Alban Maitrot is Kroptek’s General Director of our operations in France. A sales management veteran, after joining the Kroptek team in June 2021 Alban has been the driving force behind our rapid expansion into France and the success of La Boite a Champignons (LBC).
Since taking charge of La Boite a Champignons in June 2021 a plan was adopted to build on the existing operation and turn it into a scalable commercial operation that would be replicable internationally. The team collects discarded ground coffee from partners and clients in Paris and then transforms the grounds into a substrate used to grow mushrooms without any chemicals. After 6 years of R&D to develop a proprietary recipe allowing for a more intense flavour and superior texture. LBC evolved from offering grow-at-home mushroom kits to selling to high-profile clients. From supermarkets such as Carrefour to Michelin Star restaurants such as the George V. You can find out more details about the farm here…
To mark his first anniversary working with Kroptek, we caught up with Alban to speak about what his move into the horticultural industry was like, what it’s like working for an Agtech start-up, and the future of LBC and Kroptek in France.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background before you got into the horticultural industry?
Before joining Kroptek, I worked for 15 years in brand building and managing sales in the cosmetics industry. After that, I spent 10 years transforming sales organisations in the pharmaceutical industry. The horticultural sector was completely new to me. I was looking for a new challenge and Kroptek offered that in a dynamic and growing industry where I also had the opportunity for a larger spectrum of my responsibilities.
Coming from a very different industry, what was the transition into Kroptek like?
For me, the opportunity to work in a small to medium-sized company was very exciting. From working for larger companies, the chance to work in an environment where each individual can make a difference is very satisfying. It is also great to see how individuals achieving results. Whether they are good or bad being able to witness them quickly, that’s rewarding!
From your point of view, how do you think Kroptek is making a difference in the future?
La Boite a Champignons not only provides high-end mushrooms grown on coffee waste but is also a 360° multi-benefits action. We avoid coffee waste being burnt or thrown into landfills and use it to grow our gourmet oyster mushrooms. Plus, after our growing process, the coffee waste goes back to the ground as a fertilizer for local vegetable growers. With the opportunity to acquire new targets for our coffee waste collection the future of our farm is bright. We will be able to extend our range of products, such as other mushrooms. We will also promote a circular economy and sustainable farming methods.
What does your involvement look like and what has been your fondest memory at Kroptek?
I enjoy chasing new customers and additional opportunities, generating team spirit, showing positive energy, rewarding efforts, and helping others grow. My fondest memory so far has been how we went from a simple Facebook post to being listed on the regional warehouse delivering to 30 stores in the area.
If you’d like to get in touch with Alban about how La Boite a Champignons is revolutionising local mushroom farming in Paris you can get in touch with us here…