We are looking at a shitty future. At least, that is what our Dungse startup is striving for. With their many different composites made of cow dung, they plan on replacing concrete, wood and ceramics materials in many products worldwide. The SEED Money Project recently awarded them a grant that is going to help them validate their product. Founder Itika Gupta answers some questions.
What kind of fund is the Seed Money Project?
“The Seed Money Project is a governmental fund to help businesses expand internationally. They awarded us with a grant to partner up with the Wageningen University and some national and international partners to conduct a year long feasibility study. In this research, the Wageningen University is going to test our composites on important properties, like strength, fire resistance, acoustics, thermal insulation and circularity. After that, we are going to validate the product on the national and international market.”
What does this fund mean for Dungse?
“It is going to make a huge difference for us. No matter how much work we have done in our labs, we have done it with minimum financial supplies, small machines and, to be honest, at the kitchen table. For the next year, we will have a global research institute behind us that will do a lot of validation for us. These tests are very expensive, but still essential to get access to potential industrial customers. They will only buy our product when these tests have been done. So yes, we are excited to make this big step together with the Wageningen University.”
What is going to happen when the validation is done?
“If the research goes well, the project will expand to other businesses and industries in the Netherlands as well as in India. We have made a partnership with the Dutch Embassy in India and some industrial partners like Vivara/CJ Wildbirdfoods MoooFarm C-CAMP India are also engaged in the Seed Money Project. They will be pulled in after the research has been done.”
What is your hope for the future?
”We hope we can do this project justice and make Dungse a viable business. With our studios, my cofounder Lindey and I have been working very hard on Dungse the last few years. However this is the year when the magic should happen. We have to start making money, get funding, make a good business and sell. For that, we really have to focus on our 3, 6 and 12 month goals. BeStart has promised to keep on helping us with that.”
On April 12th, there will be another DemoDay. What is your request for help to the network in the North of the Netherlands?
“Actually, the gemeente Leeuwarden is looking into the possibility to make some interesting Dungse products to place in the city. This can be anything, like murals, benches or plant facilities. Of course, we are open to more of these partnerships. Moreover, we are looking for a cow dung processing partner, someone with a facility and permits to procure and process cow dung. And of course, we are looking at raising our first round of funding to get a working capital to supply Dungse to companies that have already shown interest in the finished product.”