SDEE MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
We explore solutions to our world’s most pressing problems by discovering, developing and sustainably producing new compounds from rare marine sources.
How did ArgoNox start?
I visited a lecture as an undergraduate student, where the speaker talked about her story of diving at the big blue hole in Belize to find new enzymes to be used for laundry detergent. Inspired by this lecture, I attended UCSD graduate school to study Ocean and Marine Chemistry. In 2017, I decided to leave UCSD to find my own story, which is when I founded ArgoNox.
What is your company doing today?
What we do know is different than how we started. When we began, we were diving and collecting sponges; but now we focus on the extreme ocean. ArgoNox sends robots into hydrothermal vents, deep-sea sediments, and untouched places. With roughly 80% of the ocean being unexplored, there is an abundance of compounds that we can still discover that can provide sustainable answers and solutions to issues affecting industries such as Cleantech, Energy, Agriculture, Health, and many others. While we currently focus on the extreme ocean environment, and more specifically, bacteria, to find chemical
compounds that can be used in the Clean Technology Industry, we hope to move into the Pharma Industry in the long run. What we do hasn't been done commercially in the extreme ocean environment, so usually, deep-sea exploration is only discussed in academia or the Oil and Gas Industry. We need to change the way we interact with these environments, which is why we gather information from our explorations to help protect the ocean and the life that inhabits it.
How has being an SDEE Member been important in your journey?
For the first two years after launching her company, I focused mainly on my science and discoveries. Soon, I realized that I lacked a network of individuals to share findings with, which is when I decided to join San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange. The first event I attended was SDEE's Boot Camp. SDEE created monthly educational sessions to help non-profits at early stages attain the resources, tools, and mentorship needed to achieve critical next steps for business growth. Through the Boot Camp, I met many individuals I kept in touch with, a lot of the people I know and now work with I met through San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange. After becoming a member of SDEE, I understood the importance of networking, and my membership has become a crucial part of ArgoNox's journey moving forward. High tides raise all boats, and the people in the SDEE community are so willing to help. Without it, I would not have access to all these people that I now do. San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange changed the Entrepreneurial vibe in San Diego from a hostile one to one that brings people together; it was not like that before SDEE. When you network and meet people, you make yourself a hub for everyone.
Do you have any news or updates about ArgoNox you would like to share?
We have officially begun our search for formal funding.We currently have three expeditions planned for this year to go to hydrothermal vent systems of Canada's coast. We are also working with the Georgetown Biotech Master Program and have three interns working with us.