Health Care

Nanollose (ASX:NC6) – Raffaele (Alfie) Germano



The CEO Mindset - Raffaele (Alfie) Germano is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nanollose (ASX:NC6)

Raffaele (Alfie) Germano is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nanollose (ASX:NC6), an Australian based company that has developed technology which can take various liquid waste streams and create a scalable PLANT-FREE raw material called microbial cellulose. This microbial cellulose that can be transformed into fibres for textiles and other industrial applications.

What’s your journey in becoming a CEO?
Working from the ground up. I have been blessed to have commenced life inside a manufacturing family. This provided me with a lot of early skills that steered me well through college. As the sunset on Australian manufacturing in the early ’90s, the sun rose in Asia. I spent 25 years in Hong Kong and other countries working inside some of the largest Textile and Apparel companies on the planet where I zig-zagged up the corporate ladder. I think what prepared me for this role is saying yes to every challenge along with varied tasks and the accountability that came with it. I think a CEO must have a Swiss Army Knife skill set.

Tell us a bit about your business and how you are commercializing?
Nanollose is an Australian based “Future-Tech Bio-Materials” company that is developing a Clean-Tech process and supply chain ecosystem that will utilize organic liquid waste from the food and beverage sectors to extract a natural raw material called microbial cellulose that is then applied to multiple industrial applications. Our initial commercial focus is textiles. In short, we take liquid waste and make clothes.

Over the past 18-24 months, we have been developing and paving our commercial path in all the 3 traditional industrial sectors.

In the Primary Sector: We have signed supply agreements with 2 food processing companies in Indonesia and China that allow us access to early bulk amounts of raw material for trails and initial commercialization. Also, in this space, we have been developing tech and IP around alternative waste streams, accelerated fermentation methods along with industrializing the actual raw material processing towards large tonnage scale. This sector is an import space of us to develop as it ultimately the fulcrum to which all our tech is based on. We had many interactions with stream provides that are keen to develop an alternative to just wastewater treatment.

In the Secondary Sector: Nanollose has signed a collaboration agreement with Aditya Birla-Grasim this past January. We are not only happy but enthused to have an industrial partner and a platform to commercially develop within that ultimately results in producing nullarbor fibre (Tree-Free). We are in the process of mapping out schedules around trials and form their commercialization steps. At this point, all our focus is on optimization.

In the Tertiary Sector:  We don’t just see ourselves as only a technology developer and fibre provider, but also as a brand. Our names and trademarks have been a powerful tool in communicating our vision and branding. We want to be the Bluetooth in our space.

Given our scale, exclusive amounts, and initial higher costs we have targeted apparel sectors that have larger margin elasticity opportunities. This is within the Designer/High fashion apparel sectors. Here is where we have had significant interest and engagement.

How are you managing with the current COVID-19 pandemic on both business and personal front?
Alfie: The current COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge with the greatest headwind for us being how to navigate around the slower logistical speeds that include the ability to travel.

Much of our work now is around delivering raw material, making fibre and activating product with brand partners. Thought this would seem slower it does present us with other opportunities around bolstering our tech and development.

On a personal level, I am a natural optimist. I often reflect on quotes in times of need, for example. ‘Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path” I view what is happening as a moment and an inflection point in time. Complaining about it will not a winning strategy, be grateful that you are safe and remember “When life gives you lemons make lemonade, and if you are Italian make Limoncello”.

What’s the most exciting thing about running your business?
The excitement doesn’t come from one thing it comes from a cluster of things.

  • Pioneering in our space.
  • Developing a technology that can plug in and play into already existing infrastructure seamlessly.
  • Building an ecosystem that will be able to provide sustainable alternatives to an industry I cherish.
  • Being able to positively contribute to the environment and future generations by stop cutting down so many trees to make clothes.
  • Watching the industry shift and change. Brands, retailers and manufacturers are vocal and urgently seek sustainable alternatives that is all driven by customer demand.
  • Getting closer to making it real both physically and fiscally.

How do you measure success?
In this case measuring success as an end to end scorecard.

  1. Establishing a scaled raw material supply chain that delivers volume, quality, and cost
  2. Optimised tech that converts and scales our raw material into nullarbor fibre
  3. Having 2-4 key up takers brand partners that share and support the same ethos
  4. Building a healthy balance sheet from all of the above.

What do you think is the most important quality of being a CEO of a listed company?
To avoid a complex answer, and subject to the business maturity of a listed company, I think one of the most important qualities of a CEO is a vision. Vision is key to what to you want to be, how to set out to do it with resources and how to get it done against market dynamics.

C =Create
E =Execute
O =Operate

We live in a world that is enamoured with acronyms.

What is your favourite book?
Non Fiction: The world is flat.
Biography: To Kill a Mockingbird and Life and Death in Shanghai.

What message do you want to send to our readership in Asia?
I have always admired the industrious DNA of Asian people. So much can be achieved with creativity and hard work. Entire industries were built from nothing and most certainly from the ground up.  I would imagine that much your readership has come from histories like this and still bestows these qualities.

In Asia, much of the world’s textiles are either procured, manufactured, assembled, and now even retailed. Being ahead of the curve in the space would come with a high disruptive edge. My message is that we all needed support along the way, Nanollose is not a pipe dream but a strong value partner contender that has the same DNA.

How can people connect with you?


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