“That first day was very scary because it was an empty lab and we had to buy all the equipment and put all the safety measures in place. But when I look at all the labs we have now, we can see how far we’ve come,” he says.
That moment had been the fulfilment of a commercial journey that had taken shape very quickly after the Spaniard started as a Postdoctorate Research Associate in the Knowles Laboratory in 2016.
“Professor Knowles had already founded two other spinout companies from the university at the time,” continues Marc. “I could clearly see that his research group was beyond doing fundamental research. He was actually applying the learnings from his academic research to solving real world problems.”
It felt like an instant gear change from Marc’s previous studies in Barcelona and Glasgow. Communication with Cambridge Enterprise followed, leading to participation in the 2018 Chris Abell Post Doc Business Plan Competition where he was a finalist. Later, he completed the impulse programme at the Maxwell Centre, involving lectures and workshops on key steps such as cost, IP patents, product development and pitching to investors.
Crucially, as a result of this input, Marc was able to validate the commercial potential of his research to deliver natural and biodegradable materials to replace the most polluting forms of plastic.
It allowed us to pitch our idea to a series of investors just to get some initial feedback
“There’s a community in Cambridge where people are supporting each other all the time. I’ve been able to learn a lot from people that are not just extremely brilliant with the right expertise, but also people who are extremely generous, willing to share their experience,” adds Marc.
Four years into its ground-breaking work Marc’s company Xampla continues to prosper, with his team taking on nine new members in the last year alone. The founder is consistently grateful to the city environment which inspired its creation.
“That’s the real value about being so close to the university. There’s never enough progress to be made. There’s always new things to discover and learn.”
Support programmes covered: