First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adam Noble: The pandemic definitely hasn’t been easy, but my family and I are healthy, so I am very grateful for that.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Noblegen.
Adam Noble: Since I was very young, I’ve always loved science and biology. My parents were both vets, and they would bring microscopes home with them on weekends; I’d spend hours looking at all kinds of living things under the microscopes. Eventually, my love for science and biology led me to study euglena. I learned everything I could about euglena and developed a kinship with it. Euglena was an outcast, and it didn’t really fit into a lot of biological dogma, I could really relate to it when I was growing up. In high school, I decided to feature euglena in my science fair projects. Those went really well, and I excelled at the provincial level and eventually the national level in Canada, so much so that I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Nobel ceremony for youth scientists. It was all an amazing experience. After high school, I knew that I wanted to continue my work with euglena, but I also wanted to become a surgeon. So I co-founded Noble Tech as an industrial water filtration company and moved to Ireland to go to school to become a surgeon. Eventually, the business started to grow, and I realized that I could make a much bigger impact with my company than I could as a surgeon, so I moved back to Canada to focus on the company.
Noble Tech eventually became Noblegen, and we started to work on commercializing euglena based ingredients and food products for the Food & Beverage industry. Now, we have one of the most efficiently made, complete, vegan proteins available today! With euglena, we’ve also been able to make meat, dairy, and egg analogues far more efficiently than their animal-based counterparts. Our ingredients are available now, and our first food products will be available for sampling soon!
How does Noblegen innovate?
Adam Noble: At Noblegen, we’re constantly innovating. We view ourselves as scientists first and foremost. We do all of our own R&D work, and our team is always working to find ways to make our food and ingredients more efficiently. We’re also using all of the latest technology to dive deeper into euglena to discover other amazing things that we theorize it is capable of. We’re confident that those discoveries will eventually lead to significant innovation across several industries.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Adam Noble: The pandemic really slowed things down for us as a company. The Food & Beverage industry relies heavily on collaboration and partnerships. A lot of the partnerships we had built up were put on hold as a result of the lockdowns, but that allowed us to look more at the bigger picture. We were able to really focus on our R&D and proof of concepts, which helped us narrow our focus for 2021.
Did you have to make difficult choices due to the pandemic and what are the lessons learned?
Adam Noble: We learned a lot about ourselves as a company and how resilient we are and can be. The decisions we made along the way were incredibly difficult. Noblegen is a family of like-minded people that all came together to make the world a better place, so telling some employees that they’d no longer be able to do that with us was hard.
The most important (and harshest) lesson I learned was that the greater good of the company has to come first if Noblegen is to reach its full potential and have as big an impact on the world as I want it to.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Adam Noble: A lot has changed regarding our customer relationship management. Prior to the pandemic, we were very used to visiting potential customers/partners/investors or having them visit us. We also had a consistent presence at several trade shows. Both of those things have been pushed aside during the pandemic. Thankfully, we’re still able to ship samples to customers, while also having virtual meetings with people all over the world. Technology has been a big help for us there – Google Meet, Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, we’ve used all of them in some way, shape, or form. Without face-to-face communication, online organizational tools/programs have also played a big role in keeping us organized across the company – Monday.com, and Evernote specifically.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Adam Noble: We did get some subsidies that helped keep us going. We’re very thankful for the support we’ve always received from the Canadian federal government, as well as our Ontario provincial government.
What makes Noblegen different from other players in the market?
Adam Noble: Noblegen is different from others in the market because we’ve always stayed true to our core – we aim to be 100% transparent with our customers and consumers. And we’ve got some exciting things on the horizon. We’ll be introducing exciting new product developments in the next few weeks as well as an announcement on our next round of funding. Stay tuned!
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