Merah Mas is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and lead by Bernelle Verster. It is a small company, working with companies in a variety of partnerships, ranging from contract work to Joint Ventures, to realise projects.


The single most FAQ is 'What does Merah Mas mean?

It's Indonesian for Red Gold, crudely translated. Orange is Bernelle's favourite colour, and her favourite place is the Namid desert, with its red sands. So since she was about 12, Bernelle thought about going to live in the desert, and while she loves swimming and being in water, she realised fairly quickly that in this arid environment, water is not a solvent, but a resource, liquid gold. And that's where it began. Trying to cut down on water use still meant you need water, so water reuse was top priority.

Bernelle Verster, Water Maverick.

Why the devisions ASST and ShackLabs?

Biology is the core of the company, and biology for a purpose. This started as Industrial Biotech, but moved to more natural forms of bioprocessing - the current definition of IndieBio is Indigenous Biotech. Hard core bioprocessing, but with no genetic modification and using non-sterile processes. This cuts down on energy costs, but makes the process more vulnerable to what happens upstream, and in turn the things downstream from this process are influenced by the process (for example the bacteria that we are using can go to the next step and do their thing there too, whether we want it or not).


To allow for the best solution all the players in the vicinity need to talk to each other; there needs to be some sort of an industrial ecosystem. To take it a bit further, to properly manage our myriad ecosystems, we need to interact with them better. So this ecosystem also means our own individual ecologies: how we relate to our environment. On a more mundane front, we need to understand what we interact with through analysis and some sort of control, and ShackLabs is hacking that in a fun and open source way.


This brings us to ASST: Adventure Sport and Science Tourism. A spiced up version of science education, it draws on what works in sport and tourism and brings that sexiness to science. And if sport wasn't part of this company, the members might all just get too fat. All work and no play and all that. (And we say members - plural -, because Merah Mas has quite an ecosystem of supporters and volunteers - including Debian, the Biomimicry crowd and others)


IndieBio is migrating to meaning Ingenious Biotech. Because it rocks.


ingenious |injenyes|


(of a person) clever, original, and inventive : he was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget. See note at creative .

• (of a machine or idea) cleverly and originally devised and well suited to its purpose.


USAGE Ingenious and ingenuous are often confused. Ingenious means 'clever, skillful, resourceful' (: an ingenious device), while ingenuous means 'artless, frank' (: charmed by the ingenuous honesty of the child), which could work too - authenticity is a key value of this company.