Solveiga Pakštaitė

Solveiga Pakštaitė is the inventor of Bump Mark, a patent-pending food expiry labelling innovation that she designed at Brunel University and is now being developed by Solveiga's company, Design By Sol. It is a bio-responsive food expiry label provides accurate, real-time indication of the product’s freshness and is set to dramatically cut food waste. Her innovation in the food packaging industry has won multiple awards. Since our discussion Bump Mark has graduated from Design By Sol to its own company at Mimica and renamed to Mimica Touch. For more information https://www.mimicalab.com and follow on https://twitter.com/mimicalab. Open Source project "Kitchen Tricks" https://designbysol.github.io/Kitchen-Tricks/ and GitHub repo https://github.com/DesignBySol/Kitchen-Tricks

Transcript

  • 0:00-0:16 My name is Solveiga and I come from an industrial background where I have always been very passionate about improving all sorts on experiences for people and generally using design to problem solve.

  • 0:17-0:22 And right now I am running a company, taking one of my designs to market.

  • 0:23-0:36 The product that I have designed in university, that I am now working on is called ‘bump mark, and it’s basically a piece of smart packaging for food that gives you a biological accurate indication to when your food expires.

  • 0:37-0:46 So, it’s a really simple label which basically changes from smooth to bumpy when you feel it with your finger and you can really easily tell whether it is safe to eat or not.

  • 0:47-0:53 The reason I became interested in that is actually because it would reduce a lot of food waste.

  • 0:54-1:11 At the beginning, I became very interested in it because visually impaired people have no way of indicating when their food goes off because they are unable to use dates like sighted people do but from there I learnt that all of us are ‘blind’ to when our food goes off.

  • 1:12-1:26 So, this is a solution that is a good example of what we can call inclusive design which is where you improve a product for a service for people with impairment but by improving it that specific impairment you are also making it super easy for everyone to use.

  • 1:27-1:38 When I was leaving university I decided to file a pattern for it mostly out of educational exercise. I had no idea I would still be using that pattern now.

  • 1:12-2:01 I had no intention of starting my own company, I saw it as a cool project that I did and maybe someone could use it which is why I decided I might file the pattern. Then I decided to enter it into the James Dyson award and I was thrilled to find out a few months later that I had won the UK award.

  • 2:02-2:08 Which I was not expecting! I was already 2 weeks into my new job and that was how much I hadn’t intended on taking it forward.

  • 2:09-2:30 Then it got quite mad as the media exploded around it and I was having to take long lunch breaks because I was having meeting with Coca-Cola, Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets and I wasn’t really asking for this much attraction around any of my projects.

  • 2:31-2:59 SO I became curious to see, what if I did put some effort into it? Where could this idea go? In January, last year, after Christmas when everybody went back to work and I sat at my childhood desk at my parents’ house and I was thinking of what’s next? Let’s make this happen! Not working let’s do this! That was when I properly started my company.

  • 3:00-3:06 It has been 1 year and a half years on and since then we have been able to achieve a lot of really interesting things.

  • 3:07-3:17 Smart packaging is something which has never really been seen by the market a lot of what I do is teaching people about it and the benefits of real time information on our packaging. As everything else has become smarter.

  • 3:18-3:35 Expiring dates were invented as a regular thing in the 70’s and the advent of everyone making use of the internet has happened since then.

  • 3:36-3:48 Everything gamified itself and quantified itself one wants to track everything apart from our food which is the most valuable resource on earth. I find it absolutely crazy that we don’t have accurate information about when we should be throwing it away.

  • 3:49-4:01 I find it surprising that because of that 60% of the food that we waste in the UK is still completely fine. The expiry dates are just pants and we should not be using them.

  • 4:02-4:23 So we’ve been able to do some small market tests. We did one with Asda which went very well, and now we have been speaking to a couple other supermarkets to launch our first proper market trial where people would actually be able to purchase our product and take it away with our label on them.

  • 4:24-4:38 SO we are basically doing in house lab testing sorting out external lab testing and were figuring out how on earth we are going to make thousands of these little things instead of making them one by one with hand which is what I have been doing.

  • 4:39-4:47 So it’s all a really big fighting but terrifying journey which I’m learning a lot on, that kind of takes me to today.

  • 4:48-5:03 So the accuracy of bump mark depends on it actually being applied at the point of packaging because it’s not actually interacting with what is going on inside the packaging and it is actually replicating the condition of the food inside.

  • 5:04-5:24 Because the way we make it is that we take a waste by product from which ever food group we are interested in. For example, if we took a cut of beef the waste product would be the skin and fat and all the things people don’t want to eat. Boil it and turn it into a high protein gel.

