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Start-up generation

Albert Jané

Co-founder and CEO of Vytrus Biotech

Albert Jané has a degree in Biotechnology and Biochemistry from the UAB and a Master in Experimentation in Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has worked in R&D, quality control and customer service departments at several companies in the chemistry and textile sectors. In 2009, he co-founded Vytrus Biotech and is CEO of the company.

Albert Jané: "It is impossible to make no mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them quickly"

13.11.2018

Vytrus Biotech is based on plant stem-cell cultures technology. The company, founded in 2009 as a spin-off of the University of Barcelona, extracts stem cells from any plant species to grow them in the laboratory, maximizing their beneficial properties and obtaining innovative, natural and sustainable active ingredients. The company is currently focusing on the cosmetics and medical technology sector, manufacturing five products exclusively for third parties and eight cosmetic ingredients of its own, sold through its distributors. Albert Jané, co-founder and CEO of Vytrus Biotech, speaks about the company's plans, which include going public on a European alternative stock market in early 2019.

 

Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur wasn't really my goal. When I did the master on experimentation with this technology, with Oscar Expósito (co-founder of Vytrus Biotech), we saw that there were loads of possibilities with plant cells that the industry wasn't taking advantage of. When we detected this opportunity, we decided to start Vytrus and try to fill this gap and bring all the benefits of plant stem cells to society.

 

What is the most important strategic decision you’ve made so far?

It's hard for me to rank them by importance, because in truth we are making strategic decisions all the time. The first strategic decision, which was instrumental in us being where we are today, was to focus our efforts on the cosmetics and medical technology sectors. Our technology has many applications and without a specific focus we could have spread ourselves too thin. These two sectors have a shorter time-to-market, which is making them a very solid base on which to slowly build a more diversified business model with great promise, looking to other sectors, as well, like functional foods and pharmaceuticals. There have also been other important decisions, like joining forces with Inkemia, which has brought both funding and very important business and science expertise. Or seeing our business as international from the very beginning, which has allowed us to now be selling in 15 countries. We still have a lot of growing to do internationally, but we have a good foundation with more than 40% of sales abroad.

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

It isn't advice, it is a quote from Einstein that I have always liked. "If you want a different outcome, don't keep doing the same thing." It's a principle that can apply to any area of life, and business, too. The best way to learn from your mistakes is by analyzing them and finding a different approach. It is impossible to make no mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them quickly in order to resolve them and make sure they don't happen again.

 

And now what? What milestones do you want to achieve in the short term?

Right now, at Vytrus, we have a very solid foundation to start exponential growth in sales. We have eight of our own cosmetic ingredients with different activities and a network of distributors in 50 countries. Over the coming years, we will continue doing research and developing new high-quality products, both for cosmetics and healthcare products. Our efforts, however, will mainly go towards boosting our production capacity and strengthening our sales team and presence internationally. Moreover, we expect to go public on a European alternative stock market in early 2019, with the aim of boosting our growth and consolidating our position with clients and the competition. To achieve these goals, which are key to consolidating the business, we have begun a €2-million capital increase we expect to close within the next few months.