What’s in your mug?

PPB Technology has been the Canberra Innovation Network’s taste tester of choice for years now, and it’s about time we shared the secrets behind our rarefied sense. Please meet the geniuses behind PPB Technology and their CYBERTONGUE®.

Here’s how founder Stephen Trowell describes PPB Technology’s work:

“We’ve developed the first practical solution to detect problems associated with proteases. We can now measure problem levels of protease in raw milk supply as an external testing service. (Our) Cybertongue (technology) sources ultrasensitive and specific biosensors from nature and combines them with cutting edge microfluidic and photonic technologies, delivering laboratory quality results in minutes.”

In layman’s terms? Trowell’s tech can taste the most important parts of a product, beyond what can be shared via a label.

We asked him a few questions about growing a company that has applications in the kitchen and lab, especially during the upset years of COVID-19, and how he’s worked with the Canberra Innovation Network.

CBRIN: Tell us about your achievements in the last year.

PPBTech: Well, we survived the pandemic! We also had our first paid customer samples, got into the GRIFFIN Accelerator, found a cofounder, and we’re approaching a close on the pre-seed investment round. So it’s been a pretty great, and busy, year!

CBRIN: How does it feel to see a business idea you’ve fostered from the start grow and change?

PPBTech: You need to work with what you’ve got. Our progress has been fostered by our relationships. One of the things customers taught us is that some of the things we offer are unique. We started running an offsite testing service – not, primarily, as a revenue source, but as a way to learn.

CBRIN: What is the greatest barrier between IDEA and ACTION?

PPBTech: Everything! Idea and action, particularly in the case, because hardaware is hard – its about cobbling together the financial and the physical resources – neither of which our company had, and then findng the people to do it. Finding the people – I talked to a lot of people, explicitly investigated potential hires, but I’d say a first employee needs to have a shared, deep, broad understanding of your business.

CBRIN: What advice do you have to share with entrepreneurs just starting out in this market?

PPBTech: The only reason I’m here now, and able to do this, is because of CBRIN – we got an Innovation Connect Grant and went into the GRIFFIN Accelerator. That support is very specific, and what I’ve finally found, apart from money, which is critical, is the connection to people who know what the blind spots are and what to do going forward.

Learn more about PPB Technology and CBRIN’s offerings to entrepreneurs.