  • 5:25-5:33 Which basically behaves in the exact same way as the beef does because it is beef, that is basically the principle behind bump mark we take waste food and we turn it into something useful.

  • 5:34-5:56 Because it is not actually interacting with the packaging you want to set the bump mark as early back as possible because if it were a label that you put on yourself, I couldn’t guarantee the condition of the food when you receive it because I don’t know if the supply chain went well, if it was stored in the retailer properly, I don’t know if it lived away from the supermarket and what temperature your car was at.

  • 5:57-6:09 My point is that all of these things should we taken into account to give us the most accurate information. Which is why the label must be applied at the packaging stage, so that it is following this journey along with the food.

  • 6:09-6:23 We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of different people who want to use the label because people intrinsically hate waste but they are always going to out their personal health and safety first.

  • 6:24-6:43 That is the kind of dynamic we have noticed by putting accurate information into people’s hands. It is going to give them piece of mind and encourage them not to waste so much because yes we hate waste but you are always going to follow the date first because of the kind of grapple people have with food safety as well.

  • 6:44-7:01 We are really excited to try and get it to market as soon as possible but there are a lot of hurdles we have to jump through first. One them would be that we need to find a way to manufacture these so that they are identical and all going to do the same thing at mass scale.

  • 7:02-7:12 We are starting to do some manufacture tests now and the thing that will take the longest to be honest will be the lab testing because this is such a new area of science which has never been explored before.

  • 7:13-7:42 It’s not the same as coming up with a new colour wave for a phone and re-releasing it, it’s actually, when dealing with a new scientific area we need to explore and we can’t go with the principle of NVP and minimum viable product because you can do that with what we are doing because, you can do that with a video game as you have the hard-core users who do not care but at least it isn’t going to kill anyone.

  • 7:43-7:57 With us it is difficult because you are working, working, working because as soon as we find a way to make it even more accurate we are going to do it because we only get one chance in the market to get it right when it concerns people’s food safety.

  • 7:58-8:16 That is why it is taking quite a bit longer than I first anticipated if I’m honest. I think that it is all for a good cause and I hope to get our first trials out early next year so it will be fantastic but we will be running a campaign soon so people can help us get there.

  • 8:17-8:35 For us financially relatively it is a high hurdle but in the grand scheme of things if we have that money to start manufacturing it will benefit so many different people. So, if you are listening and are interested please get involved.

  • 8:35-8:55 We will be announcing our crowed funding campaign soon. It’s been really tricky and I’ve wanted to not give away too much equity for the company because until we prove that the product works with all the expensive lab testing that we are having to do, the very expensive lab testing, the company is only worth so much as we haven’t proven it works over and over again under lab conditions.

  • 8:56-9:26 We’ve basically been funded by grants and stuff so far which has been fantastic but to finish off the research and develop it we need an external lab. With how science works we can’t just say that ‘We test this and this is our awesome results and let us in your supermarket’ no you made up these results we need you to go to this lab and check everything which is incredibly expensive.

  • 0:00-0:16 My name is Solveiga and I come from an industrial background where I have always been very passionate about improving all sorts on experiences for people and generally using design to problem solve.

  • 0:17-0:22 And right now I am running a company, taking one of my designs to market.

  • 0:23-0:36 The product that I have designed in university, that I am now working on is called ‘bump mark, and it’s basically a piece of smart packaging for food that gives you a biological accurate indication to when your food expires.

  • 0:37-0:46 So, it’s a really simple label which basically changes from smooth to bumpy when you feel it with your finger and you can really easily tell whether it is safe to eat or not.

  • 0:47-0:53 The reason I became interested in that is actually because it would reduce a lot of food waste.

  • 0:54-1:11 At the beginning, I became very interested in it because visually impaired people have no way of indicating when their food goes off because they are unable to use dates like sighted people do but from there I learnt that all of us are ‘blind’ to when our food goes off.

  • 1:12-1:26 So, this is a solution that is a good example of what we can call inclusive design which is where you improve a product for a service for people with impairment but by improving it that specific impairment you are also making it super easy for everyone to use.

  • 1:27-1:38 When I was leaving university I decided to file a pattern for it mostly out of educational exercise. I had no idea I would still be using that pattern now.

  • 1:12-2:01 I had no intention of starting my own company, I saw it as a cool project that I did and maybe someone could use it which is why I decided I might file the pattern. Then I decided to enter it into the James Dyson award and I was thrilled to find out a few months later that I had won the UK award.

  • 2:02-2:08 Which I was not expecting! I was already 2 weeks into my new job and that was how much I hadn’t intended on taking it forward.

  • 2:09-2:30 Then it got quite mad as the media exploded around it and I was having to take long lunch breaks because I was having meeting with Coca-Cola, Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets and I wasn’t really asking for this much attraction around any of my projects.

  • 2:31-2:59 SO I became curious to see, what if I did put some effort into it? Where could this idea go? In January, last year, after Christmas when everybody went back to work and I sat at my childhood desk at my parents’ house and I was thinking of what’s next? Let’s make this happen! Not working let’s do this! That was when I properly started my company.

  • 3:00-3:06 It has been 1 year and a half years on and since then we have been able to achieve a lot of really interesting things.

  • 3:07-3:17 Smart packaging is something which has never really been seen by the market a lot of what I do is teaching people about it and the benefits of real time information on our packaging. As everything else has become smarter.

  • 3:18-3:35 Expiring dates were invented as a regular thing in the 70’s and the advent of everyone making use of the internet has happened since then.

  • 3:36-3:48 Everything gamified itself and quantified itself one wants to track everything apart from our food which is the most valuable resource on earth. I find it absolutely crazy that we don’t have accurate information about when we should be throwing it away.

  • 3:49-4:01 I find it surprising that because of that 60% of the food that we waste in the UK is still completely fine. The expiry dates are just pants and we should not be using them.

  • 4:02-4:23 So we’ve been able to do some small market tests. We did one with Asda which went very well, and now we have been speaking to a couple other supermarkets to launch our first proper market trial where people would actually be able to purchase our product and take it away with our label on them.

  • 4:24-4:38 SO we are basically doing in house lab testing sorting out external lab testing and were figuring out how on earth we are going to make thousands of these little things instead of making them one by one with hand which is what I have been doing.

  • 4:39-4:47 So it’s all a really big fighting but terrifying journey which I’m learning a lot on, that kind of takes me to today.

  • 4:48-5:03 So the accuracy of bump mark depends on it actually being applied at the point of packaging because it’s not actually interacting with what is going on inside the packaging and it is actually replicating the condition of the food inside.

  • 5:04-5:24 Because the way we make it is that we take a waste by product from which ever food group we are interested in. For example, if we took a cut of beef the waste product would be the skin and fat and all the things people don’t want to eat. Boil it and turn it into a high protein gel.

  • 5:25-5:33 Which basically behaves in the exact same way as the beef does because it is beef, that is basically the principle behind bump mark we take waste food and we turn it into something useful.

  • 5:34-5:56 Because it is not actually interacting with the packaging you want to set the bump mark as early back as possible because if it were a label that you put on yourself, I couldn’t guarantee the condition of the food when you receive it because I don’t know if the supply chain went well, if it was stored in the retailer properly, I don’t know if it lived away from the supermarket and what temperature your car was at.

  • 5:57-6:09 My point is that all of these things should we taken into account to give us the most accurate information. Which is why the label must be applied at the packaging stage, so that it is following this journey along with the food.

  • 6:09-6:23 We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of different people who want to use the label because people intrinsically hate waste but they are always going to out their personal health and safety first.

  • 6:24-6:43 That is the kind of dynamic we have noticed by putting accurate information into people’s hands. It is going to give them piece of mind and encourage them not to waste so much because yes we hate waste but you are always going to follow the date first because of the kind of grapple people have with food safety as well.

  • 6:44-7:01 We are really excited to try and get it to market as soon as possible but there are a lot of hurdles we have to jump through first. One them would be that we need to find a way to manufacture these so that they are identical and all going to do the same thing at mass scale.

  • 7:02-7:12 We are starting to do some manufacture tests now and the thing that will take the longest to be honest will be the lab testing because this is such a new area of science which has never been explored before.

  • 7:13-7:42 It’s not the same as coming up with a new colour wave for a phone and re-releasing it, it’s actually, when dealing with a new scientific area we need to explore and we can’t go with the principle of NVP and minimum viable product because you can do that with what we are doing because, you can do that with a video game as you have the hard-core users who do not care but at least it isn’t going to kill anyone.

  • 7:43-7:57 With us it is difficult because you are working, working, working because as soon as we find a way to make it even more accurate we are going to do it because we only get one chance in the market to get it right when it concerns people’s food safety.

  • 7:58-8:16 That is why it is taking quite a bit longer than I first anticipated if I’m honest. I think that it is all for a good cause and I hope to get our first trials out early next year so it will be fantastic but we will be running a campaign soon so people can help us get there.

  • 8:17-8:35 For us financially relatively it is a high hurdle but in the grand scheme of things if we have that money to start manufacturing it will benefit so many different people. So, if you are listening and are interested please get involved.

