Pond Scum to Pond Yum: Better Food Ingredients from Algae

Case Synopsis -

Spira creates functional ingredients from algae to replace petroleum and animal compounds in the food supply.

The team of students will work to understand the agricultural supply chain, construct financial models, develop organizational processes for managing the logistics of shipping from our farming network, and work to quantify and analyze data, particularly the net carbon emissions and absorption, from our farms to develop systems to continuously improve on our supply chain management. In addition, Spira aims to share the stories of our partner farms through marketing pieces to better attract new clients.

Students will start off by learning about Spira's farming partners and directly conversing with some of our partner farms via video chat. Next, the team will build out supply chain and logistics spreadsheets based on contacting logistics providers in order to build models to account for the sourcing, transport and carbon emissions of the raw spirulina prior to the processing done by Spira. Using this data, they will construct competitive analysis of shipping options to come up with the best options for the company. In addition, they will use this data to build a cost-of-goods model to input directly into financial projections and future cost projections as the supply increases and create suggestions on which regions and farms are the best to work with. Lastly, the students will work to build a marketing deck around the supply chain and conduct market analysis to determine which corporate partners would appreciate the supply chain and would be best to partner with to market Spira's spirulina ingredients both in the US and abroad.


  • Background/interest in agriculture
  • Love of food
  • Background in logistics / shipping
  • Background in scientific communication is a plus
  • Experience in creating dynamic spreadsheets, presentations

Relevant Topics


Purchasing, Logistics, Supply Chain

Learning Objectives

  • Students will know how to build a supply chain and logistics analysis
  • Students will understand international logistics transport, tariffs and shipping timing
  • Students will build cost assessment models to determine the best choice
  • Students will create marketing content around sustainable supply chains
  • Students will understand impact assessment metrics and develop tools for accounting for carbon emissions from the supply chain
  • Students will analyze the market to determine potential partners for Spira's ingredients

Company Overview

TaglineSpira creates functional ingredients using spirulina microalgae for food companies using genetic techniques and a farming network.
# Employees5-10
Hiring Potential
  • Follow-on Projects
  • Formal Internship
  • Entry Level Full-Time
Growth StageEstablished Startup
Funding StatusSeed Stage
Funding Size500,000 - 1,000,000
DescriptionWe have a food crisis. Demand for food will increase 70% by 2050. Current food production is dirty, slow and expensive. 18% of global greenhouse emissions come from farming animal ingredients and these ingredients take up 26% of the total surface of the planet. The majority of our ingredients come from animal farming which negatively impacts human health and the environment. This means that we need new plant-based ingredient sources to meet consumer demand. Spira creates food ingredients that serve as a replacement for animal and petroleum-derived compounds from spirulina microalgae. Our business model uses existing infrastructure to quickly scale to meet customer demand. We leverage existing spirulina farms in the developing world as contract manufacturers of our protein powders. They grow and process according to our specifications then ship us raw materials which we then upcycle into food ingredients that we sell to food product companies. This lowers total cost, improves speed-to-market and allows us to produce a large quantity of spirulina protein without needing to build our own infrastructure. In addition our farming network enables employment in developing countries, provides a local protein source in food deserts, and absorbs tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
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