Author: Webmanagement

Healthy Nutrition on a new level

In the last two blog posts we explained the best way to take golden chlorella and what positive effects the superfood can have on health. But how can it be that the tiny algae has such a large effect on the body? To answer that, let’s take a step back and take a closer look at the microalgae Chlorella – under the microscope, so to speak.

Each Chlorella cell is a self-sufficient organism that contains many vital substances. For example, it contains phytonutrients and cofactors in a balanced ratio, which is beneficial for the general restoration and maintenance of health. With its high content of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids and other vital nutrients, it provides a wide range of nutrients that the human body needs.

Since chlorella contains the important nutrients that the human body needs and can even have a healing effect, it is considered a life-extending food in certain countries like Japan. After the Second World War, the majority of the population consumed the microalgae Chlorella. Millions of Japanese people still consume the microalgae every day. So it’s no wonder that Japan is the country with the highest life expectancy: As of 2019, there are more than 70,000 people who are 100 years old or older.

How does it work? The nutrients in Chlorella are able to interact with the body in a way which promotes our ability to heal, rebalance and revitalize. Nowadays many individuals lack vital nutrients in their modern day died, leading to possible deficiencies, Chlorella is able to supply those nutrients. With its high nutritional content, Chlorella can help bridge the gap in people’s nutritional needs. In addition, the vitamins and minerals are bio-chelated. Meaning that they are naturally incorporated into amino acids, which makes them easier for the human body to absorb and process.

In short: Chlorella is a wholesome food with many positive effects on the body and our health, that can be easily integrated into the daily diet. When compared to other species of Chlorella vulgaris, the Golden Chlorella has the advantage that it is odorless and tasteless – with the same effect. That is why we at Alver have specialized in offering the microalgae Golden Chlorella for different tastes as required. Take a look at our recipes or in the shop.

Taking Golden Chlorella – a how-to

Golden Chlorella is a superfood that consists of just one single ingredient: the microalgae Golden Chlorella. It combines numerous important and healthy nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the freshwater algae is naturally golden in color and is almost tasteless. Therefore, Golden Chlorella can be easily integrated into almost any dish – but why should you take Golden Chlorella? And how much? We clarify.

Purifying effect of Golden Chlorella

In addition to external body care, it is important to also cleanse the body regularly from the inside. Because over the years, harmful substances accumulate in the human body – air pollution, heavy metals in fish or pesticide residues in other foods can be the causes. By cleansing our body and flushing out toxins, we enable our bodies to work and protect ourselves in the best possible way. And this is exactly where Golden Chlorella comes into play: In addition to the numerous nutrients it contains, the microalgae can also help detoxify the body. Many studies have demonstrated the chelating effects of Chlorella. The fibrous cell wall of Chlorella (Sporopolein) can absorb toxins, heavy metals (e.g. lead, cadmium) and various pollutants and thus help our body to excrete them.

The ideal intake of the superfood

To support the body’s detoxification process, golden chlorella is best suited in the form of protein powder. Of course, Golden Chlorella is also contained in the other Alver products. Since the powder has a higher concentration of the superfood than, for example, the pasta from Alver, the supporting effect of the protein powder on the cleansing process is higher.

If you are taking Golden Chlorella for the first time, we recommend starting with 5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) daily for the first two weeks in order to begin gently with the cleansing. The Golden Chlorella Protein Powder can easily be mixed into any dish or drink in the specified amount. From the second week of use, the recommended daily dose is 10 grams per day (1 teaspoon). As our product is very effective, the specified maximum daily dose should not be exceeded. 1 teaspoon (10 grams) of Golden Chlorella already has as much protein as half an egg, 100 milliliters of milk or 12 grams of a steak.

In order to carry out the cleansing as effectively as possible, one should pay attention to a balanced diet while taking the protein powder, do not smoke or drink alcohol. Anyone who is under stress or who is currently dependent on strong medication should postpone cleansing – likewise people who are very overweight or underweight. This also applies to people who have recently been exposed to large doses of heavy metals or pesticides (for example from amalgam fillings or excessive fish consumption) or who have been exposed to severe air pollution. And good news: intolerances when taking Golden Chlorella are rather rare.