  • 8:35-8:55 We will be announcing our crowed funding campaign soon. It’s been really tricky and I’ve wanted to not give away too much equity for the company because until we prove that the product works with all the expensive lab testing that we are having to do, the very expensive lab testing, the company is only worth so much as we haven’t proven it works over and over again under lab conditions.

  • 8:56-9:26 We’ve basically been funded by grants and stuff so far which has been fantastic but to finish off the research and develop it we need an external lab. With how science works we can’t just say that ‘We test this and this is our awesome results and let us in your supermarket’ no you made up these results we need you to go to this lab and check everything which is incredibly expensive.

9:27-9:50 It’s no money in the grand scheme of things but it’s money that a start-up company doesn’t have. I’ve decided not to go down the kind of venture capital or angel investment route because I think that as soon as we do prove that it works the company is going to be worth so much more and we are going to have to sell less equity for the cash that we need to scale up.

  • 9:51-10:12 So, that’s the key, I truly believe that with everyone’s help, with all the grant funding and that kind of thing. With the crowds help we can definitely make this happen and eventually we can get investment at the right and not give away too much because there’s still a lot of work that could be done and we need that equity to sell in the future to make this big.

  • Solveiga was chosen as one of the 25 under 25s for Code First Girls

  • 10:13-10:39 I mean I was so surprised, it really came out of the blue, I hadn’t even really even heard of Code First Girls before to be honest! I’m really pleased, I was so happy to be put on this list with all these other really amazing girls who are going amazing things. I’m really pleased that I did find out about what code first girls are doing because I am actually currently doing one of their courses.

  • 10:40-11:06 Summer intensive beginners course and my god it is intense! But I am loving it and were learning HTML, CSS ,Python and Java script which is quite a lot to master in 5 weeks but it’s been really really good and I truly think I have learnt a new skill through being given this opportunity. So, I couldn’t be happier!

  • 11:07-11:17 I think that the busier you get the more time you find time for things that you need to get done. You kind of get really good at finding bubbles of time you can squish things into!

  • 11:18-11:45 I think that it would be really ignorant to think that even though my current project doesn’t require any kind of coding I think it would be very ignorant to, I mean I learnt how to make a physical product design and you would think that there’s no coding involved with that but as internets a thing, and things are booming I think that it would be very silly not to learn a very future proofing and a vital skill so I don’t really so it’s kind of equipping myself for future projects.

  • 11:46-12:01 It would be very cool if I had a simple idea and I could create a simple proto type with a code if that is involved with it. So, it’s being more self-sufficient in terms of your skill set to do as much as you can.

  • 12:02-12:24 And even if I end up not doing any coding myself the ability to have a proper convocation with someone who is building a writing code for you I think that, that is so useful and you will get so much more work. And I think it allows for much better collaborative working relationships and even as we have to work in small groups at the moment and we have to create (there’s a competition) and we have to create a website.

  • 12:25-12:47 My team and I are actually building a website, another way to help reduce food waste which is to teach people simple kitchen tricks with little animation’s for things you can do to test you food before the bump mark arrives. So that’s something really fun to do as well if which totally links into the project and the aim that bump mark is trying to achieve.

  • 12:48-13:38 I think it’s easier than ever for someone who feels un-equip to get an idea out there such as women in tech or minorities in tech. The start up environment is much more open and welcoming in terms of lots of start un incubators being there and there are so many events on how to launch your start up. I think I would encourage everyone to try there own thing and do there own venture because even if it fails the amount you learn is absolutely incredible! And the connections you make are absolutely amazing. It will be the best career stepping stone you ever do! If that’s what your interested in!

  • 13:39-14:16 But I think if you have an idea you don’t just want to in blindly and waste your time on an idea that isn’t very viable. So I think that something I would do first would be to, sure, of course ask your mum, friends and family but they will tell you it’s a great idea. But if your friends are anything like mine they would tell you it’s a terrible idea! You want to go to events where you don’t have any friends there, and you just don’t stop talking about it. You tell and tell people, ask for criticism and make it the best product you can if you are going to be spending all your time on it and learn to listen to people who have been there and done that and I think that, that is the best place.

  • 14:17-14:32 I mean these events are no longer as exclusive as they used to be, you can just show up at tech events. You can look on event sites, I mean they are there for you to find and I think if you just talk to people, find people who can help make it a reality.

  • 14:33-14:47 I think that’s the key, telling people you’re actually going to do it kind of frames it to yourself in a way, you have to make it happen because you have told people you are going to do it. So, I think that, that is actually the first step, that your actually going to try something.

