Created with Sketch.
Business for Good Podcast
45 minutes | Nov 15, 2022
Automated Reforestation: Grant Canary and the Drone Seed Story
This is a cool episode, because Grant Canary has found a way to make money by cooling the planet—with trees! In episode 98 with Maddie Hall, we learned about how her startup, Living Carbon, is bioengineering trees to grow faster so we can reforest the planet faster. And in this 101st episode, we’ll hear about a different approach to reforestation. Every year, millions of acres of forests in the US burn down, and the number of acres burning is increasing annually. We know that trees not only provide critical wildlife habitat, but they’re an important part of keeping carbon out of the atmosphere, yet literally billions of trees burn up in wildfires each year. Regardless of how fast those trees grow, just imagine how much time it would take to hand plant enough seeds to replace billions of burned trees. Enter Drone Seed. Founded in 2016, the company's raised well over $30 million from venture investors so far to essentially automate the reforestation process. Rather than planting seeds by hand or even randomly from the air, the 100-person startup’s drones survey the burned land, plan the mission, and then strategically drop pucks filled with seeds and the nutrients they’ll need to grow in the areas they’re most likely going to take root. The company is already selling carbon offsets to companies like Shopify, proving that sometimes it can be more profitable to grow a forest than to cut one down. Discussed in this episode Grant recommends The Lean Startup, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, and Multipliers Shopify’s Planet app Mark Rober video TechCrunch story and CNBC story about Drone Seed More about Grant Canary Grant Canary is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DroneSeed, which reforests after wildfire using heavy lift drone swarms. It was founded to make reforestation scalable and mitigate the worst effects of climate change. It recently acquired subsidiary Silvaseed which has been expanded to be the largest private seed bank on the west coast. The company is now a one-stop-shop for reforestation providing seed, seedlings, aerial seeding, and financing via carbon credits. Grant has focused his entire career on sustainability—working at Vestas wind energy in China, the US and Denmark, and for the US Green Building Council in its infancy. He has had one prior acquisition. He founded Biosystems Co., in Bogotá, Colombia that utilized food waste to feed insect larvae for use as industrial fish feed— alleviating overfishing pressure and utilizing food waste. He worked with the acquirer to scale that company to a 60k sq ft insect protein factory which is going strong today. Grant is a pacific NW native growing up in Oregon playing chess, then poker, then improv. By virtue of DroneSeed he is a Techstars Seattle Alumni ('16), Mulago Foundation Fellow, and Grist list of 50 Fixers.
61 minutes | Nov 1, 2022
The Legendary Venture Capitalist Fixated on the Future: Steve Jurvetson’s Quest to Improve Life On Earth and Beyond
If you’re familiar with the Silicon Valley world or venture capital space, Steve Jurvetson is a name that needs no introduction. For the rest of you, Steve’s a legendary venture capitalist perhaps best known for his early backing of companies like Hotmail, Skype, Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX, and more. He sat on Tesla’s board of directors for years, and currently sits on SpaceX’s board, too. These big bets he’s taken on then-risky and out-there companies have led Steve to astronomical financial success (pun intended), but also to become an influential thought leader on space and technology issues, along with others. He was also an early backer of the cultivated meat industry, investing in Upside Foods’ Series A. In 2016, President Obama appointed Steve as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Steve’s also been honored as one of "Tech's Best Venture Investors" by Forbes, and as the “Venture Capitalist of the Year” by Deloitte. The dude’s a pretty prolific photographer too, it turns out, as I’ve learned. In fact, if you enter his name into Google without hitting enter, one of the dropdowns you get served is Steve Jurvetson Flickr! Today, Steve runs a venture capital fund called Future Ventures with his business partner Maryanna Saenko, and for full disclosure, as you’ll hear in this interview, Future Ventures is an investor in my own company, The Better Meat Co. But as you’ll also hear in this interview, that doesn’t stop us from discussing taboo topics like Steve’s personal wealth, how he spends his money, and more. Other interesting topics we explore include: What led a deep tech investor like Steve to invest in alternative meat? How many startup pitches does Steve hear weekly? What makes a good pitch, and what gets him to cross the finish line to actually wire investment dollars? What company does Steve want you to start and pitch him on? What does Steve think you should look for in a cofounder? For