Researcher receives 357.000 DKK to launch startup – now partners are lining up to collaborate
“Things have gone fast, but the process has been incredibly exciting and instructive. Now I’m looking forward to seeing our project make a difference for Danish lakes and animal life in and around them,” says Maria Lund Paulsen, postdoc at the Department of BioScience at Aarhus University.
Since the beginning of the year, she has been working to launch her startup ‘NanoBobler’ in collaboration with her husband and engineer Håkon Narjord. In addition to participating in a workshop course at Aarhus University’s startup hub, The Kitchen, she has received 357,000 DKK in funding from the Danish Business Authority. At the same time, she has been contacted by a number of potential partners, who would like to see Maria Lund Paulsen attempt to breathe life back into their lakes and streams.
’NanoBobler’ is behind a method in which Danish lakes and streams can be aersed far more efficiently than previously. The technology is based on research from Japan, but ’NanoBobler’ adds a number of innovations, including photovoltaic technology and oxygen enrichment of atmospheric air using a -filter.
I gained the confidence that we could create a business
The journey from being a researcher to becoming an entrepreneur has gone quickly for Maria Lund Paulsen, but she says that she has always wanted to have her own company. It was The Kitchen’s program: “Validate your business model”, which sparked both self-confidence in the founder and propelled the project.
“The process was decisive because I got the confidence that we could actually create a business. ”Validate your business model” is a series of four workshops where I learned everything from business lingo, methods to talking to potential customers and the preparation of our business model,” says the 35-year-old researcher. She was otherwise a bit reticent before the course. “Initially, I had a hard time seeing what I actually had to learn – but I have to say that I got a lot out of it.”
Maria Lund Paulsen has previously conducted research into various aspects of the Arctic marine environment and lived for eight years in Norway, where, among other things, she saw the great pleasure that a healthy lake can give to both wildlife and people.
LAG-funding for the first prototype
At The end of the process at The Kitchen, Maria Lund Paulsen and her husband continued to work on ’NanoBobler’s’ first prototype, financing and, not least, further validating the idea. She says:
“I started to reach out to other specialists in the area in Denmark – and they also saw a potential in the method.” And at the end of May, more good news arrived. The Postdoc explains:
“We have been awarded 357,000 DKK by the Danish Business Authority. The money is given to innovative projects that can generate growth in certain areas of Denmark. The aim is to use the money to establish the first units and customer base and put together a lot of experience and expert knowledge of the method. “
A press release helped find partners
One thing is getting the idea and the funding – another is to establish the first collaboration. Even though there are enough Danish lakes that might need a supply of oxygen, Maria Lund Paulsen adds with a smile. Here, a press release sent by The Kitchen proved to be a great help. Maria Lund Paulsen explains:
“Aarhus Stiftstidende newspaper brought the story, and it led to a number of exciting phone calls and e-mails from both private partners and local authorities who would like to make an effort for their lakes. It was actually a bit overwhelming – but absolutely fantastic not to have to ring doorbells and sell the idea. Now there are so many opportunities that we look forward to seizing.”
An area that needs innovation
The restoration of lakes is an area that needs innovative thinking. One of the most frequently used methods is also to inject oxygen – but it is far from as efficient as nanobubbles, explains Maria Lund Paulsen:
“Right now, you’re using ‘bobbling. These are tubes with oxygen, which are placed directly in the lake. But the efficiency of the method is incredibly low. Only 3 per cent of the oxygen is absorbed into the water per metre the bubble rises. Nanobubbles do not rise to the surface and 85 per cent of the oxygen is absorbed. So it will make a huge difference. At the same time, we can make direct use of the air around the lakes. It is now only possible to use oxygen from tanks. This makes our method more sustainable.”
Read the original article and visit The Kitchen’s site here.