Let food be thy medicine

Enhancing health through smart microbiomes

Different studies show that diversity powers innovation, and that’s not only in terms of educational and professional background but also mixing people from different cultures and age groups.

Name: Aline de Santa Izabel Alves
Position: Founder/CEO

What is your connection to SSES, and how has it influenced or affected your journey?
I have developed a very close relationship with SSES since 2015 when after obtaining my degrees in Science and working some years in the industry as a researcher I decided to start my MSc studies in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at KTH. During the first course of the program, Ideation, I started to develop my first business idea, which later I incubated at the SSES Fellowship program. I’ve been doing a bunch of skill courses too (basically all of them!) and participated in 2 bootcamps (Social Innovation meets Design in 2016 in Iceland, and The Future of Life last month here in Stockholm). And now I’m extremely happy to be back at SSES with a new business concept, Synbiotic Kitchen.
It has been A LOT of great learnings with SSES, and being part of the SSES community connected me to a fantastic network of entrepreneurs and change makers active in the Stockholm startup ecosystem and beyond, which was both inspiring and powerful in helping me to develop my own ventures.

To whom or what do you most attribute your success so far?
Sometimes I like to say that “the best is yet to come” since I am still on my way to achieve my entrepreneurial goals. I believe that a combination of knowledge, a network of inspirational and engaged people and a great vision + team, combined with drive, passion and a strong will to create meaningful and impactful innovations can be a powerful mix of components to pave the way to success. I have been collecting and developing those components through my career, and now I am using them to fuel my entrepreneurial endeavors. On a professional level, the ultimate success for me will be to actively contribute to a more healthy, happy and sustainable future with my ventures and products, creating real impact.

How would you describe your company and what is your vision?
Why should we keep continue eating foods that make us feel sick, instead of eating foods that enhance our health? Our motto in the Synbiotic Kitchen is “Let the Food be Thy the Medicine and the Medicine by Thy the food” – we are developing an innovative educational program to promote gut microbiome modulation through nutrition, with a strong focus on preventive health. We are helping different stakeholders in the food and healthcare system – consumers and patients, food producers and food providers, and healthcare professionals – to get more knowledgeable about microbiome science and its correlation with food and nutrition.
My vision is to become a leader in preventive health based on microbiome modulation through lifestyle interventions.

What’s the biggest opportunity for you right now?
The microbiome is a very hot topic and a new area of knowledge, which is creating great opportunities for new products development and innovations. My ambition now is to become a pioneer in developing and applying microbiome modulation strategies in primary preventive care, and that’s a unique opportunity to develop businesses (like Synbiotic Kitchen) with can have a great social impact. And of course, counting with the support of SSES network is a great opportunity to attract the right resources and partners into our concept from early stages.

Do you enjoy working in interdisciplinary groups? If so, what are the benefits?
I love it! It’s a great opportunity to evaluate challenges and opportunities from different perspectives using different approaches. By doing that you can have a 360 C view and co-create greater things than by working on a homogeneous group of people. Different studies show that diversity power innovation, and that’s not only in terms of educational and professional background but also mixing people from different cultures and age groups.

What personality trait do you think is most important for success?
Optimism! To be able to cope with all the adversities of life, the ups and downs of the starting up rollercoaster you have to be positive, really believe in yourself and in your vision, and find creative solutions to create great things with limited resources.