  • 14:48-15:14 Or tell someone about your idea and have them tell you that you have to do it because that’s actually what happened with me when I was still working at my job and I was having all this crazy traction that I was not trying at all for, and one of my friends said ‘what are you doing’ working for someone else. You should be taking this forwards and he’s the one who convinced me not to go back to work last January. In my case it was one of my friends telling me that I have to do it.

  • 15:15-15:43 So because we are not an investment funded unit I can’t afford a huge lovely team like I would love to! But I am very happy to have one other person, a scientist, working on this full time. It’s a really nice combination between industrial and product design meet ends. Because I think that, that’s the two factors of the bump mark project.

  • 15:44-16:07 We’ve been really happy to have, (over the summer) been running an internship programme where we managed to get five people on a temporary basis, four extra scientists and a mechanical engineer to help with the manufacturer side of things. The amount we have got done in a short space of time is absolutely incredible.

  • 16:08-16:17 So that’s another thing I am hoping the crowd funding campaign is going to help. SO that I can keep as many of them as I can. That would be absolutely amazing, we can keep them and keep on going.

  • 16:18-16:46 I kind of always imagined by having more people on board that would mean I would be less busy because they kind of would take some of that away but that’s absolutely not the case because you need to make sure that everyone is happy with what they’re doing and they want to consult with you because I did start the project so I know most about it. You need to start doing things like team meetings and that’s something I’ve never had to do before because it’s just been me and I’ve never had to have a meeting by myself.

  • 16:47-17:27 But I think all the time you put in, yes, it is taking up more of my time but that effort gets multiplied and that’s the way you have to look at it and overall you are getting more done even though it’s not you doing it, it’s more you leading people in the way of the work you need to get done. I think as an industrial designer I kind of struggle with that concept at the start and I’m in the zone I should be like sketching everyday I should be doing everything myself but I realised that I need to be more on the business side at the moment and that’s great because I am learning a new skill which I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn otherwise.

  • 17:28-17:47 I hope when I do go back into designing stuff myself in the future on another project that all of these business skills are going to better equip me to design better things because I know how they work in the real world and what’s more likely to be accepted by the market kind of future proofing the idea a bit.

  • 17:48-18:36 When I started off on my own kind of, doing this full time January last year. I quite quickly realised that I was going to need some mentors. So my first mentor figure first arrived actually at my degree show when I was first presenting the project before I won any awards and she was the one who kind of was like ‘lets do this!!! This is amazing’ and I kind of was like ‘yeah, yeah , yeah lets just like, sell the pattern or something’ so I have had that voice at the back of my head in the shape of my mentor Christina but I think that I properly started forming my advisory board by complete accident. I was at a networking event and I’ going to launch into a story quickly which is quite funny.

  • 18:37-20:30 I knew no one at this networking event and I saw there two chaps there. I kind of went over and introduced myself and one of them is a serial entrepreneur who has set up many companies and his nephew who basically buys and sells things for the government. Two very smart chaps and I was telling them about what I was doing and they started challenging me like ‘have you filled a pattern for this’ and I’m like ‘yes, blah, blah, blah’ and ‘have you done this’ ‘have you done this’ and they kept trying to trip me up on something I haven’t done to be like aha! You young start up types. But I was actually able to answer all of their questions. Then the competition between them turned into who can offer me the best advise. ‘I can introduce you to this person’ ‘I can introduce you to this person’ so after I couples of drinks I said ‘ok right both of you on my advisory board right now!’. I had no advisory board at this point but I thought I was saying it as a joke but then the next morning both of them sent me an email saying ‘right, what’s our first task as your new advisory board members’. That’s literally how it started and when I met the CFO of Siemens a couple of days after this event and I basically won the major of London, entrepreneur low carbon award, which he was there to give the prize to me. He was like ‘I would love to help you and to advice you on this and I was like wow. This is a really big high up dude and he was like ‘do you have an advisory board’ and I was like ‘as a matter of fact yes!’ so that’s literally how I started my advisory board by accident.

  • 20:31-21:00 I now have very impressive people on it so another person I have advising me is a lady called ‘Kate Blandford’ and she basically used to head up packaging at Sainsbury’s, so that’s super valuable advice from a food retail perspective. That is key to us at the moment so I am definitely learning the business side of things from the best so I can’t be thankful enough for the people who I have supporting me in this.

  • 21:01-21:37 I think women especially struggle to be clear about the fact that they need mentorship and that sort of thing. I think its something that’s always been around with guys and the whole golf and drinking buddy thing at work in terms of working your way up the ranks and that’s something that hasn’t happened with women. Because most of the people up there are already men its sometimes a bit intimidating but you should be bold and you should totally ask for advice if you need it and be bold about if you need business guidance if that’s what you doing and setting up a company and being bold after having a couple of drinks has never harmed me.

