Name: Tamara Vučetić
Company name: Biotech Materials
Colour of your eyes: Green on a good day, red when I’m working late.
How many people are in the team: Four so far! Many more to come.
What is the difference between you and Steve Jobs: At least 10 turtlenecks.
Discussion on the product/service
Can you describe your product/service to us?
We invent and distribute plant-based leather made from grain leftovers of alcohol brewing and distilling. We’re currently working on Beer Leather, Gin Leather, Whiskey Leather and Vodka Leather.
How did you get to an idea to start with this
I founded a brand which was based on using innovative plant-based materials and I saw a gap in this emerging market. The demand was much higher than supply so I abandoned my brand and started working on inventing my own plant-based leather.
What are your plans for the future?
Conquering the European and American leather market, expanding our patents worldwide and launching a brand new, never before seen material that we cannot tell you about yet!
Rather Ginto or Whiskey?
Gin on the rocks during the summer, Whiskey in the winter time.
What is it like to run a business and what do you like the most?
What I love most is how dynamic and unpredictable my days are. I can start the day with whiskey tasting to choose the one for our new collection, then physically delivering barley malt to a processing facility, then meeting my team for a quarterly review and pitching to investors in the evening. There’s never a dull moment at Biotech HQ.
What are your biggest obstacles?
Patenting a product worldwide can be challenging because patenting laws differ per country and there is no room for mistakes.
Are you more Goulash or Odojak? Caviar or Foie gras?
I might be deported from balkan for saying this, but plant-based cuisine any day.
What advice would you give to other people that are interested in starting something new?
The excitement of new beginnings always trumps the stability of routine.
What would you advise a founder to do?
Get a good team and prioritise time over money.
What would you advise a founder not to do?
Exhaust yourself mentally and physically to the point of a burnout. Taking a break to recharge makes you a better leader and helps you make better decisions. Having said that, I’m writing this at 10 PM on a Friday so I should probably take my own advice.
What is a key factor to success?
Having multiple backup plans because things tend to fail more often than you expect.
How to teach a frog to smile?
Invest in its new app start-up idea.
Can you tell us something about your experience in the FRC accelerator program?
The casual approach leaves you enough time to focus on getting your business on its feet, while the variety of backgrounds and expertise of mentors and principals ensures you always have advice and network you need.
What is your favorite spot on the planet?
My grandfather’s vineyard in the middle of nowhere where I go with my dog to get away.
What was the most important takeaway from the program?
The importance of getting out of your comfort zone, even despite your paralysing fear of public speaking.
Would you suggest other founders apply?
Yes, even if you think you might know the theoretical part, networking is crucial at any stage of your business.
Who was your favorite FRC team member? Why?
My mentor Mili is always there for tailored experience-based advice and a grounding voice of reason in hectic times.