Innovation That Matters

Wise Words with Gadi Har-shai

Wise Words

We caught up with the founder and CEO of eco aerosol startup GreenSpense, to discover how he manages to cope with the pressure of starting an experimental new business.

While ozone-harming CFCs have for the most part been banished from the production of aerosols, today’s spray cans are still not exactly eco-friendly, relying on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as a propellant. Enter Israel’s GreenSpense, a startup which has discovered a way to bypass the need for pressurised gas, using nanotechnology to squeeze the contents out of the canister. As well as creating a green alternative for the aerosol industry, marketers can also experiment with new forms of packaging, thanks to the innovation.

We caught up with Gadi Har-shai, founder and CEO of the company, to discover how he manages to cope with the pressure of starting an experimental new business.

1. Where did the idea for GreenSpense come from?

The idea did not come at once — rather it was an evolution of many experiments that began with the simple question: can an Aerosol work without gas?

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

I start the day very early in order to answer and send emails, then I drive to the GreenSpense lab, see sub-contractors and attend many other meetings, getting back home late in the evening.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on GreenSpense?

This does not happen very often but… listening to Jazz, playing drums and being with my family.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

I think it begins with having a clear idea about what is it that you want to bring to the customer, recognising in detail how very favourably it will impact on their daily life, and benefit society at large. Then you really must to be passionate about the idea, focused and persistent sharing it with those working with you and others you meet, consulting with them and letting your enthusiasm and excitement become theirs.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

I try to stay calm and focused in order to save my energy.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

The excitement I get from the idea I have been working on for years becoming real, inspiring those working on the product and those who will use it in the future, and being at the forefront of a number of technology disciplines. All round, this is a highly motivating and stimulating experience.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Not much; I have had a lot of luck working, all along the way, with highly professional and motivated people.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

I see GreenSpense supplying Eco-sleeves and machines to customers and packaging professionals around the world. GreenSpense will enable change in many dimensions, such as convenience of use, new packaging materials and shapes, decrease usage of preservatives and emissions, longer product shelf-life and more. In five years, I’m sure we will be taking all this to the next level of creativity, which we’ve already begun working on.

9. If you weren’t working on GreenSpense right now, what would you be doing?

Developing one of the other ideas I have in the drawer…

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

GreenSpense won 4 international CleanTech prizes in 2013. I am very proud of this accomplishment.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Make an effort not to count the obstacles in your way but to find ways to overcome them and then prepare for the next lot. As Thomas Edison said: “Invention is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration”