Nasib Naseri's life story is a testament to resilience, curiosity, and entrepreneurial spirit. Born in Afghanistan, Nasib’s journey to founding and developing GOVA, an innovative startup in the food industry, is nothing short of extraordinary.

Nasib's Origins Fueled Her Curiosity
Nasib was born in Afghanistan, and her name means the magic word "destiny". She lost both parents when she was under one year old and became orphan. At a very early age, after living in a few places, Nasib moved to Finland with her sister and grew up there, gaining Finnish nationality and culture. Life in Finland brought its own set of challenges naturally. Living in a Finnish family house from the age of ten, Nasib had to navigate the complexities of growing up in a foreign land. This sense of displacement fueled Nasib's drive to succeed and her relentless curiosity about the world in constant adaptation around her.

Life in Finland: A Blend of Cultures and Curiosities
Despite feeling some disconnect due to her appearance and origin, Nasib thrived academically and socially, maintaining close ties with her blood sister. Her sister's excellence in school positively influenced Nasib and Nasib educational journey culminated in a degree in chemical engineering from Metropolia University in 2019, naturally celebrated with Nasib proud Finish family.

Nasib concluded her studies at University

Growing up in Finland, Nasib always felt a sense of otherness and despite mastering the Finnish language and culture, her distinct appearance and origins set her apart. This feeling of not fully belonging anywhere shaped her identity as a global citizen, fluent in multiple languages such as Arabic, Dari/Farsi, Persian, English, and Finnish. This global perspective became a cornerstone of Nasib's entrepreneurial journey.
However, her real passion lay beyond the conventional academic path and included a close relationship with the startup ecosystem during her time at the university. This environment marked Nasib evolution and prepared her for new ventures.

The Spark of Entrepreneurship
Nasib’s entrepreneurial journey began with her involvement in various startups during her university years. Her first foray was with Redono LTV, where she worked on utilizing wastewater nutrients for agricultural purposes. This unpaid role ignited her curiosity and honed her entrepreneurial skills.
Nasib then joined Altum Technologies, a startup leveraging power ultrasound for industrial cleaning, and was part of the team that won Slush 2017. Her deep dive into sonochemistry during this period culminated in her thesis on the subject. Following this, Nasib contributed to KARSA, a startup developing a mass spectrometer inlet for air quality analysis. These diverse experiences across different startups laid a solid foundation for future ventures.

The Birth of GOVA
GOVA emerged from Nasib’s personal struggle with weight management. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with support from Adam Silfvander, Nasib developed the idea of creating healthy desserts and pastries that wouldn’t compromise on taste. GOVA's name is inspired by memories from Adam's childhood in Denmark, coming from “Gode” and “Varer,” which means high-quality food. This inspiration aimed to develop something high quality and premium for consumers, which has been the foundation of what GOVA strives to achieve in a healthier way without compromising on the quality and taste of food.
By 2021, after extensive research and collaboration with professors and experts from University of Helsinki and Aalto University, GOVA was officially founded. The startup’s mission is to develop a healthier alternative to white sugar, making it accessible to everyone, including those in economically disadvantaged regions where sugar-related health issues are prevalent. GOVA's innovative approach involves using biomass and sustainable methods to produce sugar substitutes. This not only addresses health concerns but also environmental ones, making GOVA's mission doubly impactful. Nasib’s chemical engineering background, combined with her relentless curiosity, played a crucial role in developing this groundbreaking solution. Adam's support was pivotal in taking the idea to new levels, helping it gain structure.

Overcoming Challenges and Securing Patents
Securing patents for their innovative processes was a critical milestone. With initial financial support from close acquaintances and investors like Sonja Vartio, GOVA obtained two patents. Navigating the patent process was an educational journey for Nasib Naseri and Adam Silfvander. With no prior experience, they relied on the expertise of friends and mentors, like Olli Sääksivuori, a former IP expert from Neste. Olli’s belief in their project led to their first patent being funded by his wife, marking a significant step forward for GOVA. Despite the economic challenges posed by the pandemic and inflation, Nasib and Adam persevered, focusing on research and development to validate the idea and prepare the development of an innovative solution that can become a game changer.

GOVA's Innovative Constant Recognition
With the long research and innovation process and the consequent solution development, GOVA’s attributes and potential to positively impact the healthy food industry were rapidly recognized. The purpose-led food-biotech company, driven by technology, has been constantly awarded in different food and entrepreneur events. To name a few, GOVA has won the Hokkaido Innovation Week in Japan 2024, was a finalist in Vitafoods Europe 2024 in Geneva, a finalist in Food Tech Challengers in Warsaw, and selected for countless accelerator programs such as EIT Food Seedbed Incubator, EIT Food Accelerator Network “Food as Medicine,” MassChallenge, and many more. An accomplished startup recognized by the European startup ecosystem and beyond, GOVA is finding real solutions for a problem that exists globally and impacts populations in both developed and developing regions.
Regardless of conditions, the GOVA team is ready to pitch their solution anywhere, even in an iced pool, as happened in the Polar Bear Pitching Hokkaido in Japan. Adam Silfvander, cofounder of GOVA, pitched from cold and iced water in Japan, winning the competition.

GOVA team receiving the polar bear pitching award (done in iced water)

To learn more on this original Polar Bear Pitching:

The Role of COREangels
Introduced by a contact in the U.S., COREangels’ quick and efficient due diligence process impressed Nasib. All subsequent communication, support, and contacts transmitted trust and confidence, showing that the group is not only focused on making money but also involved in understanding startup evolution and being part of the solution. For Nasib, COREangels Lisbon's support extended beyond financial investment, offering invaluable networking opportunities, introductions to potential customers, and access to advanced laboratories in Portugal. This collaboration underscored the importance of having supportive and knowledgeable investors who understand the unique challenges startups face. The extensive network of COREangels opened doors to new partnerships, research facilities, and expert advice, propelling GOVA closer to its vision of a healthier world.

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Nasib Nasery, GOVA CEO
Vision for the Future
Nasib envisions GOVA as a global player in the food industry, producing affordable and healthy sugar alternatives. She aims to utilize biomass and sustainable methods to revolutionize sugar production, contributing to better health outcomes worldwide. GOVA’s commitment to innovation is evident in their ongoing research and collaborations with top universities. The startup’s goal is not only to create a healthier sugar alternative but also to ensure its wide accessibility, thereby addressing global health issues related to excessive sugar consumption.
GOVA's future plans include expanding their laboratory capabilities and piloting their product on a larger scale. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, they aim to make their sugar substitute a staple in households across the globe, including in regions most affected by sugar-related health issues, but also in products developed by key brands consumed globally. Meanwhile, they are developing partnerships in different areas with institutions and companies that are interested in being frontrunners in healthy food improvement and can test the solution or add value in some way.

Final Thoughts
Nasib Naseri’s journey to the CEO of an innovative startup is a story of resilience, passion, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Her partnership with COREangels Lisbon exemplifies the potential of supportive investor relationships in driving startup success. Nasib’s vision for GOVA reflects her broader commitment to making a positive impact on the world, proving that with determination and the right support, extraordinary dreams can become reality.
Nasib’s story is a powerful reminder that innovation often springs from the most unlikely sources and that it is essential to have curiosity, persistence, and to be surrounded by people and institutions that support and add value. The end of the story is far from being achieved, but Nasib and her team are clearly working to create a healthier but tastier world for everyone.

GOVA has a Healthy, Sweet, Promising Future