what does Steve think his future self will condemn his current self? What would be one of the greatest discoveries ever, in Steve’s view? What happened in his life when Steve stopped drinking? What does Steve suggest you try as “the funniest google exercise”? In all, it’s a riveting conversation with one of the most consequential names in business, including businesses that are seeking to do good in the world. Resources referenced in this episode NASA’s Planetary Protection Division and Paul’s thoughts in Astronomy magazine about its implications Massive liquid water oceans in our solar system, such as on Europa and Enceladus Europa report, which Steve still needs to see Steve’s thoughts on Boston Consulting Group’s report on where best to invest for the climate Steve’s review of Paul’s book Clean Meat (which he reviewed before the two knew each other) Other books Steve’s enjoyed: Steve Jobs, The Founders, and Code Breaker More about Steve Jurvetson Steve Jurvetson is an early-stage venture capitalist with a focus on founder-led, mission-driven companies at the cutting edge of disruptive technology and new industry formation. Steve led founding investments in several companies that had successful IPOs and others that were billion-dollar acquisitions, representing $800 billion of aggregate value creation. Some of those early VC investments include Planet Labs, SpaceX and Tesla. Before co-founding Future Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Steve was an R&D Engineer at Hewlett-Packard, where seven of his chip designs were fabricated. He also worked in product marketing at Apple and NeXT and management consulting with Bain & Company. He completed his undergraduate Electrical Engineering degree at Stanford in 2.5 years, graduating #1 in his class, and went on to earn a MSEE and MBA from Stanford. In 2017, Steve received the Visionary Award from SV Forum. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed Steve as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Steve has also been honored as one of "Tech's Best Venture Investors" by Forbes, and as the “Venture Capitalist of the Year” by Deloitte.
54 minutes | Oct 15, 2022
A Whale of a Tale: Wildtype and the Future of Cultivated Seafood
As we continue to empty the oceans, our species’ demand for fish only seems to increase. But what if we could eat all the bluefin tuna and salmon we wanted without having to harm fish and other aquatic animals? That’s the vision that companies like Wildtype are working toward. Founded in 2016, this cultivated fish startup has raised $120 million so far and now has 60 employees who are growing real fish meat without the fish. I’ve enjoyed their product now twice, both pre-pandemic and recently, and enjoyed it both times. Wild Type salmon that I recently enjoyed while in their San Francisco HQ. Today, Wildtype is building serious cultivation capacity to help turn the tide for the oceans, and in this episode, we discuss the company’s origins, the role bird poop played, and what the company’s up to today. We even discuss the co-founders’ first company idea which they abandoned in favor of Wildtype: a redesigned Neti pot that would’ve been called The Schnozel. (They never trademarked this, so maybe one day you’ll be able to buy that Schnozel of your dreams.) In addition to chatting about whether it’s faster and cheaper to grow fish cells compared to mammalian and avian cells, co-founders Justin and Arye open up about what impact it’s had on their personal lives to have gone from normal jobs to running their own company. We also talk about the perennial question in this industry: If the FDA gave them approval today, how soon would it be before we see Wildtype fish on restaurant menus? Discussed in this episode Our past episode with BlueNalu New Harvest founder Jason Matheny recently became CEO of the Rand Corporation The 2018 book Clean Meat (still highly relevant!) Bored Cow’s great chocolate milk made with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein More about Justin Kolbeck and Aryé Elfenbein Justin Kolbeck is co-founder and CEO of Wildtype, which is on a mission to create the cleanest, most sustainable seafood on the planet. Before Wildtype, he spent nearly five years as a consultant at Strategy& (not a typo!) helping companies develop and launch products, grow into new markets, and operate efficiently. Justin started his career as a Foreign Service Officer, serving in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, and Washington DC. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Management, L’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, and UC Berkeley. Aryé Elfenbein is co-founder of Wildtype, where he directs the company’s scientific research. Aryé completed his MD and PhD at Dartmouth and Kyoto University; he completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at Yale. Prior to Wildtype, he completed a fellowship in regenerative cardiovascular medicine research at the Gladstone Institutes / UCSF. He currently practices cardiology in the critical care setting.
