Winner takes all: NZ’s Organic Bioactives aiming to grow exposure in Asia after bagging top L’Oréal innovation prize

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Organic Bioactives is focusing on expanding its reach in Asia. [GettyImages]
Organic Bioactives is focusing on expanding its reach in Asia. [GettyImages]

Related tags Apac organic New zealand Singapore

Māori-owned ingredient maker Organic Bioactives is focusing on expanding its reach in Asia with the establishment of a Singapore office and a new product pipeline after winning the top prize in L'Oréal’s start-up competition.

Founded in 2019, Organic Bioactives develops cosmetic ingredients based on New Zealand’s diverse range of native botanicals.

In February, the firm announced that it was recognised as one of the top two winners of L'Oréal Innovation Runway 2020, a competition in partnership with SLINGSHOT 2020, a start-up competition organised by Enterprise Singapore.

The competition recognised the New Zealand company’s proprietary TPT Xtraction technology, a method that utilises cold-processing and ultrasonic-assisted extraction to get high yield with low environmental impact.

Additionally, this technique allows harvest or actives using of water rather than chemicals.

“This was a completely unexpected, massive achievement and recognition that gave us that extra boost of energy…Our fellow competitors were of such a high calibre. We were incredibly humbled to win,”​ said Andrea Taimana, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Organic Bioactives.

She added: “To hear and learn about all the various ways science and technology are being used to advance the beauty industry was really uplifting and insightful. I was delighted to see that as a collective we are moving towards more sustainable approaches in the cosmetic industry.”

For achieving the top prize, Organic Bioactives has been awarded SGD5,000 (USD3,778), access to a valuable industry network, and potential access to L’Oréal’s R&D expertise.

“Mentorship from L’Oréal and potential access to their resources will allow us to grow in our knowledge to further explore natural bioactives and their untapped potential,”​ said Taimana.

Expanding exposure in Asia

Furthermore, the company stands to receive an SGD30,000 (USD22,672) grant from Startup SG, which it intends to use to open an office in Singapore.

Today, the company has a few established distributors in Asia, including the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, China, and Korea. With a representative in Singapore, the firm would be able to support its distributors in the region.

“We’ve been considering establishing a sales department or representative office in Asia, so this has come at a fantastic time. We’re currently in conversation with the Singapore government about the grant and we are looking forward to opening our representative office in Singapore,” ​said Andrea

The company will be placing more focus on Asia this year as it aims to widen and deepen its exposure in the region where it believes holds a lot of potential for its New Zealand-sourced ingredients.

“Asia recognises New Zealand as a source of pure, clean and green producer of foods, nutraceuticals cosmeceuticals. That's why we have to put a lot of attention on Asian consumer and their needs. And therefore, we’ve developed a pipeline that's suitable and also compliant regulation wise in the Asian region,” ​said Taimana.

Currently, the company is working on developing more products in its ingredient portfolio.

“We are looking into in-depth research and the development of more concentrated bioactives from our beautiful raw materials that we can source from New Zealand,​” said Taimana.

She revealed that to target the Asian markets, the new products in the pipeline were developed with the Asian consumers in mind.

“We are incorporating botanicals that are widely and traditionally known in Asia but sourced from New Zealand to provide consumers with high-quality actives for even better and faster results.”

The company also intends to invest in new equipment and expand its scientific team, Taimana added.

“We are going to invest in industry-proven scientific equipment that is able to perform in-vivo tests and trials. We are also going to expand the team with scientists that are skilled and experienced in our industry.”

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