  • 21:38-22:42 I think that I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do in the future where they are very different to before I started this project. I think I had typical product designer aspirations like I would like to work for IDO or Frog or Seymour Powell and all these big agencies and work on amazing projects or Google ex however that would still be amazing! I think I’ve become so passionate about food waste and reducing it I have a lot of non-physical product related ideas for ways, I think that could be really useful. They are doing research about what affects food waste apart from expiry dates, you learn about everything else that affects food waste and I think ultimately there such a lack of food education and I have loads of ideas on how we can inspire a nation and a world of people who are far more knowledgeable about their food and I think that’s key.

  • 22:43-22:57 I don’t think that a label alone, a label alone can put accurate information in people’s hand but education and culture of proper food management and education has to be there otherwise people aren’t going to be understanding why they shouldn’t be wasting it in the first place.

  • 22:58-23:14 How resource heavy and difficult it is to grow food, I think that’s what we lack and what we don’t appreciate, that makes food so disposable to us. SO, I have a few idea’s for basically putting that into people’s consciousness.

  • 23:15-23:36 Terrifyingly the first event that I spoke at was a TEDX conference, that was absolutely mad and I was asked to speak at a local one in London. Which was really fantastic, since then I have been asked to speak at a couple of events.

  • 23:37-23:56 SO, I have done panels for the knowledge transfer network, I’ve recently being doing some within the food technology space, which is definitely a space we are part of. So, we did a really interesting one a couple of weeks ago about commercial opportunity, reducing food waste.

  • 23:57-24:19 So we were on the panel with companies like wino solution’s who help reduce waste in restaurants by showing them how much money they are throwing away and getting them to re-purpose it and olio who are a food sharing company who everyone should use to share surplus food with your neighbours and getting into these discussions.

  • 24:20-24:31 Its not just a thing that I do because I’m charitable its just something that is really useful for me to be part of these circles and I’m able to voice my opinion and get challenged by my opinion actually.

  • 24:32-24:49 I don’t think it’s wise for me to start a start up company from under a rock, the point is that your agile and changing. You can adapt to peoples changing perception and that sort of thing. Obviously speaking at various different events is a really good opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening

  • 24:49-25:34 I think I would just like to encourage people to keep themselves aware of issues that surround them and try to educate yourself about what’s happening in the food, eco system and find out what you personally can do to help reduce food waste, till bump mark arrives and also if you like the idea go on our website and I’m going to add a sign up to email list and we will let you know when it’s launched and chat to your friends about it and tell them about our new crowd funding campaign which we are starting next month! SO, I think that would be a good way to finish this session. 9:27-9:50 It’s no money in the grand scheme of things but it’s money that a start-up company doesn’t have. I’ve decided not to go down the kind of venture capital or angel investment route because I think that as soon as we do prove that it works the company is going to be worth so much more and we are going to have to sell less equity for the cash that we need to scale up.

  • 9:51-10:12 So, that’s the key, I truly believe that with everyone’s help, with all the grant funding and that kind of thing. With the crowds help we can definitely make this happen and eventually we can get investment at the right and not give away too much because there’s still a lot of work that could be done and we need that equity to sell in the future to make this big.

  • Solveiga was chosen as one of the 25 under 25s for Code First Girls

  • 10:13-10:39 I mean I was so surprised, it really came out of the blue, I hadn’t even really even heard of Code First Girls before to be honest! I’m really pleased, I was so happy to be put on this list with all these other really amazing girls who are going amazing things. I’m really pleased that I did find out about what code first girls are doing because I am actually currently doing one of their courses.

  • 10:40-11:06 Summer intensive beginners course and my god it is intense! But I am loving it and were learning HTML, CSS ,Python and Java script which is quite a lot to master in 5 weeks but it’s been really really good and I truly think I have learnt a new skill through being given this opportunity. So, I couldn’t be happier!

  • 11:07-11:17 I think that the busier you get the more time you find time for things that you need to get done. You kind of get really good at finding bubbles of time you can squish things into!

  • 11:18-11:45 I think that it would be really ignorant to think that even though my current project doesn’t require any kind of coding I think it would be very ignorant to, I mean I learnt how to make a physical product design and you would think that there’s no coding involved with that but as internets a thing, and things are booming I think that it would be very silly not to learn a very future proofing and a vital skill so I don’t really so it’s kind of equipping myself for future projects.

  • 11:46-12:01 It would be very cool if I had a simple idea and I could create a simple proto type with a code if that is involved with it. So, it’s being more self-sufficient in terms of your skill set to do as much as you can.