The protein-rich superfood can be easily integrated into daily food preparation. This allows you to raise your diet to a new level of sustainability with 5 to 10 grams of Golden Chlorella per day. Please feel free to send us your feedback on your experiences with taking Golden Chlorella.

All around health with Golden Chlorella

Most people know that sitting in the office for hours, fast food for lunch, and the biscuits during breaks are not healthy. Still, many behave like that. Scientists assume that 70 percent of all illnesses are caused by our lifestyle. The connection has been proven in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancer. The medical journal “The Lancet” shocked 2017 with the news that 11 million people worldwide died from an unhealthy diet in 2017 alone. So with the way we eat and drink, we can protect ourselves from various diseases and extend our lives.

Many vegans and vegetarians are among those people who meet the criteria for a healthy lifestyle. Their particular challenge is to ensure they consume enough plant protein. When supplementing their diet with Golden Chlorella, they are fulfilling their responsibility of eating enough protein. The microalgae contains twice as much protein as beef or soy. The protein is of a very high quality and can be easily absorbed by the body. Golden Chlorella contains all eight essential amino acids the body requires, and other non-essential amino acids. With this microalgae, a mineral-rich protein supply is ensured with a meat-free diet.

The superfood also helps to compensate for other nutrient deficiencies such as iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency and vitamin B deficiency, for example an undersupply of essential fatty acids. These vitamins clean our vessels and protect them from calcification. Due to its many unsaturated fatty acids, the chlorella algae can help prevent cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.

Golden Chlorella is a true cocktail of health-promoting ingredients. For example, it has powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and thus delay cell aging; and at the same time also reducing the risk of cancer. Their antibiotic, anti-infective and antiviral effects strengthen our immune system, which protects us from colds, flu and inflammation. In addition, the microalgae have a revitalizing and invigorating effect on the organism, as it stimulates the production of red blood cells. This not only helps against tiredness and stress in everyday life, but also makes Golden Chlorella very popular with athletes. The chlorella algae is also known for its cleansing properties and helps the body rid itself of waste materials and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and pesticides. You can read more details about the detoxification process with Golden Chlorella in our last blog post. We influence our own health – through the way we live. A conscious lifestyle and physical activity have just as positive effects on our well-being as the right diet. The inclusion of the microalgae Golden Chlorella in the daily preparation of our meals – whether as muesli, pasta or protein powder – contributes significantly to maintaining our health all round.

Alver at Global WINConference: 2 – 4 (5) October 2019, Athens

In 2012, Alver Co-Founders Mine Uran, a recognized protein expert, and Majbritt Byskov-Bridges, an economist, met at the Women’s International Networking (WIN) Event in Rome in 2012.

Three years later, their paths crossed again when Majbritt was researching sustainable funds for a client, and Mine had just discovered Golden Chlorella, the most disruptive protein source she has found to date.

The right people, the right time: What started at WIN became a WINning partnership, indeed! When worlds collide, magic happens. Networking events like this are fantastic because chances are high that you meet like-minded people who share the same vision.

That is why, the two Alver founders, after having participated several times in the WIN Conference over the last few years, decided to partner with the event for its 22nd anniversary edition.

This year, the iconic WIN Conference is taking place on 2 – 4 (5) October 2019 in Athens. Participants will gather at the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso Hotel for the 22nd anniversary edition of the pioneering leadership experience for company executives, managers and entrepreneurs.

WIN is a pioneering leadership experience for company executives, managers and entrepreneurs. The unique 3+ day conference features an innovative and interactive program and is not only about the magical energy, the creative approach or the ease of connecting, it is also about conscious business and practical application.