39 minutes | Oct 1, 2022
Tree-mendously Fast-Growing Trees to Fight Climate Change? Maddie Hall and the Living Carbon Story
What’s the most old-school way to capture carbon from the atmosphere? Trees! But is there a new school way to help trees stand up to the task of quickly removing the carbon humanity’s been spewing into the atmosphere in recent centuries? Living Carbon is pioneering an exciting new field in which it’s enhancing trees’ natural ability to photosynthesize, causing them to grow dramatically faster and therefore capture carbon more quickly. You see, trees are essentially just big columns of carbon, and when we cut them down—something humans seem to like to do quite a lot—all of that carbon in the trees, and much of what was stored in the soil underneath those trees, gets released back into the atmosphere, heating up the planet. One problem with relying on tree-planting to recapture that carbon is just that trees take such a long time to grow, and we just don’t have the luxury of time as the climate heats up. So Living Carbon is bioengineering trees that just grow a lot more efficiently at the beginning of their lives, and in turn making money in part from the carbon credits they can generate. Now, there are other benefits of trees aside from carbon capture, including that they provide critical wildlife habitat, shade, and more, and it’d be better if we had millions more large trees without having to wait a large number of years. That’s where Living Carbon comes in. This three-year-old startup has raised $15 million and has successfully engineered two species of trees to grow so quickly that they have up to 53 percent more biomass than comparably aged trees of their species. They’ve already done trial plantings and their CEO, Maddie Hall, says in this interview that they intend to plant 4-5 million of their enhanced trees before the end of 2023. Not too shabby, and that’s just the start. They’re also working on drought-resistant trees so we can still have forests in places that climate change is drying out. In this interview, we talk about what Living Carbon is doing and why, we discuss the controversy over whether anything “natural” is better than “human-made,” and of course, why it’s a good idea to genetically engineer trees that will help fight climate change, something that as you can imagine, elicits a number of differing views. Discussed in this episode CNN short video on Living Carbon Bill Gates’ book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster Maddie recommends Nonviolent Communication The number one cause of deforestation: meat production
45 minutes | Sep 15, 2022
Mighty Mycelium: Isabella Iglesias-Musachio and Bosque Foods
Not plants, and not animals, fungi are an entirely separate kingdom of life, and they can do some really amazing things. For example, two episodes ago you heard from a startup called Funga that’s seeking to implement fungal transplants in forests to enhance the carbon-capturing capacity of the soil. And you may know that my own company, The Better Meat Co., uses fungi fermentation to recreate the meat experience without animals. But Bosque Foods is putting fungi to work in a very different way from what I do during my day job. They’re not fermenting fungi in stainless steel fermenters. Rather, they’re practicing what’s called solid-state fermentation to create high-protein foods that will be center-of-the-plate for sure, but they’re not seeking to mimic meat per se. They’ve raised $3 million in venture capital so far and are making products that at least from the photos I see online, look fungally fantastic. In this episode I sit down with Bosque Foods CEO Isabella Iglesias-Musachio and chat about her lifelong passion that started her on this path. We discuss all types of cool things, including what to call the products she’s making, how she intends to upcycle agricultural byproducts as a feedstock for her fungi, her pathway to commercialization, and more. So if you’re interested in yet one more way fungi may save us, enjoy this episode. I think you’ll be inspired by Isabella’s story. Discussed in this episode Our past episodes with Funga (fungal forest transplants), Perfect Day (animal-free real dairy), and Aqua Cultured Foods Isabella recommends the How I Built This Podcast Article in the journal Nature on biochar from human feces More about Isabella Iglesias-Musachio Isabella is a passionate citizen scientist with an academic background in sustainability and agriculture, and a proven track record in helping tech startups scale internationally. She’s now forging her own path in the food & biotech industry, with a focus on alternative protein and fermentation. At TechShop, as General Manager and then Director of Operations, Isabella played an essential role in building and managing multiple makerspaces in the United States and in France. Alongside the CEO, she oversaw the first international TechShop expansion to France, and gained experience in adapting an innovative startup to a new market and culture. More recently, Isabella decided to combine her skills in business development and expansion with my academic interest in food systems and agriculture. She joined Infarm, a leading ag-tech startup in Berlin, to build and head their first new market expansion team, and to establish their operations in the United States, Canada, and Japan. Beyond managing an all-star team to meet our growth goals, she was a key stakeholder in partnership building with major international retailers in North America and Asia (Kroger, Sobeys, Kinokuniya). Isabella’s a life-long learner of food science, biotechnology, sustainability, and fermentation, as well as a passionate foodie, brewer, and fungi enthusiast. Today, she’s merging her passions with her skills in business management, and forging her own path as an entrepreneur. Isabella’s ultimate goal is to help accelerate the world's transition to environmentally sustainable, equitable, and animal-free protein.
