Daphna Nissenbaum: A Disruptive Leader for a Good Cause

In an interview with Insights Success, Daphna NissenbaumCEO and Co-Founder of TIPA®, elaborates on her impeccable approach on giving back to society through innovative technology. Today, the world is in need of avid leaders who take initiative in offering services to create a better society to live in, and Daphna is a perfect example.
Insights Success understands the potential of such leaders and is honored to feature her in its special issue “30 Most Influential Business Leaders in Tech, 2019”.
Below are the highlights of the conducted interview:
Kindly elaborate on your journey in becoming a business leader 
During my career, I developed a passion to start a project of my own, something that would really influence the world. The idea sparked from an argument I had with one of my kids about the plastic bottles he would take to school – some days he would return them to be reused, while other days he wouldn’t. I said to him ‘we have to think about what we do with our packages.’
There are so many discussions surrounding the matter of plastic packaging. I thought to myself, ‘the world will need a package that is not based on plastic, one that will break down by itself post-consumption.’ I went out jogging and challenged myself to work out a solution, thinking the idea is somewhere right in front of me. The right things usually happen to be intuitive and natural. The resulting vision was to develop a package that acts just like organic material, like an orange peel, a package that disappears by its own natural composition.
During this nascent stage of the company, I understood two things immediately. First, that flexible packaging is the primary pollution culprit today and therefore our energy should be directed towards this market. Second, that pursuing such an endeavor will not be easy; it will take time, effort and money to develop a solution.
Our goal at TIPA® has always been to develop fully compostable packaging. Along the way, there were people trying to persuade us to compromise and to make partially compostable, or recyclable products. But even though there was a risk of losing the company, we stuck to our core idea and weren’t swayed by where the industry was trying to push us.
Apart from developing a new technology, the building of a company is a major task. A key success factor in building a company is to hire the right people. Having an idea is a small step, working on it and sticking to it is important too, but hiring the right people is essential to growth. It is important to understand that you cannot do it alone, and to find the right people to partner with.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? 
From day one, the basis for the technology, as well as the business, operational and sales models were to change the market. It would have been much easier to develop specific applications and to focus on selling them to target audiences, but our goal was not to target specific areas but rather to create a technology that could be utilized by everyone for every application, and in this way, to become a market leader and to change the market paradigm around our solution. Our films and laminates serve as building blocks for a solution, meeting every area in the market.
The goal is to be as transparent as can be to the existing industry and to provide a solution that is intuitive and seamless to adopt. We designed our products to emulate conventional plastic with formulas that mimic polyethylene and polypropylene, the two most used materials in flexible packaging. Thus, we can easily replace what exists in the market, and offer a clean alternative. TIPA® solutions are built to fit conventional plastic machinery and existing supply chains, making the switch to compostable flexible packaging easier than ever. A key concept in TIPA® is to manufacture globally by partnering with plants that exist all over the world, thereby reducing carbon footprint as well as unifying what may be referred to as a fragmented community of manufacturers. By understanding the concerns of the stakeholders in the market, we help to galvanize the market by focusing on areas that require solutions.
What attributes are required to sustain in the cutting-edge competition? 
Key success factors are to stick to your mission even if it’s not easy, and at the same time to be ready to change course if you see that something is not working. As a small company, we act as a speed boat, going steadily in one direction but we must be ready to change course without hesitation if necessary, all the while sticking to our core truth. Another key attribute to succeed in business is to understand that everything is about teamwork and to put energy into building a strong and cooperative team. I make sure that the people I work tightly with are experts who understand their field much better than I do, and I give them the freedom to operate. The people who work with me are my partners. Listening and being open to their criticism and suggestions at any given moment is critical. Once you create an environment where people are free to express what they think, even though at times there will be disagreements, you have built an engine for growth.
What will be your future endeavors and where do you see yourself in the near future? 
The company will continue growing as a market leader in the space of compostable solutions, remaining at the forefront of change with cutting-edge technology. TIPA® will continue to penetrate the market, collaborating with companies from all over the world using our products and applications, changing the future of flexible plastic packaging by replacing it with fully compostable solutions. I will continue leading this company, helping it reach new heights and driving an impactful change in the market.