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"The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work”

She loves being a researcher because it’s a liberal profession that lets her satisfy her curiosity and test out her ideas. After 30 years as a chemist, Rajni Hatti-Kaul’s curiosity still drives her research, but she has also branched out to start several businesses.

Rajni Hatti-Kaul.

Starting her first business wasn’t obvious to Rajni. She is a professor in biotechnology, who was researching ways of using bacteria, microorganisms and enzymes to convert renewable material into higher value resources – like energy, chemicals and other materials. But from the start she recognised that there could be a potential application for her research, and soon the final step to innovation didn’t seem so long.

We wanted our results to be able to make an impact on society too. Once we saw that there was a structure for us to get help and support, it became easier to dare to take the next step.

And dare she did. Many times. One of the companies she founded is called Bioextrax. Rajni and her colleague Mohammad Ibrahim set it up in 2015. It has been listed on the stock exchange since 2020, and currently has nine employees.

Time and love

So, how do you do it then – bridge that chasm between research and innovation?

“Getting help is very important,” Rajni says. “You don’t need to do everything yourself. Surround yourself with a good team and a good board. Help is available in these matters. In fact, I don’t know if I would have started a company if LU Innovation and LU Holding hadn’t supported me.”

Rajni advises that business projects need time and love to be able to grow, especially at the beginning. Showing commitment is also important: it demonstrates your faith in your idea, and is a prerequisite for encouraging others to invest their time, energy and money.

For Rajni, money is useful for developing products, but it isn’t the driving force – the goal is for their technology to get out into the world and make a difference.

“It is an incredibly fun journey,” she says. “It can still go in any direction, but regardless, it’s made me stronger and convinced me to dare to do more.”

Rajni’s three tips

1. Help is available – take it.

You need people around you who can do the things that you can’t, and who have different experiences.

2. Think of your business as a child.

A  good grounding in life requires time and love. In the beginning, your company needs extra attention.

3. Demonstrate your commitment

Show how much you believe in your idea – otherwise, no one else will dare to come with you.

A couple of Rajni's companies


Cyclicor has developed a completely non-toxic method for producing plastics like polycarbonate and polyurethane. Polymer materials are very common in different products.

Polycarbonate is used in hard and often transparent plastic articles, such as CDs, bottles and glass. Polyurethane is found, among other things, as a binder in adhesives, paints and varnishes.

Bioextrax has developed a technology that, based on bacterial processes, can cost-effectively produce environmentally friendly materials with industrial waste products as raw materials.

Right now, the company is working on three different areas; technology around the bioplastic PHA, microfibers from feathers and protein ingredients for animal feed from feathers. The company is listed on the Spotlight Stock Market.

Bioextrax website