40 minutes | Sep 1, 2022
Spreading the Good Word about Olivine Spreading: Kelly Erhart and Vesta
Sure, we need to stop emitting greenhouse gases. But even if we stopped all emissions today, there are so many that we’ve already put into the atmosphere that we need to remove them. Some folks are trying to build massive machines to suck C02 from the air, but Kelly Erhart has a different idea: just accelerate the earth’s natural geochemical processes to remove that same C02 and safely deposit it in solid form at the bottom of our oceans. How to do it: Turns that when water touches this volcanic rock called olivine, the rock naturally removes C02 from the air. This process takes eons normally, but if you grind the olivine rock into a fine sand and spread it out over beaches, you can greatly accelerate the carbon-capturing capacity of the rock, while also protecting coastal communities. Sounds like a noble idea, and when you combine it with the capacity to sell carbon credits, it sounds like a profitable idea, too. That’s why Kelly Erhart founded Vesta in 2019. Her company’s raised $6 million in equity so far (along with an additional $6 million in philanthropic dollars) and is now poised to raise a much larger Series A round so they can get into the olivine sand spreading business. They’re already conducting pilot programs in the Caribbean and say they’ll soon be ready for much bigger footprint—or sandprint—projects that will make a tangible dent in the climate crisis. Discussed in this episode Our past episodes with Phoenix Tailings (valorizing mining waste). Funga (soil carbon capture), Global Thermostat (direct air carbon capture), and Coral Vita (regrowing coral reefs). TED talk by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson: “How to find joy in climate action” CarbonPlan: Data and science for climate action More about Kelly Erhart Kelly Erhart is Co-founder and President of Vesta. A believer in humanity's ability to become a "net-positive" to nature, Kelly has spent her career commercializing sustainable technologies and climate solutions through creative non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid organizations. Vesta is developing an ocean-based climate solution called Coastal Carbon Capture. Coastal Carbon Capture has the potential to be a billion-ton-per year NET solution with co-benefits such as lowering ocean acidity and helping to protect vulnerable coastal communities from sea level rise and erosion.
36 minutes | Aug 15, 2022
Can Fungi Fix the Climate Crisis? Colin Averill and Funga Are Working on it
You’ve heard of flora (plants). You’ve heard of fauna (animals). But have you heard of funga? That’s the relatively new way to describe this third kingdom of life on earth: the vast number of species of fungi which aren’t plants nor animals, but are a different branch on the tree of life. And it turns out that fungi are a lot more important than many in the past have realized. In fact, they seem to play a major role in just how much carbon the soil is storing. Certain fungi, it seems, are particularly effective at sequestering carbon than others and in making trees grow a lot faster. Some even say that a one percent increase in soil-based carbon could be sufficient to stop an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Enter mycologist and entrepreneur Colin Averill and his new startup Funga. Having just raised a million dollars of seed venture capital, he’s seeking to start reforesting depleted land and converting it into biodiverse carbon sinks much faster than would otherwise occur. Think of it kind of like a fecal transplant (yep), but instead, it’s more like a fungal transplant. It may sound disgusting, but we know that you can take feces from a healthy person, inoculate (aka insert) a sick person with them, and the good microbes populate the colon of the sick person, turning them well. Similarly, you can take rich, biodiverse soil from a healthy, old growth forest and inoculate agriculturally depleted land with it, and biodiverse life returns, causing trees to grow up to three times faster than they normally would (wood?). So, how do you make a business out of reforesting ex-agricultural land? Let Colin give you the scoop (of soil) on how he and Funga are going to monetize this type of carbon capture. Discussed in this episode In a Vox story on deforestation, they note: "It’s not toilet paper or hardwood floors or even palm oil. It’s beef. Clearing trees for cattle is the leading driver of deforestation, by a long shot. It causes more than double the deforestation that’s linked to soy, oil palm, and wood products combined, according to the World Wildlife Fund." Local FOX coverage of Funga’s work. Our past episodes with Global Thermostat (direct carbon capture) and Coral Vita (rehabilitation of coral reefs). This CNN story about a startup called Living Carbon making faster-growing trees. Colin loves the book Entangled Life and the podcast My Climate Journey. More about Colin Averill Dr. Colin Averill is a Senior Scientist at ETH Zürich’s Crowther Lab, where he and his team study the forest microbiome. How does incredible microbial diversity affect which trees are in a forest, forest carbon sequestration and climate change forecasts? He focuses on the ecology of mycorrhizal fungi - fungi that form a symbiosis with the roots of most plants on Earth. In addition to his academic role, he is the Founder of Funga PBC, a new startup harnessing forest fungal networks to address the climate crisis. He is also co-founder of SPUN – the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks – a non-profit dedicated to documenting and protecting mycorrhizal fungal life across the planet.
