144 episodes

Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Whether it’s climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, cyber threats, coral reef die-offs, nuclear waste storage, plastic pollution, or more, many of the world’s greatest challenges are also exciting business opportunities. On this show, we feature business leaders who are marrying profit and purpose by inventing solutions to both build a better world and offer investors a bang for their bucks.

Business for Good Podcast Paul Shapiro

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 156 Ratings

Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Whether it’s climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, cyber threats, coral reef die-offs, nuclear waste storage, plastic pollution, or more, many of the world’s greatest challenges are also exciting business opportunities. On this show, we feature business leaders who are marrying profit and purpose by inventing solutions to both build a better world and offer investors a bang for their bucks.

    Which Came First: The Chicken or the Potato?

    Which Came First: The Chicken or the Potato?

    Many listeners of this show will be familiar with precision fermentation, or turning microbes into factories to produce proteins like those proteins that have historically been produced inside of chickens and cows. Think of companies whose founders we’ve had on, like Perfect Day and The Every Company.
    But, what if instead of using microbes as protein factories—and all the associated costs of bioreactors and other capex—you could simply turn plants into protein factories, and make actual animal proteins inside of the plants, which can then be extracted and sold?
    That’s exactly what Israeli startup PoLoPo is doing inside of potatoes. Their first protein: Ovalbumin, or the protein that makes up most of the egg white’s protein content. If you pay attention to ingredient decks on food packaging, you’ve probably noticed that albumin is an ingredient in many foods, often serving to help color and texturize foods, as well as serving as a high-quality source of protein. In fact, the global egg albumin market is valued at billions of dollars, with some estimates around $5 billion USD and others as much as $30 billion USD.
    Founded in 2022, PoLoPo has already raised a couple million US dollars to scramble that market with real egg proteins grown inside of potatoes. Since the process is totally animal-free, it should go over easy as a  vegan ingredient, but since it’s an actual egg protein, those with egg allergies will still want to avoid cracking open a food with PoLoPo’s Ovalbumin.
    In this episode, PoLoPo CEO Maya Sapir-Mir and I chat about her work as a plant biologist, how she teamed up with a vegan scientist to co-found this company, her passion for using bioengineering to help save the planet, and of course, how she plans to use the humble potato to displace some of the need for chickens in our food industry. 
    Discussed in this episode
    2022 Food Navigator story on PoLoPo’s technology.
    Our past episodes with The Kitchen and Aleph Farms. 
    As well, Paul recommends reading Resetting the Table, whose author we did an episode with too.
    Fellow molecular farming startup Moolec received approval from the USDA for its soybeans that contain pig proteins. 
    More about Maya Sapir-Mir
    Maya Sapir-Mir is CEO and co-founder of PoLoPo, a molecular farming pioneer producing proteins directly in common crops, beginning with egg protein (ovalbumin) grown in potatoes. She has nearly ten years of experience in the biotech industry and agricultural R&D, including senior management at a small cannabis industry startup. In addition to leading R&D on plants with commercial and medical applications, she managed collaborations with partners and customers.
    She holds a PhD in plant sciences and an MSc in plant genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BSc in biochemistry from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She performed post-doctoral work at the Volcani Institute, Israel’s leading agricultural R&D facility, creating a new area of research for the organization in Protein Identification, Extraction, and Characterization in plants and microorganisms.

    • 36 min
    Premature Obituaries? Bruce Friedrich’s Optimism for Cultivated Meat

