Bringing the lab to you. SG Papertronics is a Research & Development (R&D) company, founded in 2016 by Maciej Grajewski and Gert Salentijn. The startup specializes in onsite chemical analysis and in the last couple of weeks, the two founders pitched their idea at conventions and competitions around the globe, from Berlin to Taiwan.
The craft beer industry is booming, with lots and lots of microbreweries popping up in the past couple of years. For large breweries, quality assurance is a streamlined industrial process, but for small ones, it’s quite the hassle. Chemical analysis is a costly and time consuming affair and requires a lot of expertise. That’s where SG Papertronics comes in, with paper based testing kits and an easy to use reader.
Ideas on the back of beer coasters
Maciej Grajewski and Gert Salentijn met in 2012, while both of them were working on their PhD project at the Pharmaceutical Analysis Group of the University of Groningen. “We would get together after work, enjoy a craft beer, and toy with the idea of starting a company after finishing our PhD”, Maciej says. “Many of our early ideas and concepts were written down on the back of beer coasters.”
“We wanted our research in microfluidics to have a commercial application, but finding the right market took some time”, Maciej continues. “In the medical and pharmaceutical world, there are lots and lots of regulations and it can take over a decade before you’re able to get your product on the market.”
Martinus craft beer pilot
The two started SG Papertronics in 2016 and decided to focus on the craft beer market first. “A lot of brewers don’t have a background in chemistry, let alone a degree”, Maciej adds with a smile. “We wanted to make something that’s super easy to use, like a pregnancy test, along with a reading device that interprets the results of a test in an understandable way. In other words, we want to make it really easy for brewers to test the quality of their beer.”
The startup received €10,000 from the SNN fund to create a prototype and soon, they’ll start testing it at the Martinus Brewery in Groningen. “It’s a great way to test our prototype and tweak things until we have something that’s market ready”, Maciej explains. “We’ll be able to see exactly how our prototype is being used and how we can make it as user friendly as possible. After the pilot, we think we’ll be ready to talk to investors, so exciting times! Ultimately, we can also use our testing kit and reader in other markets, like testing the quality of drinking water in developing countries or disaster areas.”
Pitching around the globe
In the meantime, the two founders are busy traveling the world and pitching their idea. “It’s really cool, we were selected as finalists for a number of startup competitions and scientific conventions, like Falling Walls in Berlin, RSC Emerging Technologies in London and conventions in Poland and Taiwan. So we did a lot of traveling these past few weeks. We didn’t win anything, but it’s great just be nominated as a finalist and meet people from around the world with amazing ideas.”