51 minutes | Aug 1, 2022
Is the Future of Fat Fermented? Jeff Nobbs of Zero Acre Farms Is Betting on it
At age 18, Jeff Nobbs founded an ecommerce company, building it into a valuable enough startup that it was acquired in what Jeff calls a “life-changing” event. After then opening a restaurant that now has two locations in the Bay Area, Jeff decided that there’d be a third entrepreneurial act in his life, this time focused on fixing fat. What’s wrong with fat today? Well, Jeff argues that the way we grow plants to make oils like palm, soy, coconut, canola, and more is just pretty taxing on the planet. It’s often not that good for us, either. So instead of farming plants to extract the tiny amount of fat that’s in them, why not just farm microbes that produce vast quantities of fat and save a lot of land in the process? It would be especially beneficial if these microbes were adroit at making monounsaturated fats, or the so-called “good fats” we associate with avocados, olives, and so on. It turns out that producing fat via microbial fermentation is pretty efficient. A life cycle analysis conducted by Jeff’s new company, Zero Acre Farms, found that their fermentation process uses far fewer resources than farming soybeans, which are a pretty efficient plant. Founded in 2020, Zero Acre Farms now has three dozen employees and just closed a $37 million dollar financing round. Its first product, a cultured oil, is now available to purchase from their web site. I tried it in my own kitchen and can attest that indeed, the oil performed and tasted quite good. It’s an impressive journey that Jeff’s been on, and with tens of millions of dollars now at the mid-30s CEO’s disposal, it’s sure to be quite a ride as they scale up and see how many acres they can free up by switching the world to their lower-footprint fats. In this episode, Jeff recommends Dale Carnegie’s books Peter Drucker’s books Think and Grow Rich Scaling Up High Growth Handbook More about Jeff Nobbs Jeff Nobbs is the co-founder and CEO of Zero Acre Farms, a food company replacing destructive vegetable oils with healthier, more sustainable oils and fats made by fermentation. Jeff has co-founded several startups to offer better quality ingredients and nutrition-forward food to people and communities, including the fast casual restaurant chain Kitava. In 2020, after seeing a drastic decrease in accessibility to fresh food, Jeff co-founded HelpKitchen to connect food-insecure individuals with partner restaurants for a free meal via SMS. Jeff also served as the chief operating officer for Perfect Keto and General Manager of Rakuten, which acquired his first company Extrabux. Jeff writes about health, nutrition, and sustainability at jeffnobbs.com and @jeffnobbs.
54 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
Robots to the Recycling Rescue: Matanya Horowitz Is Ensuring Your Recyclables Are Actually Recycled
You know how you put all your recycling—cans, bottles, cardboard, etc.—into the same bin? Well, have you ever wondered how all that stuff gets sorted out at the recycling factory? It’s done mostly by humans. If you watch a video about how it’s done, rest assured you’re not likely to apply for this job. These folks are standing at a conveyor belt with recyclable trash whizzing by them at every moment and they need to pick pieces off the line to put into the proper bins at a rate of 40 items per minute! It’s tough to watch the work for 30 seconds, so imagine how tough it must be to do that work for hours every day. Well, Matanya Horowitz had a different idea. He’d been obsessed with robots since he was a kid, and fresh out of his PhD program, he wondered whether he could teach robots to sort trash more effectively and efficiently than humans. The dude started in 2014 by dumpster diving with his girlfriend to get trash which he could start training his AI on. Then he got some government grants to hire himself and a couple others. Fast forward to today, and Horowitz’s AMP Robotics has raised $75 million from investors, employs 250 humans, has deployed a similar number of robots at recycling factories on three continents that have now sorted billions of pieces of trash, and has even opened their own recycling factory in Ohio. Their robots pick at a rate of anywhere from 80 to 120 pieces per minute, don’t need breaks, don’t get covid, and importantly, they alter the economics of recycling to make it far more likely that what goes into the recycling bin actually ends up getting recycled. In this episode, we talk all about the economics of AMP’s robots, the trajectory Matanya took from being an academic roboticist to becoming a CEO, the role venture capital has played in the company, what mistakes along the way were made, whether he thinks robots will ever become sentient, and more. It’s an impressive and inspirational story from a scientist who’s using his business