Today: Jul 20, 2024

Kerala startup offers tasty algae cookies and refreshing oxygen bar.

7 months ago

Key Points:

  • Zaara Biotech, a biotech startup based in Thrissur, Kerala, has developed an oxygen bar and algae-based cookies.
  • The company won recognition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference for its innovative products.
  • Zaara Biotech manufactures India’s first algal-seaweed food products and exports them to eight countries.
  • The company is also developing applications for its oxygen bar technology in different industries.
  • Zaara Biotech received strategic investments of $10 million from TCN International Commerce and funding from the US.
  • The company plans to raise Rs 4 crore for marketing its B-lite brand across India.
  • Zaara Biotech was incubated under the Kerala Startup Mission and installed a decarbonizing tank at the agency’s office.

Thrissur-based startup Zaara Biotech has gained recognition for its innovative products, an oxygen bar and algae-based cookies, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in Dubai. The biotech company, which focuses on using micro-algae to address energy and food crises, was the only startup among 22 participants to receive the opportunity to present at the summit.

Zaara Biotech was originally a student project started by Najeeb Bin Haneef and his friends in 2016 while studying biotechnology engineering at Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology. Haneef continued to pursue the project even after completing his studies, collaborating with the Indian Council of Agriculture and Research’s Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR-CIFT) for research and development of food products.

The company has developed India’s first algal-seaweed food products, including their flagship product, B-lite cookies. These cookies are made with Spirulina, a type of non-toxic blue-green algae that is a natural source of vegan protein. The cookies come in four flavors and are exported to eight countries. Zaara Biotech claims that the cookies are filling and high in nutrients, with ingredients such as oats, quinoa, and organic whole millets.

In addition to their food products, Zaara Biotech has also launched an oxygen bar called Obelia. The oxygen bar uses core-algae and seaweed technology to trap carbon dioxide and relies on updated engineering concepts. It is designed to be used in indoor and outdoor bio-architecture designs.

Zaara Biotech is now diversifying its innovations by applying algae technology to different industries. The company is set for talks with the Dubai administration to explore the application of their oxygen bar technology in the emirate, particularly due to the hot climate and sparse rains in the Gulf region.

In terms of funding, Zaara Biotech received a strategic investment of $10 million from UAE-based TCN International Commerce in 2020. The company also secured funding from the US but did not disclose the amount. These investments helped establish subsidiary units in the respective countries. Currently, Zaara Biotech is looking to raise Rs 4 crore to support their marketing efforts for the B-lite brand across India.

Zaara Biotech’s success can be attributed in part to its incubation under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), which provides support and guidance to startups in Kerala. The company recently installed a decarbonizing tank at KSUM’s office as part of its continued collaboration.

Zaara Biotech’s founder and CEO, Najeeb Bin Haneef, credits the supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kerala for helping the company grow, despite his lack of business background.