Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karim Khinouche, Founder and CEO of Novolyze Inc., located in Bethesda, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Novolyze is a tech-driven SaaS company helping the world’s food and beverage manufacturers digitalize food safety and quality processes. Every ready-to-eat food out there requires a process to make sure it is safe to eat (like cooking, pasteurization, or chemical treatment), but it’s not easy to ensure that first, the process works flawlessly and second, that it doesn’t create extra waste and work. That’s where Novolyze comes in. We offer a smarter food safety solution that unifies food safety data collection, measurement, analysis, and response.
Our customers save money, resources, and staff labor and augment the quality of their products, all while improving sustainability and minimizing impacts on the environment. As a result, end consumers get the benefit of safer, more sustainably produced food. From farm to fork, we are helping food and beverage manufacturers modernize and optimize their operations.
Tell us about yourself
As a kid, my mom used to say to me, “humans will always need to eat.” I took that piece of advice to heart and decided to dedicate my studies and career to improving the food industry. The prospect of a fast-growing population and decreasing production capability made the food sector a fascinating place to look for problems to solve. After graduating, I was very lucky to be able to start my career working for a visionary tech CEO who trusted me and gave me a lot of autonomy. The business was designing and manufacturing food processing plants, which sit at the crossroads of various technologies and sciences like mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and most importantly, industrial automation and food microbiology.
This role helped me quickly learn about the sector dynamics and opportunities in a particularly focused way. One issue caught my attention: the immense overprocessing happening in food manufacturing. In the name of food safety, manufacturers often overtreat food with the intention of “making sure” food is safe. With emerging software technologies, I felt there should be a way we can reduce this overprocessing, improve food production sustainability and build a successful business around that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Transforming my vision into a reality and seeing the impact of our products and technologies as major food companies use them, showing how a unique company like Novolyze can have a big impact on the world’s largest food and beverage companies.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being agile enough to solve problems that create value for customers while staying focused on the long-term vision is a key challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Identify a common pain point to a given target sector and build your business around it with solutions delivering strong value. Repeat.
- Think carefully about the business model, which will define the scalability, valuation, and access to financing to fuel your company’s growth.
- Keep on doing something you’re passionate about, as you’re going to spend the majority of your time working at this.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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