to help solve a pressing sustainability problem for humanity. Discussed in this episode Matanya is influenced by the Jewish tale of Golem He’s also a big fan of Isaac Asimov’s work And he recommends reading The Innovator’s Dilemma and Paul Graham’s essays Matanya gave a cool TEDx speech about robotics Want to read a transcript of this episode? You’re in luck! More about Matanya Horowitz Dr. Matanya Horowitz is the Founder and CEO of AMP Robotics™ an industrial artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics company that is fundamentally changing the economics of recycling, by lowering processing costs and extracting maximum value from waste streams. Matanya developed and commercialized AMP’s breakthrough AI platform, AMP Neuron™, and robotics system, AMP Cortex™, which automates high-speed identification, sorting, picking, and processing of material streams. AMP’s machine learning technology continuously improves performance adapting to the complex, ever changing material characteristics of municipal solid waste, construction and demolition (C&D), e-waste, and metal scrap. Recognizing attributes down to the SKU and Brand level, AMP can provide unprecedented data transparency and insights on waste streams to inform decisions and unite the value chain of circularity. Matanya was just individually recognized as Waste360’s ‘2019 Innovator of the Year’ award, in addition to being named to their ‘40 under 40’ list. AMP has received numerous awards and international recognition, including The Circulars 2018 Award for ‘Circular Economy Top Tech Disruptor’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the NWRA’s (National Waste and Recycling Association) ‘2017 Innovator of the Year’ award. Matanya earned multiple degrees including a BS in Electrical Engineering, BS in Computer Science, BS in Applied Mathematics, BA in Economics, and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Matanya holds a PhD in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology with publications and research in control theory, path planning, and computer vision.
53 minutes | Jul 1, 2022
Is Plant-Based Meat about to Get Chunkier? Amos Golan of Chunk Foods Thinks So
For decades, the alt-meat movement has focused on ground meats like sausages, burgers, nuggets, sticks, and more. That’s because it’s just a lot less difficult to create these ground products than a more structured product like a steak or chicken breast. Still difficult, but less difficult. Several companies now though are trying to reach that holy grail of whole cut products, and one of them is Chunk Foods, hailing from the holy land of Israel. As you’ll hear in this episode, Amos Golan was a guy fascinated by chemistry. He tried a couple business ideas that didn’t take off before starting to try to make steaks in his kitchen by putting soy through a fermentation process. After many failures, he finally created something he thought was worthy of showing to investors, one of whom was interested enough that they put in $50,000. Fast forward to today and Amos has been making quite a lot of innovations in his process, is making a steak that I tried and really enjoyed, is overseeing a team of a dozen people, has raised millions of dollars, and claims his steaks are going to be hitting the United States by the end of 2022. Time will tell if that prediction pans out, and I certainly hope it does, but Amos has an impressive story that offers a good reminder to never give up, and that the most meaningful work of your life may still be ahead of you. Books Amos recommends in this episode Venture Deals Never Split the Difference The Periodic Table (memoir) More about Amos Golan Amos Golan is the founder and CEO of Chunk Foods. He has a deep passion for innovation and solving hard problems, and a solid background in science, engineering and design. Amos graduated from the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program For Outstanding Students at Tel Aviv University where he obtained an MS.c. in Organic Chemistry. He later moved to Boston and gained a second Master's degree focused on Human-Computer Interaction from the MIT Media Lab where he conducted research and worked on various futuristic projects with fortune 500 companies. After serving in various roles with startup companies in fields such as ag tech, chemistry and biotech, Amos joined Ferrero's Open Innovation team in NY as the youngest member of its leadership team. At Ferrero, he led some of the company's most cutting edge innovation projects in biotech, food tech, age tech and digital technologies, trying to address pressing challenges around supply chains, climate change and ingredient sourcing, better-for-you nutrition, and sustainability. Amos loves food and cooking, and attended the Cordon Bleu culinary school, where he was trained in classic French cuisine and worked in several restaurants in Tel Aviv.
