Article by: Deepthi Sendilkumar
Meet our Investors
To create innovative products that can help us and our environment, Spira is fortunate to have the backing of several investors. To learn more about their stories and relationship with Spira we have interviewed 3 of our investors: Michael Gibson from the 1517 Team, Tony Chou from Oak Family Investments and Josh Leong from Surf Club Ventures.
Q: How does your mission connect with Spira’s?
MG: 1517 was first connected with Spira through MarsBio around 2017-2018. Spira has immense long-term potential in the realm of nutrition and an unsuspecting element of science fiction such as growing algae on different planets. Both of these really connect with 1517’s unorthodox and refreshing approach.
TC: Oak Family Wealth Investments aims at supporting companies in their early stages. Spira is a passion-driven company aiming to benefit the environment and human health. Spira’s presence in health and climate strongly connects with the types of companies Oak Family invests in.
JL: Surf Club Ventures support companies “solving pressing problems in the areas of climate change, food and housing, personalized medicine, and democratized finance.” When first introduced to Elliot, Josh spoke about how Elliot reminded him of a “mad scientist” with a strong vision to improve the future backed by the ability to execute.
Q: What motivated you to invest in Spira?
MG: Friday Night Dyson Sphere. At 1517, a key founder characteristic that the team looks for when investing is the Friday Night Dyson Sphere or the ambition combined with a level of science fiction which Elliot hit the nail on the head. Apart from that, the team is another very important factor and Spira has the needed combination of creativity and technological know-how to confidently invest. When assessing the current state of the product, Spira also exceeded their expectations.
TC: Tony discussed how Oak operates differently from a traditional venture capitalist. Spira’s potential for exponential growth was very attractive to Oak while also looking into the flexibility of the team. Another motivation to invest was Elliot with his unique abilities as a founder and vast technical knowledge. Finally, the Oak team was motivated by the broad application of the concept and its effect not only in the food industry but its potential in textile, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, etc.
JL: Josh was motivated by Spira’s potential to create a better future for the environment. Similar to other investors, Josh was also impressed by the technical knowledge of the team, the potential to scale and the growing market size.
Q: How do you support Spira?
MG: Michael explained how running a start-up can be a daunting process, taking a mental and emotional toll on founders. Hence, he hopes to create a safe and vulnerable space for Elliot and others and act as a sounding board.
TC: Oak family has a unique ability to support Spira by introducing the team to their Asian ecosystem. With a strong presence in Asia, Tony hopes to support Spira in the future by working closely with the textile business in Asia by shipping samples and working closely with various corporations.
JL: Josh hopes to help by being Spira’s “cheerleaders” this includes connecting Spira with individuals/companies in Hawaii where Josh is based and creating more funding opportunities.
Q: What do you hope to see from Spira in the Future?
MG: 1517 is interested in seeing the wide application of Spira’s products and technologies in the future such as its use in nutrition to accommodate the growing population as well as its potential for carbon sequestration.
TC: Oak Family hopes to see further development in Spira’s platform such as increasing the use cases of their pigment products, working with adjacent companies and universities, as well as developing additional technologies. Tony also mentioned the potential use of different strains of algae in the future to create innovative products.
JL: Josh is interested in seeing more products that help us integrate with the environment. This includes being able to replace more petrochemical and industrial-based products while creating a carbon-positive future.
Spira is extremely fortunate to have the support of a vast number of investors. Stay tuned as we share more of their stories in the future.