Tell us about yourself?
Lior Hessel, Ag-Tech Entrepreneur, Executive Agriculture Engineer, Technion alumni, M.Sc. in Management from Yew York Polytechnic Engineering University. Has built over 50 tech projects around the world and over 24 hectares of greenhouse factories, with total investments exceeding $40M. Also performed over $14M worth of R&D in ag-tech. Has massive experience in business development, setting up of JV’s, and building factories on four continents. Winner of the EU Seal of Excellence and phase 2 funding of the Horizon Farm to Fork program.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
You have to be willing and able to accept and handle failures and disappointments as they come more frequently than success.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Be more patient but expect more. Never leave anything to chance or to others to attend. Be in full control of everything that is happening in your business.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
I was lucky enough to have married the best wife on the planet. She took care of that part. She made it possible for me by supporting me all the way.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Our vision is to make an impact by utilising microalgae to provide bio-nitrogen to the world for the well-being of all. Our new bioproducts will replace products that are harmful to the environment and help create a better future for our planet and our children. We apply cutting-edge technologies and innovative science to active economical solutions.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
We developed cutting-edge microalgae technology for the production of organic nitrogen fertiliser using nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Our automated photo-bioreactors produce bio ammonia from water and air using the sun as an energy source, making better organic fertilisers while reducing carbon emissions from polluting the production of synthetic ammonia. (“Ammonia is the biggest ingredient in fertilizer”)
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
It all has to start from a market demand. In today’s world, you have to sell it before you produce it and even before you develop it.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Global instabilities like COVID, the war in Ukraine, have been very unfavourable for start-ups, innovation, and new thinking that involve risk-taking. To overcome this, one should attempt to calculate the risks to the limit and apply a little more financial conservatism to demonstrate more reliability and integrity of the start-up business
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
London is the global trade centre of the world. I find the reason for it is the system: the most efficient financial, banking, and legal systems, create the best business atmosphere with the highest levels of stability, continuity, and reliability.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
The costs of offices and labour are high in central London.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impact your ability to work and live in London, and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
This is a challenge, but the advantages of having a big, stable, and high-income market compensate for it.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
I would probably go to a suburb of London to stay close to the international airports.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
More local production is needed-that’s what we were always about and had been advocating for it for years.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
To become a global leader in the supply of hydroponics, organic fertilizers, and protein using microalgae technologies.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
Please visit our websites or write to me directly at: [email protected]. You are also invited to visit one of our farms if you schedule it in advance.