60 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
“Meat” the Meat Industry’s Journalist: Lisa Keefe and Meatingplace
If you follow the meat or the alt-meat industry closely, chances are high that you’ve read Lisa Keefe’s work. As the editor-in-chief of both Meatingplace magazine and now Alt-Meat magazine too, Lisa has been both reporting on and editorializing on all things meat for the past 15 years. She’s also the creator of the Meatingplace podcast and is a frequent commentator on everything from trends to controversies and more in the meat space. While she’s not a meat company executive, as a meat media (meat-ia?) executive, Lisa’s spent much of her career watching what’s happening as far as plant-based and cultivated meat goes, as well as animal welfare changes occurring in the ag industry too. As you’ll hear, she certainly views animal agriculture as a desirable industry worth keeping around, yet she’s very open-mined about animal-free proteins, as evidenced by the existence of her newest creation, Alt-Meat magazine. In this interview, Lisa discusses her latest trip to Israel where she tried various cultivated meat products, her views on why plant-based meat hasn’t taken as much market share as plant-based milk yet, why the pork industry hasn’t advanced cage-free animal welfare changes like much of the egg industry has, and more. I always learn from reading Lisa’s work, and I learned even more by chatting with her for this episode, and I’m confident you will too. So, if you’ve ever wondered what meat industry insiders think about the alt-protein and animal welfare worlds, now’s your chance.
69 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
This Dude Vasectomized Himself! Meet Dr. Esgar Guarin, the Evangelical Vasectomist
Our guest in this episode, Dr. Esgar Guarin, is on a crusade to promote vasectomies, and even gave up his previous medical career to focus on simply being a full-time vasectomist as part of his commitment to making the world a better place. That’s right: his entire business is one thing and one thing only: helping men take greater responsibility in their reproductive lives and averting unwanted pregnancies.
32 minutes | May 15, 2022
Is Alt-Protein a National Security Issue? Rep. Ro Khanna Thinks So
Many already believe that fostering an alt-protein industry in the US is important for helping the environment, but is it also going to protect American national security? We’re already importing much of our clean energy tech from Asia, but will we soon be importing our clean protein from other parts of the world, too? Congressman Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California representing Silicon Valley, doesn’t want that to happen. He’s not only called on USDA to invest in alt-protein, he’s recently introduced a bill in Congress calling on the Director of National Intelligence to submit an intelligence report on the effects of increased production and consumption of alternative proteins on American national security. The bill even calls for the DNI to explore whether, and to what extent, progress in the production and consumption of alternative proteins made by foreign countries like China constitutes a competitive threat to American economic interests.
36 minutes | May 1, 2022
Reproductive Freedom in the Developing World: Anna Christina Thorsheim and Family Empowerment Media
While it’s a charity, Family Empowerment Media tries to run like a business in that it relies heavily on measurable, evidence-based strategies that produce a significant return on their investment. Though the return they’re seeking isn’t a financial one, but rather is in the form of the social change they’re working to create, mainly by empowering the use of family planning by families that are seeking to have fewer children in developing African nations. Started in 2020, the sole mission of the group is to create radio content featuring Nigerian families talking about their positive experiences with family planning. Not only are donors backing these social entrepreneurs, so is the Nigerian government. Why? On average fertility rates in Nigeria stand currently at more than five children per woman. Generally speaking, the poorest countries tend to have the highest fertility rates while wealthier countries have lower fertility rates. So while in many African countries each woman often has on average more than five children, in wealthier parts of the world, like South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, each woman has on average less than two children. The US is also at less than two children per woman, though immigration to the US prevents the country’s population from shrinking.
54 minutes | Apr 15, 2022
Oat-to-Market Strategy: Mike Messersmith and the Oatly Story
If you’ve been listening to the show for some time, you know that replacing animals in the food system is a topic very close to my heart. While the meat and egg industries in the grand picture have still been largely unaffected by plant-based competitors, that’s not the case in the milk industry, where the explosion of plant-based milks has very tangibly cut into demand for cow’s milk. Gone are the days when almond milk and soy milk were for vegans—now they’re for everyone. But just a few years ago, a new entrant into the plant-based milk world emerged. In 2015 oat milk was far less than 1 percent of the plant-based milk world. In fact, people hearing the term “oat milk” were probably more likely to think they’d heard people talking about “goat milk.” Not anymore. Thanks largely to one company, Oatly, oat milk is now the belle of the alt-milk ball. After three decades of toiling away far out of mainstream consciousness, Oatly has boomed, leading to its mega-successful 2021 IPO.
