel technology is developed to capture the energy from the sun; water turbine generates electricity from sea wave; and there are many other natural resources such as waterfalls, rain water, plants, etc. that could be utilized to enhance technology. And, at the moment, our company, Zymeratics, is developing an enzyme that can tolerate alcohol to be used as biocatalyst in biodiesel production. Green technology is undeniably a way forward to reduce carbon dioxide emission caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
Currently, the raw materials to produce enzymes have to be imported from overseas at a high cost. This, inadvertently, increases the overall production cost.
We, at Zymeratics, see ourselves as a customized enzyme boutique manufacturer as we tailor-make enzymes based on customers’ specific requirements.
An enzyme is a protein that acts as biocatalyst to conduct biochemical reactions or to enhance biological properties. In other words, an enzyme is a raw material that can improve the performance of another product such as in clothes detergent, or speed up an industrial process.
Since industry in Malaysia totally depends on imported enzymes and they are currently being imported from overseas at a high cost, there is a huge need to establish a local manufacturing company to produce industrial enzymes. This is where we come in. We are proud to introduce our locally isolated enzymes to the existing local industrial enzyme users and to the world. We are proud to say that Zymeratics is established to promote the locally isolated enzymes to be used as biocatalysts and raw materials for the local industries. And, we believe that the future of the bioindustry in Malaysia will be transformed by the use of enzymes.
We, Zymeratics, joined Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), when we were at our infant stage – a 6-months old startup. Through GCIP, we gained valuable experience and moved faster that we could have imagined. We pivoted our business model based on market validation research, met and interviewed many potential customers among the existing local enzyme users. We have, indeed, learnt so much from them. Customers, no doubt, are one of the best business gurus. We do not want to end up building products that customers do not want to buy. In addition, GCIP also enables us to meet and mingle with other green-tech entrepreneurs.
Having a good startup ecosystem undeniably helps entrepreneurs to grow and expand their business faster. It is not just about getting investment to fund our startup but, more importantly, building networks and getting to know people who can help clean tech businesses grow. In my opinion, the startup ecosystem in Malaysia is very much saturated with IT and apps-based startups, and not much for biotech-based startups or other area of technologies. Therefore, I would like to congratulate MIGHT for taking the initiative to help green tech and bio-based entrepreneurs through GCIP.
The webinar series really helps to enlighten us on ways to validate the market, identify customer target segments, and prioritize target markets.
Undoubtedly, most startups have their own obstacles that need to be overcome in order to scale up. In our case, we got stuck when it comes to mass production of enzymes due to lack of facility. To set up a full-scale enzyme factory requires huge capital investment. So, we do it traditionally: making small investment to set up the factory part by part. Once we start generating enough revenue, we would pitch for more investment to build up other parts of the factory.
We, at Zymmeratics, would definitely love to mentor new startups. In fact, I have been thinking of setting up my own incubator program that gives out funding to biotech-based startups sometime in the near future.