The conference proposes an outstanding roster of world-class speakers, carefully selected plenaries, workshops and forums that are designed to provide useful and diverse learning opportunities, with the aim of expanding possibilities in all aspects of your life.

alver win conference golden chlorella benefits

Mine and Majbritt will be speakers and share insights in their startup journey with the audience. Beyond that, there are many reasons why you should participate in the WINConference! You will:

  • prepare yourself for the future
  • find the spark to start new projects and the readiness to take on new roles
  • feel inspired, calm and nurtured
  • discover how to create the companies you want to run, work for and buy from
  • gain insight into evolving career opportunities
  • get access to an impactful community of support and meaningful connections
  • attain clarity of purpose and enthusiasm for developing your feminine, authentic and global leadership style
  • return with a clear and focused vision, ready to accelerate your contribution to the world…

The organizers at WIN are passionate about offering practical tools to help you prepare for the future, express your creativity, nurture your authentic strength and develop new competencies.

At WIN you will meet other amazing and aware women and men; all conscious decision makers and pioneers in their respective fields. These are solid individuals who make things happen in the world in a completely new way.

Here’s a call for you to join them. A powerful network of influence awaits you! Register today to join the Global WINConference for a truly unforgettable experience: www.winconference.net

Alver Golden Chlorella Founders Mine Uran Majbritt Byskov-Bridges

About Alver Founders: Mine Uran and Majbritt Byskov-Bridges

Mine Uran is a globally recognized expert in protein. She is an industrial engineer with an MBA and has led teams at Unilever and DuPont (receiving the Marketing Award in 2008). In 2013 she was headhunted for the position of Head of Protein at Nestlé. In 2014, Mine was invited to the White House to discuss the future of sustainable protein.

Having spent years reviewing different sources of protein, from animal and plant, Mine has come to the conclusion that Golden Chlorella is the protein of the future. This is why she decided to leave Nestlé, to found her own company and to concentrate specifically on the development of micro-algae, which she believes, will help solve the increasingly worrisome protein issue the world faces today.

Majbritt is an economist with an MBA. She started her career on the trading floor at Morgan Stanley, moving on to strategy consulting at Monitor/Deloitte and has spent the past 10 years building the Guardian Wealth Management office in Switzerland. Majbritt has been part of shaping the Alver strategy and supporting Mine’s dream for a more sustainable world.

About Alver Golden Chlorella

Mine Uran (CEO) and Majbritt Byskov-Bridges (COO) founded Alver Golden Chlorella in September 2016. The Swiss startup specializes in the development and production of finished food products with vegan protein, predominantly derived from the microalgae Golden Chlorella.

Alver’s mission is to provide highly nutritious, tasty, healthy foods to help feed the world’s growing population while respecting the environment. Golden Chlorella is a sustainable, 100% natural, gluten and lactose free vegan source of protein. It is truly distinctive and innovative because of its neutral taste and lovely golden color which is achieved through a natural fermentation process.  In fact, Golden Chlorella is the most sustainable protein source available today as its production does not require arable land, only water, light and a little sugar.

alver golden chlorella vegan protein comparison beef

The breakthrough has been the innovation of removing taste and colour typically associated with algae products to make Golden Chlorella the incredibly versatile product that it is. Golden Chlorella is a game-changing ingredient in the food industry as it can easily be added to all foods without disrupting consumers’ eating or cooking habits.

It will help reduce animal protein and make a large positive environmental impact globally. This unique product is effectively taking micro-algae from a complement to an easy-to-use daily ingredient that will improve both our health and carbon-footprint.

Alver was launched in 2016 with a very successful crowd-funding campaign that contributed to the brand’s notoriety beyond Swiss borders. Since then, the young, innovative company has already been distinguished with numerous awards:

  • Grand Prix Generation Entrepreneur 2018, Switzerland, 1st prize, 2018
  • Switzerland Mass Challenge Acceleration Program 2018, EIT Food Award, 2018
  • Agri & Co 2018, Fribourg, finalist, 2018
  • Start-up innovation challenge, Frankfurt, Best Natural Ingredient 2017

Taste Alver Golden Chlorella at Manor Genève Cornavin

From Basel to Zurich, via Baden, Locarno Lausanne and Geneva… Manor is present in the most attractive locations in Switzerland and is an integral part of the daily lives of many of its inhabitants. The Manor Group includes 61 Manor department stores, 31 Manor Food supermarkets and 29 Manora restaurants across the country. In total, Manor stocks over one million items from around 2,800 suppliers worldwide. Of these, around 690 are local producers who deliver seasonal and local produce to the Manor Food markets. We are very grateful to be able to propose Alver to shoppers at Manor!

