Interview with Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and Co-Founder at TIPA Corp

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Daphna, please tell us a bit about your personal and professional background before launching TIPA

Before launching TIPA®, I worked as the CEO of the Caesarea Center for Capital Markets and Risk Management at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya. Previously, I held various management positions at SPL World Group Ltd, a software solutions provider. I also held the position of project manager at Whelty Lager Ltd., located in Boston MA, USA.

I received my MBA specializing in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from IDC Herzliya and a BA in Economics and Software Engineering from Bar Ilan University, and before this, I graduated the elite Israel Defense Forces software engineering program (Mamram) and served in the Israeli Navy software unit as an officer (ranked Captain).

Today, I am the CEO and co-founder of TIPA®, a leader in the movement to revolutionize packaging systems and rid the world of plastic pollution with fully compostable flexible packaging that replaces conventional plastic, turning waste into resource.

You’re not only the CEO, but also the co-founder. What drove you to start your company?

The idea for the company actually sparked from an argument I had with one of my kids about the plastic bottles he would take to school – some days he would return them to be reused, while other days he wouldn’t. I said to him ‘we have to think about what we do with our packages.’

At the time, there was a lot of discussion surrounding the matter of plastic packaging and the damage its pollution is doing to our environment. I thought to myself, ‘the world will need a package that is not based on plastic, one that will break down by itself post-consumption.’ I went out jogging and challenged myself to work out a solution, thinking the idea is somewhere right in front of me. And it was, literally. It occurred to me that nature has already created a “recycling system” for orange peels, banana peels, and other organic waste. The resulting vision was to develop a package that acts just like organic material, a package that disappears by its own natural composition.

In order to start your company, you had to invent a product. Tell us a bit about the challenges and success you had on that journey.

When we started out, we were looking for a replacement for plastic water bottles, but what we learned was that flexible plastic packaging, a large and growing segment, has no ecological solution whatsoever. In most cases, it can’t even be recycled. The food packaging industry has been using plastics for several decades. It’s easy, convenient, and it keeps our food fresh, but pollution from litter and incineration is quickly outweighing the advantages of flexible plastic packaging.

Our biggest challenge in finding a viable solution for conventional plastic packaging was finding the point of contact between two seemingly opposite concepts. On the one hand, we wanted the properties of flexible packaging to be exactly the same as conventional plastic—high durability, flexible, transparent, printable, sealable, and waterproof, and on the other hand we wanted the package to decompose within a short period of time, while protecting each client’s unique product. Brands have been using plastic because it’s a material with the technical characteristics which protect their products during its entire lifecycle, whether its food or fashion. Until now, the conversation has centered around what consumers can do to reduce plastic waste, we have expanded compostable packaging to include high-level professional packaging, so that brands can go plastic-free.

What do you think your company’s mission and vision are?

Our mission is to bring a solid, viable, and environmentally responsible alternative to flexible packaging in order to eliminate plastic waste and the harmful pollution it creates in the world.

We want to keep the same features that brands and consumers are used to in conventional plastic like its versatility, printability, transparency and protective qualities, but returns to the planet as a resource. Our ethos is to provide packaging made from viable materials without requiring restructuring from the industry.

Teach us something we don’t already know.

We’ve worked with some major brands from around the world to help to replace their hard-to-recycle packaging, like Waitrose (a large retailer in the UK). We designed fully compostable packaging for their organic fair-trade bananas, and provided the transparency, functionality, look, and feel of their previous packaging while being home compostable.

Who do you believe are our biggest competitors? How does your company differ from them?

The sector is still very small, and because of this we work together with many of the compostable film companies in the segment. What makes us unique is that our packaging is a high performance compostable flexible packaging—suitable for food packaging like granola bars, pasta, produce, grains, frozen vegetables, etc.—and comparable to conventional plastic. Our films prioritize performance and functionality so that brands can switch to compostable packaging without compromising on the health or safety of their product or the environment.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We plan to continue growing as a market leader in the space of compostable solutions, remaining at the forefront of change with cutting-edge technology, and that we will continue to penetrate new markets with new applications, collaborating with companies from all over the world, and changing the future of flexible plastic packaging by replacing it with fully compostable solutions. I will continue leading this company, helping it reach new heights, and driving an impactful change in the world.

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