The pandemic was a rough patch for several businesses, especially to those in the startup scene. But in the midst of the chaos, Frass Pte. Ltd. was born and founded. As their team of three is set out to solve the immediate problem of land scarcity for waste disposal, their beginning was inevitable. In 2021 Alexis Lee, Zi Han Poh and Hong Ling Lee ventured out to turn waste into valuable products with Black Soldier Flies (BSF). Yes, flies! These fascinating creatures feed on food wastes such as okaras and spent grains from factories, resulting in nutritious animal feeds produced with less carbon footprint.
Black Soldier Flies fronting the war.
Spearheading Frass Pte. Ltd.’s vision is the BSF which in the beginning was supposed to be turned into compost/fertilizers. But due to quicker and cheaper chemical product alternatives, the response to their organic product wasn’t as positive as they had hoped it to be. Quick to think on their feet, they remodeled their business model. Constantly asking themselves ‘How do I make Frass work? How can I be relevant? How can I be involved in the farmer's pain point? How can I be part of the solution to fight for our environment?’The purpose of BSF was then altered to be animal feed. They found it to be a solution that best fit BSF after proposing the idea to a poultry farm. This has led them to further their research with BSF, to find the perfect balance of mixing BSF into food waste for a better alternative to animal feed.
Getting the formula right.
New business model, cost, farmer demands, research, solutions - there was a lot to consider during the development of their products. Their team went on farm tours. They contacted several BSF farmers from Africa and Malaysia. They took on challenges one after the other for Frass’ improvement.‘We cracked our heads to find solutions. We communicated and worked well as a team to get us here. We did not call this idea off because we believed in our vision. No effort was spared.’
It came to a point where they were given the choice between their stable jobs and Frass. It was a requirement to claim a 50,000 USD start-up grant. But having Frass’ potential in their hearts and minds, an opportunity to change the entire game for farmers worldwide, they knew the choice they had to make. Now, fully committed to Frass, they are dedicated to always finding ways to improve their product. And one of the ways they have found to do so was to sign up to Lithan Academy. Here they learned how to better their Minimal Viable Product (MVP), having a framework for it to better fit the needs of their consumers.
Being the only company in Singapore developing a formula of their kind while being supported by Enterprise Singapore and institutions such as Republic Polytechnic, Frass’ brings a lot of promise to revolutionizing the disposal of food waste and farming. We can only follow along their journey as they bring Singapore’s innovation to the spotlight together with their success; which along with their strong will and immense passion for Frass’ does not seem impossible.