Alver Golden Chlorella Tastings

Every Thursday, from 11:00 – 14:00, come to taste our delicious products with Alver Golden Chlorella at the Food Market in Manor Genève Cornavin! Freshly made smoothies that are supercharged with vegan protein from microalgae for that extra boost throughout the day! If you don’t manage to stop by our stand you can simply take a smoothie with Golden Chlorella from the display.

Did you know: Golden Chlorella contains 30% protein (meat has 25%) and is rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B. Chlorella is mostly known for its immune system boosting properties and for cleansing the body, especially from heavy metals. Other benefits include cognitive, eye and skin health. It is also known to reduce the need to snack as well as to promote weight loss, lower blood sugar and cholesterol.

Like to the smoothies, that you will be able to taste at Manor, Golden Chlorella can easily be added to all your favorite everyday foods without altering their taste. The protein powder derived from this highly nutritious aquatic superfood is taste-and odorless! You can read about all the benefits of Golden Chlorella here >>>

alver manor geneva cornavin

Fun fact: the company name “Manor” is a contraction of the founders’ names Maus and Nordmann.

The history of Manor begins at the end of the 19th century – indicative of the later development of the company – in French and German-speaking Biel. This is where the brothers and wholesale dealers Ernest and Henri Maus make friends with their customer, retailer Léon Nordmann. In 1902, the three far-sighted businessmen join forces to open the “Léon Nordmann” department store on Weggisgasse in Lucerne. Encouraged by its success in Central Switzerland, the Maus Brothers, whose wholesale business Maus Frères was headquartered in Geneva since 1901, are encouraging their customers to open their own department stores.

The company name Manor – composed of the name Maus and Nordmann – was created around 1965 to build a new corporate identity. Since 1994, all the department stores in German-speaking Switzerland that belong to the company have been renamed Manor, and since September 2000 all the stores in western Switzerland and Ticino as well.

Today, Manor AG is headquartered in Basel and a subsidiary of Maus Frères Holding in Geneva.

Buy Alver Golden Chlorella in Fribourg: La Sage Espace Bio

In Fribourg, we have partnered with La Sage Espace Bio in order to propose a selection of products from our range. Here, you will find:

Alver Golden Chlorella Vegan Protein Powder
Alver Golden Bean Vegan Protein Powder
Alver Golden Chlorella Vegan Protein Bar – Chocolate
Alver Golden Chlorella Vegan Protein Bar – Goji Berry

Besides Alver, you can find wonderful natural products at La Sage: soaps, shampoo, masks, lip balms, bath salts, perfumes, massage oils, make-up… and also tea mixes and infusions, dried medicinal and aromatic plants, handmade syrups, durable every day essentials, biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes and other bamboo bathroom accessories… most of the products are created by small artisans and manufactures that are based in Switzerland. Particular attention is paid to sustainable packaging solutions.

Whatever your needs or desires, at La Sage Espace Bio you will surely find the right products and personalized advise. A selection of quality products is available for tasting every day. It is a goldmine for gift ideas, too!

alver golden chlorella espace bio la sage fribourg natural sustainable products

If you have 30 minutes spare, why not benefit from a free adullation therapy session offered at La Sage? Andullation is a relatively new treatment method that is part of the so-called ‘biophysical’ therapies. For more than 10 years, it has been applied to reduce pain, increase sports performance and establish wellbeing. Essentially, andullation is a combination of mechanical vibration and infrared heat. Here, you can try it and see if it is for you!

Something else you may want to try: light therapy. You see, there are lots of interesting things to discover at our partner La Sage Espace Bio. When in Fribourg, we recommend you pay them a visit and do yourself some good!