  • 12:02-12:24 And even if I end up not doing any coding myself the ability to have a proper convocation with someone who is building a writing code for you I think that, that is so useful and you will get so much more work. And I think it allows for much better collaborative working relationships and even as we have to work in small groups at the moment and we have to create (there’s a competition) and we have to create a website.

  • 12:25-12:47 My team and I are actually building a website, another way to help reduce food waste which is to teach people simple kitchen tricks with little animation’s for things you can do to test you food before the bump mark arrives. So that’s something really fun to do as well if which totally links into the project and the aim that bump mark is trying to achieve.

  • 12:48-13:38 I think it’s easier than ever for someone who feels un-equip to get an idea out there such as women in tech or minorities in tech. The start up environment is much more open and welcoming in terms of lots of start un incubators being there and there are so many events on how to launch your start up. I think I would encourage everyone to try there own thing and do there own venture because even if it fails the amount you learn is absolutely incredible! And the connections you make are absolutely amazing. It will be the best career stepping stone you ever do! If that’s what your interested in!

  • 13:39-14:16 But I think if you have an idea you don’t just want to in blindly and waste your time on an idea that isn’t very viable. So I think that something I would do first would be to, sure, of course ask your mum, friends and family but they will tell you it’s a great idea. But if your friends are anything like mine they would tell you it’s a terrible idea! You want to go to events where you don’t have any friends there, and you just don’t stop talking about it. You tell and tell people, ask for criticism and make it the best product you can if you are going to be spending all your time on it and learn to listen to people who have been there and done that and I think that, that is the best place.

  • 14:17-14:32 I mean these events are no longer as exclusive as they used to be, you can just show up at tech events. You can look on event sites, I mean they are there for you to find and I think if you just talk to people, find people who can help make it a reality.

  • 14:33-14:47 I think that’s the key, telling people you’re actually going to do it kind of frames it to yourself in a way, you have to make it happen because you have told people you are going to do it. So, I think that, that is actually the first step, that your actually going to try something.

  • 14:48-15:14 Or tell someone about your idea and have them tell you that you have to do it because that’s actually what happened with me when I was still working at my job and I was having all this crazy traction that I was not trying at all for, and one of my friends said ‘what are you doing’ working for someone else. You should be taking this forwards and he’s the one who convinced me not to go back to work last January. In my case it was one of my friends telling me that I have to do it.

  • 15:15-15:43 So because we are not an investment funded unit I can’t afford a huge lovely team like I would love to! But I am very happy to have one other person, a scientist, working on this full time. It’s a really nice combination between industrial and product design meet ends. Because I think that, that’s the two factors of the bump mark project.

  • 15:44-16:07 We’ve been really happy to have, (over the summer) been running an internship programme where we managed to get five people on a temporary basis, four extra scientists and a mechanical engineer to help with the manufacturer side of things. The amount we have got done in a short space of time is absolutely incredible.

  • 16:08-16:17 So that’s another thing I am hoping the crowd funding campaign is going to help. SO that I can keep as many of them as I can. That would be absolutely amazing, we can keep them and keep on going.

  • 16:18-16:46 I kind of always imagined by having more people on board that would mean I would be less busy because they kind of would take some of that away but that’s absolutely not the case because you need to make sure that everyone is happy with what they’re doing and they want to consult with you because I did start the project so I know most about it. You need to start doing things like team meetings and that’s something I’ve never had to do before because it’s just been me and I’ve never had to have a meeting by myself.

  • 16:47-17:27 But I think all the time you put in, yes, it is taking up more of my time but that effort gets multiplied and that’s the way you have to look at it and overall you are getting more done even though it’s not you doing it, it’s more you leading people in the way of the work you need to get done. I think as an industrial designer I kind of struggle with that concept at the start and I’m in the zone I should be like sketching everyday I should be doing everything myself but I realised that I need to be more on the business side at the moment and that’s great because I am learning a new skill which I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn otherwise.

  • 17:28-17:47 I hope when I do go back into designing stuff myself in the future on another project that all of these business skills are going to better equip me to design better things because I know how they work in the real world and what’s more likely to be accepted by the market kind of future proofing the idea a bit.

  • 17:48-18:36 When I started off on my own kind of, doing this full time January last year. I quite quickly realised that I was going to need some mentors. So my first mentor figure first arrived actually at my degree show when I was first presenting the project before I won any awards and she was the one who kind of was like ‘lets do this!!! This is amazing’ and I kind of was like ‘yeah, yeah , yeah lets just like, sell the pattern or something’ so I have had that voice at the back of my head in the shape of my mentor Christina but I think that I properly started forming my advisory board by complete accident. I was at a networking event and I’ going to launch into a story quickly which is quite funny.

