GALY is a childhood’s dream come true.
When we were kids the world seemed like an adventure. We spent hours in our yards, collecting plants and insects, playing in nature and thinking... wondering (that’s better!) if we could change the destiny of the planet. We were not some geniuses or anything like that. But people tend to forget how kids can capture what is really going on around them. And we were, in our innocent train of thought, always coming up with ideas to build an improved world. Well… here we are. The same kids, with the same dreams. But now we know how to make all that actually happen.
When you think of a savannah landscape in Africa, what are the first living beings that come to your mind? Most people would mention proud lions, elegant giraffes and giant elephants. Very few would start off describing the flora, naming the brownish-green grass carpet or the beautiful trees with trunks that flow like rivers from the ground to their flat canopies. Paula Elbl, a botanist, is part of the second, much smaller group.
She has been a scientist long before she got her doctorate degree in molecular plant biology. When Paula was eleven, she lived in Acre, a northern Brazilian state 2,000 miles away from São Paulo, surrounded by the Amazon rainforest. Growing up close to animals and plants, she started to dream of becoming a biologist.
Unlike most people who renounce their childhood dreams by the time they reach a certain age, she pursued an academic career in the field she chose as a kid. Her work with passion fruit producers and beekeepers from Paraná’s countryside led her to the University of São Paulo (USP), the most prominent educational institution in Latin America.
Something happens when you look at a plant on a microscope. You see shapes and forms that the eye alone is not able to grasp. Looking very closely at the plant cells through the magnifying lens, Paula found one of her purposes: the conservation and propagation of native species through the use of biotechnological and molecular biology tools.
Another branch of Paula’s path bloomed when she met Luciano Bueno back in 2017, during her time as a postdoctoral researcher. Her scientific method and technical accuracy was a match to his entrepreneur vision, and the result is, of course, the birth of GALY (us!). After six months developing the idea with the help of USP’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology, the duo went to the US to start a lab in Boston.
When Paula thinks of a savannah landscape, she doesn’t see the trees first only because she is an expert in plants. She sees them because she is captivated by things that go beyond the surface, she dares to ask questions with no obvious answers and she is able to see potential in things other people disregard as only plain scenery.
“The group work, the curiosity, the power to transform things”. This is Paula’s answer when she’s asked about what moves her. At GALY, she is able to transform all theoretical knowledge acquired over two decades of studies into a sustainable, useful practice. And by seeking inspiration in nature to make cotton from cells — and transform the industry in the process — she can make the dreams of a seamstress and a field geographer’s daughter come true.
Follow your dreams. Who hasn’t gotten this advice? The truth is that few have the courage to really do it. Because, you know, it isn’t just about finding a career or financial success – which in itself would already be a huge effort! Following a dream is allowing something to go all the way through you. It’s learning to be led, many times, more by your heart than by reason. It is constantly balancing these two feelings in every move of the day.
Luciano Bueno follows his dream that way. He built his life around goals set in his teenage years: “I’m doing today what I’ve been passionate about since I was 16 years old.” He’s referring to GALY (to us), the company of which he is the founder and CEO.
Preparing himself early on, Luciano planned every minute of his life. At 21 years old, he left Brazil to study entrepreneurship abroad. His goal was to develop himself in what he coins as the Triad Power, a union of Academic Knowledge, Practical Work and Personal Understanding. This is why he traveled around the world to study at schools such as Novancia Business School in Paris, Draper University in California and even Harvard Business School, and to work in every type of work in which he could put the Triad Power into practice.
He’s a follower, but he can lead too. At Silicon Valley, he came up with the idea that would result in Horvath CO., a startup that uses nanotechnology to create stain-resistant, odor-resistant and wrinkle-resistant “superclothes”. The idea to use nanotechnology to in favor of longevity and endless recycle was already in mind. In 2015, he received a contribution from investor Tim Draper to put the idea into practice.
After 3 years of leading the company, he received Green Card EB-1, destined to people with extraordinary talents and who are invited to live in the USA to create projects with great impacts on the country. It’s no wonder he was named by Forbes in Brazil as one the 30 young people under 30 who will make a difference in the world.
And it is at GALY that he uses his extraordinary skills. “Ordinary people can choose to be extraordinary,” says Luciano, when asked about his ability to put things into practice.
Of course, this statement alone cannot handle the hard work that is leading a company with the mission to revolutionize the way we produce goods and look at agriculture. Much more is still needed.
But those who truly follow their dreams aren’t shaken when faced with the work that has to be done. On the contrary, they make opportunities through these dreams. “I am proud to be able to make a difference to our planet and have the privilege to make my childhood dream come true; after all, what child hasn’t, during environment class, daydreamed about saving the planet?”