    Premature Obituaries? Bruce Friedrich’s Optimism for Cultivated Meat

    Upon reading his obituary, Mark Twain reportedly wrote that “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Whether Twain actually wrote this or not, the reality remains that today the reports of the death of cultivated meat are indeed quite real. Yet Bruce Friedrich, the president of the Good Food Institute, is here to tell you that he believes such reports are not based on science and are indeed greatly exaggerated. 
    Few people have done more to inspire others to pursue alternative protein—including cultivated meat—as a strategy to ameliorate world problems than Bruce. I’ve known Bruce since 1996, and one thing that’s remained constant during the past three decades is that Bruce’s commitment to reducing suffering on the planet is simply enormous. Whether in his role as part of the nonprofit animal advocacy world or the crusade he’s been on since co-founding GFI in 2016 to render alternative proteins no longer alternative, Bruce’s lodestar has always been: how can he do as much good as possible during his limited time on the planet?
    In this conversation, Bruce and I focus on the state of the plant-based and cultivated meat industries today, why he believes the critics are misguided, whether China will lead this race, how to respond to the new cultivated meat bans like those newly passed in Florida and Alabama, and critically: what it will take for alt-protein to no longer be alt.
    Discussed in this episode
    This episode is the 10th in our ten-part podcast series on cultivated meat. The previous nine episodes include Orbillion Bio, UPSIDE Foods, Avant Meats, BlueNalu, Eat Just, Fork & Good, Mosa Meat, New Harvest, and Aleph Farms.
    Dr. Elliot Swartz’s presentation: The Cost Drivers of Cultivated Meat Production.
    GFI’s Plant-Based Meat Production Volume Modeling 2030 analysis.
    GFI’s numerous additional resources, including The Science of Cultivated Meat, Advancing Solutions for Alternative Protein, The Costs and Environmental Impacts of Cultivated Meat, and The GFI Startup Manual. 
    You can sign up to receive GFI’s many newsletters and to be alerted to their many webinars and other events and resources at gfi.org/newsletters. 
    Bruce cites numerous laws, including Amara’s Law (we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run), Wright’s Law (for every cumulative doubling of units produced, costs will fall by a constant percentage), and even Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction).
    Good Meat is now selling cultivated chicken at a butchery in Singapore.
    China’s five-year plan for the future of meat.
    The cultivated meat documentary Meat the Future.
    Bruce recommends Hannah Ritchie’s book, Not The End of the World. You can see Paul’s review of it here.
    Ezra Klein’s 2021 NY Times column, Let’s Launch a Moonshot for Meatless Meat.
    Bruce’s 2019 TED Talk.
    The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ report: The Future Appetite for Alternative Proteins.
    Our past episodes with Ryan Bethencourt and Jason Matheny.
    An upcoming episode with Israel’s albumin producer PoLoPo!
    More about Bruce Friedrich
    Bruce Friedrich is founder & president of the Good Food Institute, a global network of nonprofit science-focused think tanks, with more than 220 full-time team members across affiliates in the U.S., India, Israel, Brazil, Singapore, and Europe (UK, Germany, & EC). GFI works on alternative protein policy, science, and corporate engagement - to accelerate the production of plant-based and cultivated meat in order to bolster the global protein supply while protecting our environment, promoting global health, and preventing food insecurity. Friedrich is a TED Fellow, Y Combinator alum, 2021 "American Food Hero" (EatingWell Magazine), and popular speaker on food innovation. He has penned op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, Fo

    • 59 min
    Defying the Odds: Orbillion Bio Raising Capital for Cultivated Meat in 2024

    Defying the Odds: Orbillion Bio Raising Capital for Cultivated Meat in 2024

    If you follow the cultivated meat sector, you know that the last couple years have been tough. Some companies have gone under, others have gone into hibernation, and others have shed staff in cash-conserving layoffs. Major publications have published opinion column obituaries for this industry, yet the work goes on. Part of that work is that of Obillion Bio, a B2B cultivated meat company which successfully raised capital in 2024, surely a Herculean feat.
    Having now brought in $15 million, while the Orbillion technology is complex, the business model is simple: grow high-quality wagyu beef cells and then sell those cells to others who will create finished goods with them.
    In this conversation, Orbillion CEO Patricia Bubner and I chat about what makes them different from other cultivated meat startups, her work as a plant and fungal biologist prior to her career in mammalian cell culture, what she thinks are the best ways to scale, why she thinks she was successful in fundraising during a funding famine, and more. 
    Discussed in this episode
    Patricia is a fan of John Steinbeck’s books.
    Patricia co-founded The Millet Project.
    Orbillion went through the Y Combinator accelerator program
    Patricia and Paul both recommend Hannah Ritchie book, Not The End of the World. You can see Paul’s review of it here.
    AgFunder News on Orbillion Bio.
    More about Patricia Bubner, PhD
    Patricia Bubner is a PhD scientist and engineer focused on commercializing cultivated beef. She is the co-founder and CEO of Orbillion Bio, Inc. with the mission to make sustainable, nutritious, and flavorful cultivated meat at price parity. 
    Patricia grew up in Graz, Austria, surrounded by an abundance of local and regional foods. With farmers as grandparents, she learned early where food comes from and the hard work that goes into producing it. Her deep interest in food — and the molecular basis of food — led her to study chemistry.
    Patricia holds an MSc in Technical Chemistry and a PhD in Biotechnology from Graz University of Technology in Austria, and she conducted her postdoctoral research at the Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley. During that time, she also pursued her conviction of a more sustainable food system as a co-founder of the agriculture and food systems initiative, The Millet Project. 
    Prior to Orbillion, Patricia advised several technology companies and led the Analytics and QC teams at biopharma startups. During her time with the Bioprocess Science team at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), she built and led a team dedicated to scaling bioprocess development for mammalian cells — the very systems required to commercialize cultivated meat. At BI, Patricia met and worked hand-in-hand with Orbillion co-founder, Samet Yildirim, on a novel bioprocessing technology now commercialized by Pfizer.
    Combining her experience in the biopharma, food, and sustainable materials industries, Patricia co-founded Orbillion Bio, Inc. Orbillion is a B2B cultivated meat technology company that brings commercially viable meat to the ever-growing $211B global ground beef market. Orbillion has developed a game-changing algorithm for the scale-up of cultivated meat that makes commercializing low-cost cultivated beef possible.
    Orbillion has raised $15M and is backed by The Venture Collective, Y Combinator, At One Ventures, Venture Souq, and Metaplanet among others.

