Get to know ACE startup founders & find out what drives them!
The ACE-List: We are proud and excited to introduce our awesome startup founders. The ACE-List is a regular installment where startup teams from the ACE Incubation Program introduce themselves and share a little insight into their startup journey!
Meet the founders!
Industry: Personal Care products
Founded in: 2019
Heleen Kibbelaar, PhD candidate in complex fluid systems at the University of Amsterdam
Sun4Us is the first sunscreen which delivers protection against UV-light by the use of only plant based materials, and is therefore fully biobased. This enables the customer to have the best protection against UV-light without using ingredients which are harmful for the environment.
How did you come up with your startup idea?
During my studies in chemistry, I was always been working on cosmetic/personal care products though internships or my own experiments in the lab. I developed a sunscreen for people with albinism in Africa and during my masters I worked on a new type of UV-filter. The moment I decided to turn this project into a startup was after a presentation about the UV filters when people came up to me and asked why I hadn’t started commercializing this yet!
What is your company’s unique proposition?
This will be the first sunscreen that is actually plant and bio-based. Offering very good protection against UV-light and is good for the planet.
What has been your ACE moment?
I think my ACE moment was after attending several workshops and observing that you can apply a certain methodology to potentially make your start up successful.
What has the shift from academia to entrepreneurship been like for you?
My academic background enabled me to develop the technical part of my product. The shift to entrepreneurship made my mindset change about how to get this product on the market. I found it interesting to see that also for your startup you can apply certain methodologies just like they teach you during your studies.
What is the best advice you could give someone who wants to start their own business?
Listen to your prospective customers! The product you are developing is not for yourself but for your customers, so listen to their feedback.
What are your next steps for the coming months/half year?
Improve my prototype further, get funding to run several (regulations) tests.