39 minutes | Apr 1, 2022
Ep. 86 | From Tech to Table: Richard Munson and the Food & Ag Tech Revolution
I try to read any new book that comes out on the topic, and that includes Richard Munson’s new book Tech to Table: 25 Innovators Reminaging Food. I really enjoyed reading this book by someone who’s far more well-known for his deep-dive biographies of visionaries like Nikola Tesla and Jacque Cousteau, but now has written a new book featuring dozens of entrepreneurs seeking to create a more sustainable food system. And they’re doing this not by returning to 19th century agriculture, but by embracing 21st century food and agriculture technology. In this interview we discuss everything from how new tech can displace old jobs, why some environmentalists don’t seem that down with new tech that could benefit the environment, and what the future of food and ag may bring. It’s a wide-ranging conversation about a book with a wide-range of topics and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
35 minutes | Mar 15, 2022
Ep. 85 | A Prime Pivot: Why Kimberlie Le and Prime Roots Are Going All in on Deli Meats
For those of you who’ve been enjoying Business for Good for some time, today’s guest may sound familiar. That’s because Kim Le is not only our guest on Episode 85, but she was also our guest on our 49th episode back in 2020. If you’ve not heard it, I do recommend you go back and check it out, which will be helpful in seeing just how much has changed for this young startup which was cofounded by undergrads and has raised $20 million so far. As you’ll hear in this episode, Prime Roots is undergoing quite a transformation as it settles into its new 20,000 square foot production facility in Berkeley. I was fortunate enough to visit the Prime Roots HQ, which is where we taped this episode in person, right after I’d enjoyed their new products, which were truly phenomenal.
38 minutes | Mar 1, 2022
Ep. 84 | Investing in a Post-Animal Economy: Elysabeth Alfano and VegTech ETF
One of the most common questions I get from listeners is: how can I invest in companies you feature on the show? Well, most of them are startups backed by VC dollars, and that means the average retail investor isn’t typically going to be able to invest in these early stage private companies. But what if there were a way to invest money in an index fund that only included companies actively working to replace the exploitation of animals in our economy? It turns out that there is now such a fund, and it was co-founded by Elysabeth Alfano. Perhaps most well-known as the host of Plant-Based Business Hour, Elysabeth has now started the VegTech™ Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF, which is traded on The New York Stock Exchange as EATV. Think of it like the S&P 500, but instead more like the Plant-Based 40. That’s because this Exchange-Traded Fund is a collection of 40 publicly-traded companies up and down the animal-free supply chain. This isn’t companies that simply don’t use animals, but rather companies actively involved in actually replacing animal use. That includes well-known players like Beyond Meat and Oatly, but also the ingredients companies that supply them and more. The basic bet is that over time, the inefficiency of animal use will drag down the companies that are dependent on it, while animal-free companies will thrive.
37 minutes | Feb 15, 2022
Ep. 83 | Will Fungi Free Fish? Anne Palermo is Betting on Fermentation at Aqua Cultured Foods
Humanity’s relentless demand for seafood is emptying the oceans with little end in sight. Does the path to freeing fish from us run through fungi fermentation? That’s exactly what Anne Palermo is betting. As you’ll hear in this interview, Anne is a former asset manager at Morgan Stanley who decided mid-career that she wanted to start her own chocolate company. After growing her first startup to millions in revenue, this mom of three got hooked on the need for animal-free protein and pivoted to start a new company focused on saving the oceans. Anne began growing mycelium—the root-like structure of fungi—on wet cardboard in her kitchen and to her pleasant surprise, she found that she could tune the mycelium into various kinds of whole muscle seafood mimicry. Soon, Aqua Cultured Foods was born. Fast forward to today, just one year later, and Anne has raised millions of dollars, hired staff, filed provisional patent applications, partnered with a major food company, and more. Anne’s vision involves turning the tide on the war that humanity is waging on oceanic animals while still allowing seafood lovers to enjoy their favorite foods, but just made via fermentation rather than fishing.
41 minutes | Feb 1, 2022
Ep. 82 | Engineering Our Way Out of Single-Use Plastics: Troy Swope and the Footprint Story
You know when you get a food product like those Beyond Meat sausages and see that instead of plastic, it’s in one of those biodegradable trays or bowls? Have you ever wondered how they do that? I mean, that bowl needs to repel oil and water from its surface without getting soggy, but still be actually biodegradable. Seems impossible. Well, it turns out that this feat isn’t only a great technological innovation that helps replace plastics; it’s also a great business, as Troy Swope has proven. Founded in 2014, Troy's company Footprint grew from humble roots to now having 4,000 employees, $50 million in annual revenue, and production facilities around the world. With all this success, the company is seeking to go public later in 2022, reportedly with a valuation of $1.6 billion. It’s quite a story, and one that proves that some of humanity’s most pressing problems, like plastic pollution, are also some of our best business opportunities.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2022