Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Javier Larragoiti (JL:) I studied Chemical Engineering at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Years later, I did a masters degree in Biochemical Engineering in University College London.
Prior to my experience as an entrepreneur, I worked in the R&D department of companies like Unilever, BASF and institutions like Harvard University.
MB: What led you to start XiliNat?
JL: The story of XiliNat started when I received the news that my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. That’s why I committed to create an appetising and healthy sugar substitute to fight obesity and diabetes.
MB: What is the main problem you are trying to solve?
JL: The lack of healthy and great-tasting alternatives to encourage sugar disuse. Diabetes is the second highest cause of death in Mexico (as of 2019), and the problem of child obesity is also one of the worst in the world.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
JL: We created a sustainable and cheaper method to transform agricultural waste into xylitol; a natural sweetener that tastes identical to sugar and benefits human health. Today, our biggest challenge is the technological scale-up; jumping from lab to pilot plant, and then to an industrial facility, while demonstrating the economical and technological feasibility of our method.
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
JK: To replicate our technology and business in other countries, to recycle more agricultural residues, to support the economy of local farmers and help mitigate diabetes and obesity.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
JK: It’s all about your team. Always invest in human capital and always be generous with others. Be nice to your network and you’ll find the right people to help you fulfil your goals.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
JK – Always be nice to others and don’t forget to smile!
MB – Who inspires you?
JK – My Dad. Without finishing high school he created a solid food business and made his three children finish postgraduate studies.
MB – How do you define success?
JK – Having a positive impact on other people’s lives
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
JK – Finance.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
JK – “A Little History of the World” by E.H. Gombrich
MB – What do you do to relax?
JK – Listen to music while walking to some place.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.