My name is Daphna Nissenbaum, I am the CEO and Co-Founder of TIPA®, a leading developer and manufacturer of compostable packaging founded in Israel in 2012. Previously, I held management positions at SPL World Group Ltd, a software solutions provider, and Whelty Lager Ltd., located in Boston MA, USA.
TIPA’s mission is to bring a solid, viable, and environmentally responsible alternative to flexible packaging to eliminate plastic waste and the harmful pollution it creates in the world. Our solution offers the same features that brands and consumers have come to love in conventional plastic, but also have the capability of returning to the planet as a resource at its end of the life cycle. TIPA’s ethos is to provide packaging solutions that do not require massive restructuring from the industry. We are transforming the plastic crisis into an opportunity. Today, I am leading the TIPA® team in the movement to revolutionize packaging systems and rid the world of plastic pollution. TIPA[NB1] ® is fully compostable flexible packaging that replaces conventional plastic, turning waste into a resource, a crisis into an opportunity.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I started to become more aware of the environment and environmental issues through articles in the news, seeing reports on television, and through other media outlets, but I was never an activist. As I became more and more aware of how human interference was affecting our ecosystems through the media, discussions with friends, conferences, etc. it encouraged me to pay closer attention to my own impact on our environment. It was my children who moved me to action. My kids were exposed to environmental activism in school and youth movements, the more they learned, the more I learned.
Even when you have a clear vision, you may be required to change course, and if you surround yourself with experts who understand their field better than you, you will be able to lead each other, and you will be very successful.
The idea for TIPA® 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.’ There were so many discussions surrounding the matter of plastic packaging at the time, and 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. The resulting vision was to develop a package that acts just like organic material, like an orange peel, a package that degrades by its own natural composition.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
Coming from a software engineering background, without having experience in plastics or packaging, in the beginning, it seemed like a crazy idea to establish a company developing the next generation of sustainable packaging solutions. When TIPA® started, 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 keeps our food fresh, but pollution from litter and incineration is quickly outweighing the advantages of flexible plastic packaging.
It helped me to have a background in software engineering because it’s a very dynamic field. One of the first things I learned in business and in the early stages of building my company is that an idea is maybe 10% of a business. The other 90% is a lot of hard work, flexibility, innovation, and enthusiasm. Sometimes you have to give up a major part of your regular life to build a successful company out of that initial idea. As it grows, it’s a great responsibility. We’re all very grateful that there is much more to take care of, but there is also much more to lose. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, sometimes very high and sometimes very low. I’m always on my toes because anything can happen tomorrow, especially in a startup environment.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At TIPA, we are constantly challenging ourselves to find better solutions to fit market demand for compostable flexible packaging. On the one hand, we want the properties of flexible packaging to be the same as conventional plastic—high durability, flexible[NB1], transparent, printable, machinable, sealable, and waterproof, and on the other hand, we want the package to decompose within a short period of time, in the widest range of compostable conditions, while protecting each client’s unique product.
My vision for the future of the company is for it to continue growing as a market leader in the space of compostable solutions, remaining at the forefront of change with cutting-edge technology. TIPA’s goal is to carve the path for compostable packaging by being the most accessible solution on the market.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Everyone should see the movie Kiss the Ground by Joshua Tickell – it’s a very important film.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Firstly, it is important to believe in what you’re doing and to know that you have the power to bring change. Second, be persistent. There are so many challenges that you will encounter when trying to create something revolutionary. I always say to myself – if it was easy, someone else would have done it.
Many of the world’s greatest innovators encountered tremendous adversity in bringing about something new, so staying dedicated to your vision is very important. The third quality is to have the flexibility and humility to approach matters with an open mind. Even when you have a clear vision, you may be required to change course, and if you surround yourself with experts who understand their field better than you, you will be able to lead each other, and you will be very successful.
Where can we go to learn more?
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