  • 18:37-20:30 I knew no one at this networking event and I saw there two chaps there. I kind of went over and introduced myself and one of them is a serial entrepreneur who has set up many companies and his nephew who basically buys and sells things for the government. Two very smart chaps and I was telling them about what I was doing and they started challenging me like ‘have you filled a pattern for this’ and I’m like ‘yes, blah, blah, blah’ and ‘have you done this’ ‘have you done this’ and they kept trying to trip me up on something I haven’t done to be like aha! You young start up types. But I was actually able to answer all of their questions. Then the competition between them turned into who can offer me the best advise. ‘I can introduce you to this person’ ‘I can introduce you to this person’ so after I couples of drinks I said ‘ok right both of you on my advisory board right now!’. I had no advisory board at this point but I thought I was saying it as a joke but then the next morning both of them sent me an email saying ‘right, what’s our first task as your new advisory board members’. That’s literally how it started and when I met the CFO of Siemens a couple of days after this event and I basically won the major of London, entrepreneur low carbon award, which he was there to give the prize to me. He was like ‘I would love to help you and to advice you on this and I was like wow. This is a really big high up dude and he was like ‘do you have an advisory board’ and I was like ‘as a matter of fact yes!’ so that’s literally how I started my advisory board by accident.

  • 20:31-21:00 I now have very impressive people on it so another person I have advising me is a lady called ‘Kate Blandford’ and she basically used to head up packaging at Sainsbury’s, so that’s super valuable advice from a food retail perspective. That is key to us at the moment so I am definitely learning the business side of things from the best so I can’t be thankful enough for the people who I have supporting me in this.

  • 21:01-21:37 I think women especially struggle to be clear about the fact that they need mentorship and that sort of thing. I think its something that’s always been around with guys and the whole golf and drinking buddy thing at work in terms of working your way up the ranks and that’s something that hasn’t happened with women. Because most of the people up there are already men its sometimes a bit intimidating but you should be bold and you should totally ask for advice if you need it and be bold about if you need business guidance if that’s what you doing and setting up a company and being bold after having a couple of drinks has never harmed me.

  • 21:38-22:42 I think that I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do in the future where they are very different to before I started this project. I think I had typical product designer aspirations like I would like to work for IDO or Frog or Seymour Powell and all these big agencies and work on amazing projects or Google ex however that would still be amazing! I think I’ve become so passionate about food waste and reducing it I have a lot of non-physical product related ideas for ways, I think that could be really useful. They are doing research about what affects food waste apart from expiry dates, you learn about everything else that affects food waste and I think ultimately there such a lack of food education and I have loads of ideas on how we can inspire a nation and a world of people who are far more knowledgeable about their food and I think that’s key.

  • 22:43-22:57 I don’t think that a label alone, a label alone can put accurate information in people’s hand but education and culture of proper food management and education has to be there otherwise people aren’t going to be understanding why they shouldn’t be wasting it in the first place.

  • 22:58-23:14 How resource heavy and difficult it is to grow food, I think that’s what we lack and what we don’t appreciate, that makes food so disposable to us. SO, I have a few idea’s for basically putting that into people’s consciousness.

  • 23:15-23:36 Terrifyingly the first event that I spoke at was a TEDX conference, that was absolutely mad and I was asked to speak at a local one in London. Which was really fantastic, since then I have been asked to speak at a couple of events.

  • 23:37-23:56 SO, I have done panels for the knowledge transfer network, I’ve recently being doing some within the food technology space, which is definitely a space we are part of. So, we did a really interesting one a couple of weeks ago about commercial opportunity, reducing food waste.

  • 23:57-24:19 So we were on the panel with companies like wino solution’s who help reduce waste in restaurants by showing them how much money they are throwing away and getting them to re-purpose it and olio who are a food sharing company who everyone should use to share surplus food with your neighbours and getting into these discussions.

  • 24:20-24:31 Its not just a thing that I do because I’m charitable its just something that is really useful for me to be part of these circles and I’m able to voice my opinion and get challenged by my opinion actually.

  • 24:32-24:49 I don’t think it’s wise for me to start a start up company from under a rock, the point is that your agile and changing. You can adapt to peoples changing perception and that sort of thing. Obviously speaking at various different events is a really good opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening

  • 24:49-25:34 I think I would just like to encourage people to keep themselves aware of issues that surround them and try to educate yourself about what’s happening in the food, eco system and find out what you personally can do to help reduce food waste, till bump mark arrives and also if you like the idea go on our website and I’m going to add a sign up to email list and we will let you know when it’s launched and chat to your friends about it and tell them about our new crowd funding campaign which we are starting next month! SO, I think that would be a good way to finish this session.