Open: Monday – Friday, 8:30 to 18:30, Saturday, 08:30 to 16:00
Address: Boulevard de Pérolles 29, 1700 Fribourg
Contact: +41 26 321 32 32, info@espacebio-lasage.ch
Online: www. espacebio-lasage.ch, @LaSageEspaceBio

Alver Golden Chlorella CEO Mine Uran at CNN Money Switzerland

According to CNN Money, Switzerland is a leader when it comes to innovation and female entrepreneurs are at the forefront. This summer, CNN Money Switzerland is highlighting startups founded by female entrepreneurs in a special series. They teamed up with www.startupticker.ch and handpicked those businesses with strong Swiss roots but an international outlook. One of the featured startups is Alver. Co-founder and CEO Mine Uran was invited over to Zurich for an interview with Ana Maria Montero.

What is SWISS START-UP TOUR by CNN Money Switzerland all about?

This is what is says on www.cnnmoney.ch: “Let CNNMoney Switzerland introduce you to the emerging companies making their mark in Switzerland and beyond. We travel across the country to track down female CEOs who have been recognized for their distinctive vision and ability to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. Discover the challenges and lessons they’ve learned, the hard choices they’ve had to make, and about that one moment when they knew that they had made it. Food engineer Mine Uran prides herself on upending conventional wisdom: She launched Alver, her superfood start-up, at age 50; rejected the advice that she needed to hire a man in order to raise more capital; and dared to turn down VCs over term sheets that didn’t suit her. This is her story.” Full interview in this video >>>

Alver CNNMoney Switzerland Alver Golden Chlorella Founder Mine Uran Swiss Startup Female Founder Avieta Claessens Photography

Mine, you are a food engineer who has been looking for the last 20 years for the ideal, non-animal super protein. Now this seems to be a long time looking for something so specific, what brought this on?

I started my career in the food area, and more and more realized that animal proteins are not very sustainable in the long-term. The reason I have looked into micro-algae today is also for the land use. Because today our land use per capita is decreasing. Not only because of the growing population but also because of the urbanization. Currently, we are using only 12% of the arable land and it will be reducing. The land use per capita is very important this is why I decided to look into the sea. As the sea covers about three quarters of our planet, I looked into microalgae as a source of sustainable protein.

Okay, so it sounds like your motivation is really much more about sustainability than it is about health, for example. Or both?

It is both. As we know, well as we started to figure out over the last few years, too much animal protein over the long term, is really not that healthy for our body. To find sustainable protein, which is also healthy, was my aim. Microalgae naturally contain 60% of protein, but also a lot of minerals and vitamins. Especially our microalgae contain also Carotenoids, so it is a very healthy food that can really feed the world.

Talk to me about the market for this kind of microalgae products!

Okay, algae are commonly knows as a healthy product. But the problem is the taste. That is why we grow microalgae in an environment that prevents them from developing this typical algae taste. Ours tastes natural but neutral. And because of this neutral taste, it can be added to any food without altering its taste. If you want to eat pasta, you eat pasta, if you want to eat sauce, you eat sauce… no taste of algae!

That sounds like you have to overcome this issue of perception, right? Because people perceive that algae is going to taste terrible. How challenging is it to convince people otherwise?

It is challenging for us, which is why we do a lot of tastings. This summer, we will do a lot of tastings with smoothies at COOP. So if you are at COOP, look out for our products and taste them in a smoothie. You will definitely be surprised!

Now the main ingredient, I guess, is something called Golden Chlorella, a 100% natural algae that is yellow and comes as a kind of powder. Walk me through: how it becomes that! How do you get the algae out of the sea and into the products?

Okay, so the baby algae we found in Holland, in sweet water. But then, we started to grow it in a very good, closed environment to make sure it grows healthy and that only microalgae are growing, not other bacteria. In addition, we keep the algae away from light and only use sugar as a feed. Growing in the dark, it doesn’t develop a green color. And it develops carotene, which gives it this nice yellow color.

