We are excited to start sharing with you the great companies participating in our 2019 Sprint & DFA Accelerator program. Each week we will bring you the story of one of these companies. You will have the opportunity to meet the companies at our open community event scheduled for 5:30 on Wednesday, May 15th. More details to come!
Today we introduce you to Elizabeth Latham, CEO and Founder of Bezoar Laboratories.
Tell us about your company.
Bezoar Laboratories is named after bezoar stones, protective concretions found in the stomach of ruminants and believed in the past to be a universal antidote for poisons. Our company strives to do what bezoars were thought to do hundreds of years ago ﹘ act as a panacea for humans, animals, and the environment – beginning with the research, development, and commercialization of Paenibacillus fortis.
P.fortis is a denitrifying, spore-forming bacterium, isolated from the bovine rumen and selected for enhanced nitrite-reducing ability. P.fortis, when paired with nitrate, can decrease methane emissions from cattle by 50%. It also reduces foodborne pathogens, increases fermentation efficiency, and enhances ruminal nitrite/nitrate detoxification.
How did your company get started?
This company formed from an invention during my PhD at Texas A&M University; I entered with a goal of helping the world obtain healthier, more cost-effective and more sustainable food.
With this objective in mind, I chose to research the rumen microbiome, a complex ecosystem of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and virus living symbiotically inside the multi-chambered stomach of the ruminant. We started with beef cattle and now, through the accelerator program are expanding to dairy cattle. Nearing the end of my time,
I realized that when I left, this technology would likely stay in the lab unless I actively pursued it, so I started the company in 2017 with the goal of bridging the gap between academia and the real world.
Describe your current stage
We are a research and development company in the seed stage. We are currently supported by government grants, scholarships, and pitch competitions.
What made you interested in joining the DFA Accelerator?
We recently pivoted from focusing on the beef industry to dairy as such we wanted to gain a greater understanding of the inner workings of the dairy industry and start building our network. In addition, we were attracted to the philosophy of the accelerator and thought it would fit well with our current stage and goals.
What are your goals in being part of this program?
In addition to gaining a greater understanding of the dairy industry and enhanced networking, we’re hoping to get help with regulation, improve our leadership and communication skills, and understand the best strategy to form corporate partnerships.
What has been your biggest takeaway or benefit from the program so far?
We came in with a lot of misconceptions about the dairy industry which have been quickly corrected. We also have a clearer understanding of what sort of team dynamic changes need to be implemented.
What has been the most exciting/fun/hilarious moment of the program so far?
We’ve gained so much energy, confidence, and ideas from the program, talks, and other teams.
Startups can get really discouraging and it takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, I feel like my battery is full again.
Do you have any advice or thoughts you’d want to share with future entrepreneurs?
Don’t be an island!