    • 47 min
    The Past, Present, and Future of Cultivated Meat with UPSIDE Foods’ Uma Valeti

    The Past, Present, and Future of Cultivated Meat with UPSIDE Foods’ Uma Valeti

    No cultivated meat company has raised more capital than UPSIDE Foods. In 2022, after having already raised about $200 million in previous rounds, the company raised another $400 million in a Series C round with a company valuation north of the coveted $1 billion unicorn status. No company in the space has garnered more media attention, both positive and critical, than UPSIDE Foods. No company has as much volume of cultivation capacity as UPSIDE Foods. No company is as old as UPSIDE Foods, as it was the first startup formed to take this technology out of academia and work to commercialize real meat grown slaughter-free. It’s also one of the few companies in the world to have been granted regulatory approval to actually sell cultivated meat, which it did in the US.
    So it was only fitting that this conversation with UPSIDE CEO Uma Valeti take place in person inside the beating heart of UPSIDE’s EPIC (Cultivated Meat Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center) cultivated meat pilot facility in Emeryville, California. I often say that I’m Uma Valeti’s first biographer, since I profile him in Clean Meat, but I certainly won’t be his last biographer, regardless of whether he succeeds or fails. And the last time I visited UPSIDE Foods, in 2017, when the company was still called Memphis Meats, and I got to enjoy their cultivated duck. At that time, they had only a handful of employees.
    Now, as 230 UPSIDE employees worked away in the dramatically nicer building that houses EPIC, I first got to enjoy four different cultivated chicken dishes. I tried both chicken that was FDA-approved and grown in smaller cultivators, and chicken that was yet to be FDA-approved, which was grown in 2,000-liter cultivators. Spoiler: they all tasted great, and were easily discerned from most plant-based chicken in scent, flavor, and texture.
    After the tasting, Uma and I sat down for this frank conversation in which we discussed UPSIDE’s past, present, and future. That includes details about the scale and capability at which they currently sit, why they paused their plans for their vaunted Rubicon commercial facility in Illinois, what expansions they’re planning on making at EPIC in California, what Uma thinks about the obituaries some journalists are writing for the cultivated meat industry, when he thinks cultivated meat will reach 1 percent market share in the total meat market, and much more. 
    In this conversation, you’ll hear Uma elaborate on how the technology has gone from being decried as impossible to now possible, and what remains to be seen is whether it will now go from possible to inevitable. 
    It’s a fascinating and revelatory conversation with a man who has served in many ways as a face for the cultivated meat movement for many years, even prior to founding this company.
    Discussed in this episode
    This episode is the eighth in our multi-part podcast series on cultivated meat. The previous seven episodes include Avant Meats, BlueNalu, Eat Just, Fork & Good, Mosa Meat, New Harvest, and Aleph Farms.
    Our past episode with New Harvest founder Jason Matheny.
    A 2013 Washington Post obituary for electric vehicles.
    Nine states are now phasing out gas cars by 2035, and so are automakers like GM.
    Uma and Paul both endorse the work of the Good Food Institute.
    You can see a clip of Paul tasting UPSIDE Foods’ duck in 2017 here.
    Uma is profiled in Clean Meat, which has an updated 2024 paperback edition now out. 
    Tyson Foods pulled out of its investment in Beyond Meat.
    Paul couldn’t recall the exact name in the live interview, but he was referring to Potemkin villages in Russia.
    More about Uma Valeti
    Dr. Uma Valeti is the CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods. Uma earned a degree in Cardiology from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Pondicherry, India. After residencies at Wayne State and SUNY Buffalo, Uma completed three fellowships a