Alver Golden Chlorella Microalgae Vegan High Protein Powder

This sounds quite complicated. Is it a complicated process? And is it expensive?

No, it really is not complicated. You just grow it with sugar and dry it. It is not an expensive process either. The cost is only high at the moment because the quantities we produce are small. Once we grow, the cost of production will significantly reduce with volume. And this is what we are doing now: we want to extend our production capacity. That is also why we are looking for an investment of 3 Mio. So, if somebody wants to do something good for the world, just call me!

So this is where you are with your funding at the moment: you are looking for 3 Million Swiss Francs in order to start scaling.

Yes, that’s right. That will allow us to scale and once we can produce large quantities, the price can be reduced to just CHF 2 per kilo.

That really is not a lot. And talk to me about your searching for funding. What kind of investors are you looking for? Do you go for venture capital, for private investors or just any kind of investment at this stage? And how do you go about finding funds?

No, we really are looking for investors who are interested in making a long-term investment and also want to do something good for the world. For me, it is not a question of getting this money and then selling the company 5 years later. It is a long-term investment. It is a 10-year plan that I have, not a 5-year plan. So maybe Alver is less for venture capitalists and more for family offices and private investors who want to make a long-term, sustainable investment. We started with crowd funding, with private people. We raised CHF 250’000 two years ago which allowed us to develop the product. Now we finished our second seed-funding round and obtained 1 Mio. from a person that is a business angel. This money will allow us to develop our marketing and to increase the notoriety of our brand. To this day, we have 12 different products: powders, bars, soup, pasta and sauces… and then for 3 Million, well, this is the next round.

How much independence do you have?

Well, to be honest, we refused some well-known venture capitalists when we saw their term sheets. Because my focus, my goal is not to make money but to do something good for the world. We need money, yes. And we will make money, but this is not my primary goal.

And do you find that the fact that you are a woman has any influence when it comes to investment and looking for funding?

Yes! When we were first going out and looking for funding, because we are two female founders, someone told us “You need to get one man into the team to raise more money.” Which we didn’t do… But that’s okay. Those are all perceptions. I always worked against perceptions.

Alver Golden Chlorella Founders Mine Uran Majbritt Byskov-Bridges

Alright, so no men. It’s a fully female team. And is there anything in startup that you consider company policy?

For us, the philosophy is… we are really looking for sustainability-focused people. They need to have this feeling and sense of urgency to do something for the Earth.

You are a vegetarian, right? So you are really living the talk as we say. And now you produce this superfood. We hear this and that about superfood. Honestly, how much of it is just hype?

Yes, I am vegetarian and its good; really satisfying. Now with regards to superfood, I cannot speak for the others, only for our products. We are very open and transparent. We always share our nutritional information; there is a full page of nutritional profiles of our products: the minerals and vitamins they contain, which micro materials, like leucine or carotene…even our amino-acid profile is perfect. Just to give you an idea: why do you think the life expectancy of Japanese women is so high? Because they eat microalgae! The Japanese diet contains a lot of microalgae. In Japan, Chlorella is even considered a food of national interest.

So Mine, after managing teams at Unilever, DuPont and more recently, as Head of Protein R&D at Nestlé, working for the man – or woman – you decided last September to just leap out on your own. What motivated this? Why did you decide that Now, it’s time?

Well, I turned 50. And I thought to myself, I have another 10 or 15 years of work; this is a good time. I have three kids; all of them are grown-ups now. Time to step up and do my own thing. I always had this on my mind, so the moment my life became a little less complicated I felt it was the right move.

And your family is super proud and supportive? Do they all have to eat your microalgae?

Yes, absolutely. They are very supportive. As for food, yes, they are really happy with it. We had some just yesterday. I prepared a Mexican salsa with microalgae. We also have vegans in the family, so we had a veggie burger. But of course with veggie burgers, the protein is missing. So we added a sauce with microalgae in order to have a balanced meal, with 12% protein.

alver golden chlorella cnn monney switzerland product test

At the end of the interview, Ana Maria Montero tried our tomato sauce with Alver Golden Chlorella. How did she like it? Click through and find out here >>>

Thank you so much, CNN Money Switzerland for having us, and Startupticker for all the support.

