SIMRIS TURNS 10!
Fortuitously, Simris finds itself at its decennial birthday during a year which feels ripe with change – for the better!
We gain our inspiration from algae. This wondrous organism constantly adapts to its environment, developing new ways to flourish in an ever-changing habitat. Perhaps we can take a page from this way of surviving and, dare we say, thriving? We may not always have control over all that’s going on in the world around us, but we can do our best to adapt to what’s happening, adjust our reactions to it, experience what comes our way, and maybe even thrive. We think that’s what our algae friends would do anyway.
As Simris reaches its 10-year milestone, we can’t help but reflect on our experiences and accomplishments in what has been a decade of algae. From the early days of our Founder and CEO Fredrika Gullfot, PhD, building a vision around her fascination for these tiny miracle sea plants to our more recent achievements spreading knowledge and appreciation for what they can do for our bodies and our world, we like to think we’ve made a difference – but we’re only just getting started.
Indulge us as we take a trip down memory lane and recollect some of our proudest moments since our beginnings back in 2011.
Let’s bring it way back to 1925. As early seeds of a second great war are being planted throughout Europe, a man by the name of Otto J. Olson has a different kind of seed on his mind. Olson lives in the tiny village of Hammenhög (population: 908 as of 2010) in the very south of Sweden and in 1925, starts breeding seed crops.
From these modest beginnings, Olson launches Hammenhögs Frö, which becomes an iconic business that heavily influences the village’s history and its future.
Fast-forward to 2010. While Apple releases the iPad and Facebook hits 550 million users, a small tech company is in its early days – not even a company yet, but rather an emerging idea from Gullfot, who completes her PhD in Biotechnology from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and discovers the wonderful world of algae.
That autumn, Gullfot travels to the 4th Annual Algae Biomass Summit (the largest event in the world when it comes to these tiny sea flowers) in Phoenix, Arizona where she presents “Simris – microalgae made in Sweden”. She hasn’t looked back since.
"There’s a fire starting in my heart. Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark. Finally, I can see you crystal clear." Adele’s Rolling in the Deep tops the Billboard charts in May and perfectly encapsulates the early days of Simris.
Gullfot – a vegan ultramarathoner – spends many hours on the trail, giving her lots of time to create and develop her business aspirations. These aspirations center around the immense potential of algae within biotech to develop sustainable production processes and better products.
In February of 2011, Simris is officially founded by Gullfot as a private company and is joined by her daughter Daphne Jaeschke, MSc Marketing & Management who, at the time, is conducting her Master’s research on “green”, exclusive skincare featuring microalgae.
To start, Simris sells microalgae consultancy services in conjunction with the development of our proprietary production process. Simris receives the “VINN NU” award by Sweden’s national innovation agency VINNOVA as one of the country’s strongest new innovation-based startups.
A South Korean singer known by the name of Psy takes the world – and YouTube – to a new level of K-pop awareness with "Gangnam Style".
Meanwhile, Simris takes the village of Hammenhög to a new level of startup culture as we move into Mr. Olson’s former plant-breeding facility and turn its iconic greenhouses into the Algae Farm. (Could Olson ever have imagined the future of his farm? Probably not, but we like to think he’d be pretty pleased.)
Construction work begins at the farm, building both laboratories and the first pilot modules. In the meantime, the Simris brand is being developed between the company’s Stockholm office and sunny Österlen HQs.
Simris is awarded Challenger of the Year title at the Beautiful Business Awards by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Swedish Agency for Economic Growth, as well as the Scania Region Environmental Award.
“Feeling my way through the darkness - Guided by a beating heart - I can’t tell where the journey will end - But I know where to start” A Swedish man by the name of Tim Bergling – commonly known as Avicii – has his biggest year in 2013 with, among other things, the release of “Wake Me Up”.Bergling’s incredible lyrics speak to the Simris journey as we break into a virtually non-existent, at the time, industry.
This is the year in which we harvest our algae and produce algal oil in product quality for the first time. This is not only a first for Sweden, but in fact for all of Europe. Talk about pioneering!
We win the Simrishamn Municipal Environmental Award.
Imagining a world without gender inequality gets that much easier as actress and Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson launches the United Nations "HeForShe" initiative, which strives to close the gender gap on all fronts.
By the same token, our Founder and CEO Fredrika Gullfot becomes the first woman to receive the National Chemical Engineering Award in Sweden. Who run the world?
We proudly receive quality certification by Lloyd’s Register QA and are included on the nationally acclaimed “33-list” as one of the "hottest new technology startups" by Swedish business media.
This is the year we launch our first consumer products on the market in the Simris® Algae Omega-3 and Simris® Select lines, and Simris is immediately awarded as the Best New Natural Brand 2015 at the Natural & Organic Awards Scandinavia. Grand Hôtel Stockholm becomes the first official retail partner for Simris.
In the meantime, Wired Magazine appoints Gullfot as one of 12 "Innovation Fellows with the potential to change the world". We are included on the “33-list” for the second year in a row. Big steps for a small company.
If you took a break from your search for Pikachu on Pokémon Go to keep up with the stock market, you may have noticed a new player on the scene: Simris is listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market, making it one of the first publicly listed vegan companies. As the world loses David Bowie and Prince, we proudly sing “take your algae pills and put your helmet on” in their honor, looking toward the future.
Our algae farm reaches full industrial scale and becomes one of the world’s most modern large-scale algae farms. If you’re unsure what an algae farm actually looks like, let us give you a hint. Imagine a science fiction scene with a laboratory full of shiny glass tubes (PBRs). That’s our algae farm in a nutshell.
Our PBRs are named after characters from the wildly popular "Game of Thrones" HBO series (because, why not?). The smallest photobioreactor is dubbed Tyrion while the two largest are, of course, Daenerys and Cersei. The magic that creates our algae oil all happens within this high-tech system of shiny glass tubes.
While the Oscar’s Best Picture snafu has everyone wondering how? after "La La Land" is announced as the winner instead of "Moonlight", Simris is making its own announcements, this year marking the start of its contract with Sweden’s major pharmacy chain, Apoteket.
We win the Swedish Food Prize.
Meghan and Harry get hitched, Serena makes her postpartum comeback and Simris takes Psy’s K-pop influence to heart as we sign our first major distribution contract in South Korea.
Our US subsidiary, Simris Inc. is incorporated and we make a deal with Sweden’s major department store, Åhlens, as one of our retail partners.
We make it to the finalist level of FoodBytes! in San Francisco and we win “Gasellsprånget” in Malmö, Sweden for being "a young company with the potential to become a profitable business success".
The world gets introduced to the “Greta effect” as Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg stands up to leaders of all realms and levels in an effort to mitigate climate change.
Simultaneously, the US gets introduced to Simris as we launch a new, US-focused online store and partner with like-minded retailers such as Carbon Beauty, Erewhon Market, Lemon Laine and Shop Good.
Back on the home front, we’re thrilled to welcome Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden for a tour of our Algae Farm.
Although this is a year many may prefer to forget, there are nevertheless some big moments for Simris.
We team up with Gwyneth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand goop that take in our Simris® Algae Omega-3. Simris Co-Founder Daphne Jaeschke wins in the wellness category of Glossy/Digiday’s Future Leaders Awards.
We open five pop-up shops spread over New York City and Stockholm. And through it all, we grow in experience and wisdom, navigating the uncharted waters of multi-faceted markets in the midst of a pandemic.
What a decade it’s been! Thank you for following along on our journey – and for being here now. We wouldn’t have made it this far without your support, and we couldn’t be happier to share the #algaelove. Happy 10 years to Simris and cheers to what’s to come!