7 minutes with Gloop
One day, in the middle of the pandemic, I received a Linkedin message from Hernán Hernández, a young entrepreneur about to finish his entrepreneurship & innovation studies at LEINN. He asked me for my opinion on two projects: one dedicated to the escape room environment and the other, called Gloop, focused on producing edible straws and spoons to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic. I found his escape room project so amazing that I have even recommended it to my clients. And the Gloop project, which she runs hand in hand with her partner Marta Maneja, simply stole my heart. Today Gloop is much more than a project, it has officially become a company and, like all companies with a soul, it is wonderful to hear its story.
1.To begin with, what is LEINN?
It is a 4-year university degree created by the University of Mondragon in partnership with TeamLabs whose objective is to train its students in entrepreneurship and innovation. The method has nothing to do with the structure of a traditional bachelor’s degree. During the 4 years that the degree lasts you have to create a real company with all that this implies: identify market needs, possible services, travel to other countries to explore other markets (we made 4 trips of cultural adaptation), generate the framework of the company and your own customers, follow the turnover and profits produced by the company … These are your “subjects”, which you experience and live in real mode. Just as there are no conventional subjects, we don’t work in classrooms either. Instead, you create your own work teams with people who will become your partners, with whom you will collaborate from the beginning to the end of the degree. In this type of learning process it is essential that you get to know yourself so that you can develop yourself with what really makes you feel fulfilled. It is not about learning concepts that do not really fulfill you and for which you do not understand the why and wherefore.
2.Where did the idea of creating Gloop come from? What is its purpose?
Our goal is to create a revolution against single-use plastic. The idea came up in India, during a study trip. There, my classmate Marta told me that, in the business project, she didn’t want to do something just to make money: she wanted to help and contribute. And as when Marta wants something she doesn’t stop until she gets it, we took our backpacks and went to the north of India to find the inspiration we needed. There we had the opportunity to meet a local entrepreneur who, like us, was driven by the idea of contributing and had started to develop the concept of creating edible straws and spoons. We jumped on board and started working together. Just when we brought the idea to Spain, the pandemic hit and the project came to a complete halt. However, starting in September 2020, we took it up again. We applied to the accelerator of our university and that’s where, thanks to mentors and work together, we started to test the market and the product, to send samples and to see what business model was the right one and what viability this product could have. For 3-4 months we were testing, listening, iterating and, from there, we began to participate in tenders to see what opinion the product aroused. The media helped us a lot and, when March 2021 arrived, we decided to take a step forward and look for a more suitable industry to manufacture our phase 2 product and we found it in Northern Europe. This product, better and more evolved, was ready to go to market in April and that’s what we did, willing to go the extra mile and retest this new version. We evaluated the prices and decided to put the product on the market. Our first campaign was in May and the reception has been very good. In September we will launch our new formula and new business channels, as we are in the middle of a campaign of meetings with companies that are interested in the product and exploring different types of investment.
3.How do you choose your partners for this journey?
We value very much how potential partners (client companies, manufacturers, investors, …) behave with us, how they talk to us and what kind of approach they have. We are 22 and 23 years old and for us it is essential that we are treated as equals, with transparency and through honest communication, otherwise the synergies will not be positive. We connect easily with those partners who are proactive and willing to innovate, to try new things and who give us the right space to do so, who trust us and who are willing to commit to our way of working and the confidentiality we demand. Sometimes, we are contacted by eventual partners interested in our product but, just considering the type of questions they ask us, we quickly discard them. We want them to be members of our community, we want them to be able to create a sustainable relationship with us and support the brand, we want them to see our potential and that of the project as something long term… If not, the conversation is no longer important.
4.What are the next steps for Gloop?
The next steps are going to be what we call “seeding campaign”. We want Gloop to deposit its small seeds that generate roots in different parts of Spain and grow with our customers, recognized brands in the market, with shared values and that help us to position ourselves. We also want to bring the manufacturing of our products closer to our customers, making them local. The idea is that, if we manage to make Gloop something big, we will be able to democratize prices, make them affordable for everyone so that even the small neighborhood bar can afford it because it is within their budget and they don’t even consider resorting to plastic. We have many branding challenges ahead of us.
We love your proposal, team Gloop, and we join you in your idea of the plastic-free revolution!