Alver Golden Chlorella CEO Mine Uran at CNN Money Switzerland

According to CNN Money, Switzerland is a leader when it comes to innovation and female entrepreneurs are at the forefront. This summer, CNN Money Switzerland is highlighting startups founded by female entrepreneurs in a special series. They teamed up with www.startupticker.ch and handpicked those businesses with strong Swiss roots but an international outlook. One of the featured startups is Alver. Co-founder and CEO Mine Uran was invited over to Zurich for an interview with Ana Maria Montero.

What is SWISS START-UP TOUR by CNN Money Switzerland all about?

This is what is says on www.cnnmoney.ch: “Let CNNMoney Switzerland introduce you to the emerging companies making their mark in Switzerland and beyond. We travel across the country to track down female CEOs who have been recognized for their distinctive vision and ability to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. Discover the challenges and lessons they’ve learned, the hard choices they’ve had to make, and about that one moment when they knew that they had made it. Food engineer Mine Uran prides herself on upending conventional wisdom: She launched Alver, her superfood start-up, at age 50; rejected the advice that she needed to hire a man in order to raise more capital; and dared to turn down VCs over term sheets that didn’t suit her. This is her story.” Full interview in this video >>>

Alver CNNMoney Switzerland Alver Golden Chlorella Founder Mine Uran Swiss Startup Female Founder Avieta Claessens Photography

Mine, you are a food engineer who has been looking for the last 20 years for the ideal, non-animal super protein. Now this seems to be a long time looking for something so specific, what brought this on?

I started my career in the food area, and more and more realized that animal proteins are not very sustainable in the long-term. The reason I have looked into micro-algae today is also for the land use. Because today our land use per capita is decreasing. Not only because of the growing population but also because of the urbanization. Currently, we are using only 12% of the arable land and it will be reducing. The land use per capita is very important this is why I decided to look into the sea. As the sea covers about three quarters of our planet, I looked into microalgae as a source of sustainable protein.

Okay, so it sounds like your motivation is really much more about sustainability than it is about health, for example. Or both?

It is both. As we know, well as we started to figure out over the last few years, too much animal protein over the long term, is really not that healthy for our body. To find sustainable protein, which is also healthy, was my aim. Microalgae naturally contain 60% of protein, but also a lot of minerals and vitamins. Especially our microalgae contain also Carotenoids, so it is a very healthy food that can really feed the world.

Talk to me about the market for this kind of microalgae products!

Okay, algae are commonly knows as a healthy product. But the problem is the taste. That is why we grow microalgae in an environment that prevents them from developing this typical algae taste. Ours tastes natural but neutral. And because of this neutral taste, it can be added to any food without altering its taste. If you want to eat pasta, you eat pasta, if you want to eat sauce, you eat sauce… no taste of algae!

That sounds like you have to overcome this issue of perception, right? Because people perceive that algae is going to taste terrible. How challenging is it to convince people otherwise?

It is challenging for us, which is why we do a lot of tastings. This summer, we will do a lot of tastings with smoothies at COOP. So if you are at COOP, look out for our products and taste them in a smoothie. You will definitely be surprised!

Now the main ingredient, I guess, is something called Golden Chlorella, a 100% natural algae that is yellow and comes as a kind of powder. Walk me through: how it becomes that! How do you get the algae out of the sea and into the products?

Okay, so the baby algae we found in Holland, in sweet water. But then, we started to grow it in a very good, closed environment to make sure it grows healthy and that only microalgae are growing, not other bacteria. In addition, we keep the algae away from light and only use sugar as a feed. Growing in the dark, it doesn’t develop a green color. And it develops carotene, which gives it this nice yellow color.

Alver Golden Chlorella Microalgae Vegan High Protein Powder

This sounds quite complicated. Is it a complicated process? And is it expensive?

No, it really is not complicated. You just grow it with sugar and dry it. It is not an expensive process either. The cost is only high at the moment because the quantities we produce are small. Once we grow, the cost of production will significantly reduce with volume. And this is what we are doing now: we want to extend our production capacity. That is also why we are looking for an investment of 3 Mio. So, if somebody wants to do something good for the world, just call me!

So this is where you are with your funding at the moment: you are looking for 3 Million Swiss Francs in order to start scaling.

Yes, that’s right. That will allow us to scale and once we can produce large quantities, the price can be reduced to just CHF 2 per kilo.

That really is not a lot. And talk to me about your searching for funding. What kind of investors are you looking for? Do you go for venture capital, for private investors or just any kind of investment at this stage? And how do you go about finding funds?

No, we really are looking for investors who are interested in making a long-term investment and also want to do something good for the world. For me, it is not a question of getting this money and then selling the company 5 years later. It is a long-term investment. It is a 10-year plan that I have, not a 5-year plan. So maybe Alver is less for venture capitalists and more for family offices and private investors who want to make a long-term, sustainable investment. We started with crowd funding, with private people. We raised CHF 250’000 two years ago which allowed us to develop the product. Now we finished our second seed-funding round and obtained 1 Mio. from a person that is a business angel. This money will allow us to develop our marketing and to increase the notoriety of our brand. To this day, we have 12 different products: powders, bars, soup, pasta and sauces… and then for 3 Million, well, this is the next round.

How much independence do you have?

Well, to be honest, we refused some well-known venture capitalists when we saw their term sheets. Because my focus, my goal is not to make money but to do something good for the world. We need money, yes. And we will make money, but this is not my primary goal.

And do you find that the fact that you are a woman has any influence when it comes to investment and looking for funding?

Yes! When we were first going out and looking for funding, because we are two female founders, someone told us “You need to get one man into the team to raise more money.” Which we didn’t do… But that’s okay. Those are all perceptions. I always worked against perceptions.

Alver Golden Chlorella Founders Mine Uran Majbritt Byskov-Bridges

Alright, so no men. It’s a fully female team. And is there anything in startup that you consider company policy?

For us, the philosophy is… we are really looking for sustainability-focused people. They need to have this feeling and sense of urgency to do something for the Earth.

You are a vegetarian, right? So you are really living the talk as we say. And now you produce this superfood. We hear this and that about superfood. Honestly, how much of it is just hype?

Yes, I am vegetarian and its good; really satisfying. Now with regards to superfood, I cannot speak for the others, only for our products. We are very open and transparent. We always share our nutritional information; there is a full page of nutritional profiles of our products: the minerals and vitamins they contain, which micro materials, like leucine or carotene…even our amino-acid profile is perfect. Just to give you an idea: why do you think the life expectancy of Japanese women is so high? Because they eat microalgae! The Japanese diet contains a lot of microalgae. In Japan, Chlorella is even considered a food of national interest.

So Mine, after managing teams at Unilever, DuPont and more recently, as Head of Protein R&D at Nestlé, working for the man – or woman – you decided last September to just leap out on your own. What motivated this? Why did you decide that Now, it’s time?

Well, I turned 50. And I thought to myself, I have another 10 or 15 years of work; this is a good time. I have three kids; all of them are grown-ups now. Time to step up and do my own thing. I always had this on my mind, so the moment my life became a little less complicated I felt it was the right move.

And your family is super proud and supportive? Do they all have to eat your microalgae?

Yes, absolutely. They are very supportive. As for food, yes, they are really happy with it. We had some just yesterday. I prepared a Mexican salsa with microalgae. We also have vegans in the family, so we had a veggie burger. But of course with veggie burgers, the protein is missing. So we added a sauce with microalgae in order to have a balanced meal, with 12% protein.

alver golden chlorella cnn monney switzerland product test

At the end of the interview, Ana Maria Montero tried our tomato sauce with Alver Golden Chlorella. How did she like it? Click through and find out here >>>

Thank you so much, CNN Money Switzerland for having us, and Startupticker for all the support.

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