It’s day two of the SciTech Startup Week feature and we’re shinning the spotlight on the Minneapolis-based NetZro, LLC.
NetZro LLC is a woman-owned startup that designs food waste processing technology. According to its website, approximately 90 million tons of food is wasted every year. Sue Marshal, the CEO and Founder of NetZro, wants to reduce that by recovering food waste at the retailer level and reharvesting it as a functional, nutritional and valuable product.
Presently, one of NetZro’s primary processes centers around eggshell separation for calcium and collagen extraction. By recovering the valuable nutrients in discarded eggshells, Marshall and her team can create food waste solutions. Partnering with companies like Cargill and Land-O-Lakes, the startup aims to position the nutrients from its processing into new markets, branching into everything from fertilizer, to products for animal and human consumption.
In a recent interview with the tech and startup organization, Engine, Marshal shared her five year goal of seeing NetZro’s technology grow to “recover food waste from all food processing plants so that zero food waste goes into landfills.”
To kick off this ambitious endeavor, NetZro is working to scale up its operation, aiming to process 50 tons of egg membranes a day. As a startup with only a handful of people on staff, NetZro needed some outside assistance in order to achieve its goal.
Specifically, Marshall said, “we needed science interns.”
Enter the SciTech Internship Program
Funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and housed at the Minnesota High Tech association, SciTech exists to not only provide startups and small businesses with exclusive access to the top STEM talent they need, but it shoulders the weight of providing competitive wages by reimbursing the company for half of each intern’s gross wages (up to $2,500).
“For my company,” Marshal said, “programs through DEED and the University of Minnesota have been instrumental for accessing funds and resources.”
Through SciTech, NetZro found bioproducts and biosystems engineering intern Felipe Reyes Gaibor, who helped develop the infrared technology used to separate the desired material from the gathered food waste.
“We had a problem that needed addressing,” Marshal said, “Felipe was filling that need. When you can hook onto resources at the university and find curious, passionate young people in the science field, there are so many benefits,” for both the startups and the interns they hire.