Capstone – Project

Pond Scum to Pond Yum: Better Food Ingredients from Algae

A Collaboration Between

Engagement Synopsis

Spira creates functional ingredients from algae to replace petroleum and animal compounds in the food supply. The team of students will work to understand the agricultural supply chain, construct financial models, develop organizational processes for managing the logistics of shipping from our farming network, and work to quantify and analyze data, particularly the net carbon emissions and absorption, from our farms to develop systems to continuously improve on our supply chain management. In addition, Spira aims to share the stories of our partner farms through marketing pieces to better attract new clients. Students will start off by learning about Spira’s farming partners and directly conversing with some of our partner farms via video chat. Next, the team will build out supply chain and logistics spreadsheets based on contacting logistics providers in order to build models to account for the sourcing, transport and carbon emissions of the raw spirulina prior to the processing done by Spira. Using this data, they will construct competitive analysis of shipping options to come up with the best options for the company. In addition, they will use this data to build a cost-of-goods model to input directly into financial projections and future cost projections as the supply increases and create suggestions on which regions and farms are the best to work with. Lastly, the students will work to build a marketing deck around the supply chain and conduct market analysis to determine which corporate partners would appreciate the supply chain and would be best to partner with to market Spira’s spirulina ingredients both in the US and abroad.

Company Information

StageEstablished Startup
Hiring PotentialFollow-on Projects, Formal Internship, Entry Level Full-Time

Company Overview


Industry Mentors

Company Admin


[email protected]

Course Info & Engagement Details

SchoolMasters in Business Administration (MBA)
Engagement Format -
CourseMBA APPLY Interterm (FALL 2019)
Students Enrolled120 Enrolled, 4-5 per group per project
Meeting Day & Time10/14 - 10/17/2019 on-site at host company
Student Time Commitment1-3 Hours Per Week
Company Time Commitment3-5 Hours
Duration0.43 Weeks

Project Topics

Corporate Social Responsibility

Growth Strategy

Product Design & Development

Academic Mentors

There are currently no supervisors assigned.

Assigned Students

There are currently no students assigned.

Program Timeline

Touchpoints & Assignments Due Date Submission

Key Milestones & Project Process

  • October 14, 2019 - Analysis of Spira's Business Model + Logistics

    1. What does Spira sell and why?
    2. Who are the current Spira customers?
    3. Who are Spira’s current farming partners/suppliers?
    4. How does spirulina get from the farm to Spira?
    5. How does Spira process the spirulina?
    6. How does Spira ship out ingredients to customers?
    7. What are the fixed and variable costs of this business model?
    8. Create a process diagram.
    9. Brainstorm potential supply chain issues and additional nodes in the process diagram.
    10. Deep dive into specific supply chain use-case.

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Create a process diagram to demonstrate an understanding of the supply chain.  Write an FAQ to share with company personnel to ask about any potential problems regarding the supply chain.

  • October 15, 2019 - Supply Chain Interviews + Deep Dive on Assumptions

    1. Students will learn how to conduct customer interviews
    2. Farming supplier interviews
    3. Logistics provider interviews
    4. Import authority interviews
    5. Students will distill the information from the interviews into a list of variables + assumptions

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Notes from interview questions and answers from primary interviews distilled into a list of variables + assumptions.

  • October 16, 2019 - Cost + Carbon Supply Chain Model

    1. Conduct any additional interviews throughout the day
    2. How do you best quantify carbon emissions?
    3. How do you estimate carbon capture?
    4. What are the variables and assumptions in carbon emissions?
    5. Students will develop a preliminary spreadsheet of expected unit economic costs
    6. Students will develop a preliminary spreadsheet of expected carbon emissions

    Suggested Deliverable:

    A preliminary supply chain model based on cost estimates and carbon estimates.

  • October 17, 2019 - Marketing a Sustainable Supply Chain

    1. What stories does Spira want to tell about their supply chain?
    2. What are the most important risk factors in the Spira supply chain?
    3. How might we improve on the supply chain over time?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    A deck detailing the supply chain, marketing stories, risk factors, and steps to take moving forward. Note: *slides from this deck may be used in investor, customer, and partner presentations*

Project Resources

There are no resources currently available