    • 55 min
    Fishing for Progress in Asia: Avant Meats

    Fishing for Progress in Asia: Avant Meats

    Asia is leading the world when it comes to semiconductors, solar panels, wind turbines, and other technologies critical for the future. In a time when several US states are seeking to ban the sale of cultivated meat, Asia seems to be leaning into the technology, and one of the most mature companies in the space there is Avant Meats. 
    Founded in Hong Kong in 2018 and having raised about $15 million USD to date, Avant Meats is focused on making a dent in Asian seafood demand. In this episode, Avant founder and CEO Carrie Chan discusses why her focus is seafood, what scale she’s at and where she hopes to soon go, and how long she thinks it will be before cultivated fish might reach one percent market share in Asia. 
    As you’ll hear in this conversation, Avant Meats is already animal component-free in its feedstock for its fish cells, and it’s cultivating inside a 250L bioreactor to generate the material for its public tastings. Now headquartered in Singapore, the company intends to grow there and eventually branch throughout Asia, a project for which it’s currently fundraising.
    Discussed in this episode
    This episode is the seventh in our multi-part podcast series on cultivated meat. The previous six episodes include BlueNalu, Eat Just, Fork & Good, Mosa Meat, New Harvest, and Aleph Farms.
    China alone consumers 65 million tons of seafood annually. 
    Carrie points to how China rapidly transformed the small fishing village of Shenzhen into a metropolis, and what relevance this has for cultivated meat scaling.
    More about Carrie Chan
    Carrie Chan is the co-founder and CEO of Avant Meats. She’s a seasoned business executive with a passion for the environment, particularly the impact of our food supply on the planet. With experiences in strategy and general management, she also managed major greenfield Capex projects from conception to revenue-generating operations. She is a Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst 2022 and holds an MBA from INSEAD.
    Carrie co-founded Avant with Dr Mario Chin in 2018 in Hong Kong, the first cultivated fish company in Asia, and expanded to Singapore in 2021. Avant’s technology offers a system to produce nutritious, tasty fish and functional proteins directly from fish cells at economically viable costs. The group’s end-to-end technology platform also allows continuous new product development from scratch to production.  
    Avant aims to be a global leader in producing traceable and sustainably cultivated proteins in a fully contained environment for food, skincare, and functional applications. Avant now has a presence in Singapore and Greater China. Avant has also been awarded Technology Pioneer and Global Innovator by the World Economic Forum and featured in Reuters, Financial Times, TIME, Forbes, The Telegraph, South China Morning Post, and CCTV. For more information, please visit www.avantmeats.com.
    At Avant, Carrie provides the vision, guides the strategy and supervises the implementation. 

    • 37 min
    Fishing for High-Margins in Cultivated Seafood: BlueNalu’s Path to Scale

    Fishing for High-Margins in Cultivated Seafood: BlueNalu’s Path to Scale

    BlueNalu is one of the better-funded companies when it comes to cultivated meat. Having raised more than $100 million, including about $35 million toward the end of 2023—a notoriously difficult time to fundraise—their founder and CEO Lou Cooperhouse is optimistic about their path to success.
    But as you’ll hear in this episode, Lou isn’t working to compete against the commodity meats like chicken, pork, and beef. Rather, he’s pursuing a strategy to compete against products that are exponentially higher-cost, like bluefin tuna, which can often sell for more than $100 a pound.
    In this conversation, Lou lays out his vision for a future BlueNalu factory with multiple 100,000 liter cultivators churning out some of the priciest oceanic delicacies. And because of this high price point, Lou thinks that his economic model is among the most attractive out there.
    We also talk about BlueNalu’s collaborations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and US, and what he thinks the biggest barriers to success are, and more.
    Discussed in this episode
    This episode is the sixth in our multi-part podcast series on cultivated meat. The previous five episodes include Eat Just, Fork & Good, Mosa Meat, New Harvest, and Aleph Farms.
    BlueNalu’s recent $33.5 million fundraise.
    Lou recommends reading Great by Choice and First, Break All the Rules
    Lou was a guest on the show more than four years ago in Episode 32!
    Lou is affiliated with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center.
    More about Lou Cooperhouse
    Lou Cooperhouse is recognized as a leading global authority in food business innovation and technology commercialization, with extensive leadership experiences throughout his 40-year career in the food industry.  He is a results-driven professional, and has led cross-functional teams in a wide array of industry settings that include: multinational corporations, foodservice and retail operations, new business startups, mid-sized and family-run companies, university entrepreneurship and innovation centers, and industry trade associations.   With his deep and diverse understanding of the food industry, Lou has spoken at hundreds of conferences throughout his career, specializing in food trends, disruptive technologies, and global best practices in business innovation and incubation.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
156 Ratings

156 Ratings

Rontu1997 ,

#1 podcast to understand the state of alternative proteins

What I love about the Business For Good Podcast is that Paul consistently asks the right questions to guests on the show, in a way that allows conversation around deeply complex topics in an understandable way. He goes beyond the flashy news headlines and speaks to people directly in the field who are pioneering these businesses. I especially love the laser focus on science-backed thinking and pragmatism/realism in every episode. Highly recommend.

Dlovitz ,

Love the Jonathan Berger episode!

This was one of my favorite interviews of the show! Can you imagine running a company when your country has been attacked and the CEO has to go to war? How do you continue at a competitive pace in a global market when the rest of your competitors don’t face the existential crises your company is facing? Jonathan Berger was so inspiring and the masterful Paul Shapiro asked thought-provoking questions. 5 out of 5.

Earnie90 ,

Great insights for free!

The insights I get from this podcast can’t be overstated. Thanks for putting it together !

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