This week we are introducing Nikolai Braun, co-founder and CSO of Revolution Bioengineering (RevBio) – a horticultural biotechnology company that created a unique flower changing color from blue to pink and vice versa. RevBio stayed at Startup Basecamp for the IndieBio Demo Day; the culmination of their summer-long business accelerator program.
Get ready to discover his innovative ideas and be inspired by his story !
# 2 : Nikolai Braun, RevBio co-founder
Everything started in the Mountains…
I am an outdoor enthusiast and I love experiencing nature and exploring new places. I spend most of my free time mountain climbing in my backyard, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Being outdoors, riding my bicycle or going for a walk always relaxes me and I really need this daily connection with nature to feel good, to blossom and to be productive.
Building a better world!
My co-founder and I worked in the same synthetic biology research laboratory developing state-of-the-art plants for the Department of Defense. In May 2013, we decided to launch our Startup.
Biology has been kept bottled up in laboratories and used for the noble purpose of developing foods and medicines, at the cost of public perception.
Today, we are freeing biotechnology from the lab and making it available to everybody everywhere in the form of beautiful flowers.
We started RevBio to make biotechnology beautiful!
While we saw how excited people were about this project, we also saw that there was a lot of fear and confusion around biotechnology in general. We got the idea that consumer biotechnology, specifically color-changing flowers, would be a powerful way to communicate with people and give everyone a chance to experience the potential of the technology in a new context, a beautiful flower that anyone can grow in their front yard. We named our flagship flower Petunia Circadia.
Our project is based on the following vision: a world where great design and brilliant science come together to build a better future!
2 different worlds
The transition from a laboratory scientist to a businessman has been the hardest transition and where I’ve made the most mistakes. My previous employment required that all statements regarding work be explicitly factual and supported by objective evidence. Opinions were always couched as tentative ideas.
In business, ideas are at the heart of what you do and why. Ideas have to be presented as fundamentals, not aspirations.
I have improved considerably at this, but I still need some practice!
When biotechnology meets art
My greatest achievement is getting other people excited about what we are doing.
More and more, people are fascinated about the potential beauty of biotechnology and a real future for floral innovations.
One of our concepts, a flower that changes color on demand, has been chosen for an art installation in London developed by Professor Helen Storey from the University of the Arts. The display uses our color-changing flowers to examine nature, technology and society. We hope this art exhibit will encourage people to start a new conversation about biotechnology and its potential to change the world.
My advice for future entrepreneurs
Good enough is better than perfect.
Talk to everyone.
Write down everything.
Get a calendar.
Get a dependable mobile phone and computer.
Hire people to do the things you can’t do.
Seriously, talk to everyone!
Read widely and keep reading
Business-wise, I would recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People, especially for introverts like myself. It’s a classic for a reason, and the advice in that book holds true for relationships in business and beyond.
Your favorite motto?
The RevBio motto is Beautiful Biology — it encompasses what we truly believe, and are trying to promote at the company—the aesthetic interpretation of biotechnology.
Stay tuned with RevBio