MAD LAB is an innovative and circular Belgian organic biscuit factory. Learn how the project was born and what the future looks like for MAD LAB in this interview with co-founder Cyril Beneche.
What is your background as an entrepreneur?
Cyril: After a short career as a mining geologist, I turned to patisserie with the aim of opening my own establishment. To make my dream come true, I went back to school at the Paris baking and pastry school and took training in different establishments such as: Éclairs et Gourmandises, Colorova Paris...
I was very lucky! My recipes for sweet biscuits quickly became very successful. But cooking in my shared flat was becoming too complicated... So, in 2017 I set up my first rolling mill and my bags of flour at Co-oking, a shared kitchen.
A year later, I moved my equipment to the Petit Namurois atelier in Namur, to have more working space. It was there that I developed one of MAD LAB's flagship recipes: salted crackers with beer draff.
Then I met David, my business partner. We got along very quickly and now form a good team. We complement each other: he with his sales and marketing skills and I with my knowledge about production techniques.
When we moved to Be-here in Brussels, we created Heisenberg Corporation together in 2019. It is in this place that we grow every day. We have grown from 200 to 400m2 and work with 4 full time production workers.
What led you to initiate this project? Where did the idea come from?
I wanted to develop very personal products inspired by my taste and vision. I wanted to make sweet treats more adultlike, without the childish connotation we all have when we think about cookies.
Working with organic agriculture was an obvious environmental choice for us and we chose local production, reduction of waste and circularity.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We still have a long way to go, but in 5 years I think we will be able to offer a much wider range of tasty products. That's why we are raising funds with LITA investors. We want to grow and develop our atelier only with the support of local producers who share our vision on sustainable food.
What event or moment will you never forget?
It’s not very original, but the global pandemic (COVID-19) that affected us all, scared us! We thought that all the work we had done over the last few years, would come crashing down. Fortunately, this helpless feeling didn’t last. We were able to resume our activity, and even grow during this hard period.
We are happy with our result, but we feel for all the companies that were not so lucky.
Why raise funds via LITA.co?
We want to surround ourselves with committed investors who share our vision on sustainable food entrepreneurship. Investing through the LITA platform corresponds to our company MAD LAB, but also to the human and local values that we, as entrepreneurs, defend.
What book/publication would you recommend to entrepreneurs?
It’s impossible to choose just one work. However, to be honest, if I had been reading books on the subtle art of entrepreneurship, I probably would have lost my motivation.
But I particularly appreciate books by writers who have lived, and speak from experience: St Exupéry's "Terre des hommes" or "Vol de nuit", Theodore Monod's "Méharée", Romain Gary, and lately Goliarda Sapienza.