Bio-Life: growing fast, but always working
from a sustainable perspective!
Korys serves as a springboard for our growth
Bio-Life is a family business, founded by husband and wife Bruno Thysebaert and Sandra Lennertz in 1991. Both independent in the ‘80s, they trained in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy and were pioneers in the organic and ecological sectors. In 2010, their son Damien joined the ranks. The company has grown substantially since then, and today, finds itself at a turning point in its history. To sketch out their strategic guidelines for the future, the entrepreneurs set out to find a Belgian, family-oriented and sustainable investment partner. Sounds like Korys …To understand the reasons for this choice, we spoke to the managers, Sandra and Bruno.
Why was Bio-Life open to an external investment partner?
Sandra Lennertz: “Bruno and I set up the Bio-Life Laboratory almost thirty years ago. We are creators and manufacturers of high-quality nutritional therapy and advanced phytotherapy products. We started our laboratory alone and in a modest way in Flemish Brabant. Currently located in the Créalys Science Park, the company has around thirty employees and markets its products in several countries.”
Bruno Thysebaert: “Given the development of Bio-Life, we were open to a trustworthy investor in line with our values to initiate new growth. This investor corresponding to our criteria – we were receptive to a Belgian family-oriented partner, with a sustainable vision –, we found it in Korys”
How did Korys come onto your radar?
Bruno Thysebaert: “We first heard the name ‘Korys’ during a visit to Newpharma (one of the largest online pharmacies in Belgium – Ed.), which had been a customer of ours for years.
Sandra Lennertz: “We did not want an investment company pursuing exclusively lucrative ends (with the aim of a resale) and which does not care about the sustainability of the company and about employment. We were looking for a long-term partner who shared our values.”
We were looking for a long-term partner who shares our values
What were your impressions when you first met Korys?
Bruno Thysebaert: “We clicked with Korys’ people right away. We discovered they are committed, honest and have great consideration for human relations, values and corporate strategy. We could sense that in every conversation we had. On top of that, Korys understands the way of thinking and the working methods of entrepreneurs like us, who continuously innovate and invest heavily in research and development as well as in fields related to the environment and ecology. And last but not least, Korys is a Belgian, family-oriented investment company, which immediately creates a bond.”
Sandra Lennertz: “Our expectations are consistent on the general development of the company but also on the values. Like Korys, we want to do business sustainably.
What does "sustainable enterprise" mean to you in concrete terms?
Sandra Lennertz: “To us that means doing everything possible to work with the deepest respect for man and the planet. We believe in and work every day to the effective improvement of well-being using biological elements present in nature or in the human body. Our approach is holistic, it considers the whole individual (both body and mind).”
“Our ecological and ethical commitment is at each stage of the creation and manufacturing process. This involves the traceability of raw materials, mainly of natural or organic origin, but also the establishment of a “supplier charter” setting out our quality commitments with a view to a sustainable and ethical partnership. Our highly concentrated plant extracts are free of chemical solvents and all our products are guaranteed to be GMO- and nanoparticles free. As for our containers, they are biodegradable. We are currently developing a brand-new bio compostable package to take it one step further to preserve the land and the ocean. Finally, the entire management of our company is viewed from a sustainable perspective.”
Bio-Life’s activities seem to align perfectly with societal trends: sustainability and health.
Bruno Thysebaert: “That’s right, but that doesn’t necessarily mean growth is a given. Quite the opposite, in fact: more and more businesses are surfing these trends, so Bio-Life has to remain on the front foot by constantly innovating and creating new products that meet our strict quality requirements.”
Sandra Lennertz: “On the other hand, we intend to professionalise our management structure. Corporate governance is one of the main things Korys stands for. Our executive committee currently consists of the three members of our family. By expanding it with the addition of external directors, we will broaden our horizons and benefit from expertise to let Bio-Life’s HR vision and financial policy evolve. This is important to continue our evolution, attract specialized personnel and deploy our new infrastructure”.
The entire management of our company is viewed from a sustainable perspective
Investment Director Thomas De Kempeneer represented Korys during its talks with Bio-Life. He was obviously charmed by this brand-new Korys portfolio company: “One of our three ecosystems is called ‘conscious consumer’. Within this ecosystem, we’re focusing on the latest consumer trends. We’re convinced that Bio-Life’s natural products appeal to the responsible consumer.”
As a recent Director, Thomas has an unshakeable belief in the future: “Korys invests in businesses with a proven track record and potential for growth. Bio-Life offers an extensive and high-quality assortment (more than 130 products, editor’s note), appealing to consumers on an international scale. The first step on the path to growth is to establish a board of directors. Even if we are an investor, we refuse to force any decisions. We help entrepreneurs to develop in a dialogue focused on business objectives.”