New York Times: Cut the Ribbon, Pop the Bubbly!

Starting a business is difficult even in the best of times, and numerous companies, regrettably, had to shut their doors this year. Some founders managed to launch new ventures, however, even when faced with daunting challenges. Many of them learned early on how to use collaboration tools to their advantage. “For new businesses to be successful today, teams need to be able to work together seamlessly and make it as easy as possible for people to do business with them,” says Olivia Nottebohm, the chief operating officer of Dropbox. ‍ Here’s how three bold new businesses, ootBox, Muggin and BIOMILQ, figured out how to collaborate effortlessly and launch in 2020 — despite everything.

“Regardless of what’s going on in the world, the nutritional needs of a child don’t change,” says Michelle Egger, a food scientist in Durham, N.C. Last year she teamed up with Leila Strickland, a cell biologist who shared Egger’s desire to solve the challenges surrounding infant nutrition. Together they unlocked a next-level solution called BIOMILQ: cultured breast milk grown from human cells. ‍ Using the same lab-based methods used to make insulin, Egger and Strickland aim to produce safe, eco-friendly, human milk for parents who have difficulty breast-feeding. They established BIOMILQ in early 2020, but pandemic-related shutdowns hit them right in the middle of fund-raising. “We had to get creative in how we got to know people quickly,” Egger says.

As the partners transitioned to remote work, they found ways to collaborate virtually with investors, labs and potential new hires. The women hosted videoconferences and spent many long nights collaborating in shared documents, their colorful edits cascading down the page. ‍ With all the events of 2020, Egger and Strickland are more determined than ever to get BIOMILQ going strong. “When you’re an advocate for families who don’t have the options they need,” Egger says, “instead of thinking how hard it is to do business today, you focus on the fact that you’re doing business for tomorrow.”

Find the article here and the in-print edition Oct 11th in the Sunday Edition!

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