7 episodes

Mike Betts from the Food and Agriculture Innovators Podcast and formerly Investment Director at AgFunder sits down to interview entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders from around the world building technology innovation to sustainably and profitably improve the global food system. Discover untold stories about how companies have been built, technologies on the horizon, where investors are seeing opportunities, and the challenges and opportunities abundant today as we work to feed the growing population. You can get full show notes for all episodes at: foodaginnovators.com/podcasts.

Food & Agriculture Innovators Mike Betts

    • Technology
    • 4.9, 19 Ratings

Mike Betts from the Food and Agriculture Innovators Podcast and formerly Investment Director at AgFunder sits down to interview entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders from around the world building technology innovation to sustainably and profitably improve the global food system. Discover untold stories about how companies have been built, technologies on the horizon, where investors are seeing opportunities, and the challenges and opportunities abundant today as we work to feed the growing population. You can get full show notes for all episodes at: foodaginnovators.com/podcasts.

    7: Less Sugar, More Protein Using Mushroom Technology - Alan Hahn of MycoTechnology

    7: Less Sugar, More Protein Using Mushroom Technology - Alan Hahn of MycoTechnology

    Alan Hahn is the co-founder and CEO of MycoTechnology, a food ingredient technology company. The company creates fungi-based powders using a proprietary fermentation process. Their product line today includes a taste modulating powder called ClearTasteTM and a protein powder called PureTasteTM. They've also shown the ability to remove toxins in foods and are working through "probably a lifetime of ideas" in using fungi to improve food. The big wins today though are that their ClearTasteTM product allows food manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar they use in foods without sacrificing taste. Approved in over 70 countries, you may have eaten food with their powder in it (you wouldn't know). And their protein is vegan, allergen friendly, non-GMO, highly sustainable and has minimal taste and aroma - making it a useful ingredient for companies making meat alternative foods. Having just raised $42 million in funding in their Series B funding round, MycoTechnology is just getting started.
    Get the full show notes here.
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes or Apple Podcasts. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people to find the show, it only takes a minute. We really appreciate it.
    In this interview, we cover:
    [4:15] The technology using fungi [6:56] You may already be eating MycoTechnology’s mushrooms [9:35] The company’s new Protein PureTasteTM [13:41] What protein is this replacing? [21:25] How MycoTechnology got started [26:09] “Probably a lifetime of ideas” to work on [27:49] Challenges in building and scaling MycoTechnology [33:02] Biggest Surprises in building in the Food Industry and Fundraising [36:18] Advice for startups Thanks for listening, don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And check out all the shows on the website here, foodaginnovators.com.

    • 39 min
    6: Making Healthier Sugars Tagatose and Allulose - Ed Rogers of Bonumose

    6: Making Healthier Sugars Tagatose and Allulose - Ed Rogers of Bonumose

    Ed Rogers is the co-founder and CEO of Bonumose, a food ingredient technology company. The company’s patented process was invented by co-founder Dr. Dan Wichelecki and utilizes combinations of natural enzymes to convert plant-based raw materials into low cost, “good sugars” tagatose and allulose, that aim to mimic sucrose (or table sugar) and come with a host of claimed beneficial properties.
    Get the full show notes here.
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes or Apple Podcasts. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people to find the show, it only takes a minute. We really appreciate it.
    In this interview, we cover:
    [1:44] What are tagatose and allulose? [14:24] Clinical research behind these sugars. [16:40] How Tagatose and Allulose are made today at a high cost versus Bonumose’s use of enzymes to reduce the cost by more than 10x. [22:18] How Bonumose got started, and the IP behind the company. [34:13] What is needed to scale get broad scale adoption of these novel sugars. [41:45] The case for sustainability in producing sugars this way. [46:56] The suprising thing about food and beverage companies and their lack of confidence in consumers. Thanks for listening, don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And check out all the shows on the website here, foodaginnovators.com.

    • 53 min
    5: Climate Change Fighting Fungi and Empowering Smallholder Farmers - Rusty Rodriguez of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies

    5: Climate Change Fighting Fungi and Empowering Smallholder Farmers - Rusty Rodriguez of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies

    Dr. Rusty Rodriguez is the CEO of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (AST), an ag biotech company that has developed microbial solutions that enable plants to battle climate and environmental stress, increasing crop quality and yields. These stressors include drought, temperature stress and salty soils, to name a few. The company is selling to both commodity crop farmers and smallholder "monsoon" farmers in the absolute worst of drought conditions in India. These farmers have been able to increase crop yields with incredible results to date. In a world of increasing climate and environmental stress, this is a revolutionary technology. The company has raised more than $4 million in private funding, and received a number of grants including USAID’s Securing Water For Food Grand Challenge.
    Get the full show notes here.
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people to find the show, it only takes a minute. We really appreciate it.
    In this interview, we cover:
    [2:10] What in the heck is a fungal endophyte? [2:50] The problems that AST is solving and how their products work. [6:39] Moving from the lab to commercialization [13:47] How a nerdy discussion in a bar led to research in Yellowstone National Park and ultimately the company AST. [18:42] How Rusty and the team funded their research along the way, through to starting a company. [22:41] Raising a $3.4 million Series A from Australian strategic investor and agricultural producer Twynam Group. [24:13] Options for combatting drought, and precious water as “the most important thing of our lifetimes”. [27:22] Selling to commodity crop farmers – corn, soy, organic certifications. [30:54] Biological vs synthetic chemical crop inputs explained. [33:51] AST approach versus Indigo Agriculture that’s raised over $100 million. Two pioneering companies using fungal endophytes, two different approaches going to market. [38:48] The work AST is doing in India to bring its technology to smallholder farmers in India. [40:55] The logistics of distributing agricultural products in India and effective communication through hand singals. Seeing 29-53% yield increases. [46:53] Debunking the myth and perception of how it’s very difficult to bring new technology to smallholder farmers, and how the smallholder farmers came up with pricing that was mutually acceptable to the farmers and AST. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people to find the show, it only takes a minute. We really appreciate it.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    4: Ranching in the Ocean with Phil Cruver of Catalina Sea Ranch, a shellfish aquaculture company

    4: Ranching in the Ocean with Phil Cruver of Catalina Sea Ranch, a shellfish aquaculture company

    Phil Cruver is the Founder and CEO of Catalina Sea Ranch (CSR), which owns the first offshore aquaculture facility in U.S. federal waters. This was a fascinating conversation as Phil tells the story of how he had to essentially build a new industry in the U.S. We cover a lot of ground in this interview. And when it comes to raising funding for a startup with grand ambitions like CSR, he has some wisdom from the 6 companies he’s started on how to allocate equity in the early stages of a company.
    Get the full show notes here.
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people to find the show, it only takes a minute. We really appreciate it.
    In this interview, we cover:
    [4:05] Introduction to the state of the U.S. seafood trade and offshore aquaculture. Spoiler: The U.S. currently imports about 91% of all its seafood, producing a $14 billion seafood trade deficit. [8:40] Why you don’t see any offshore aquaculture in the U.S., or much aquaculture at all really. [12:50] Risks and process for testing for bacteria and biotoxins in aquaculture and shellfish. [27:19] The birth of CSR and how Phil hit the jackpot discovering that you didn’t need to lease federal waters, only to get held up on fundraising and State and local regulatory issues. [31:45] Fundraising Part 1: Raising capital in aquaculture [34:26] Fundraising Part 2: Strategic round and one of the smartest decisions Phil made in getting the big distribution players involved and on the Board. [38:19] Advice: Spread around the wealth in the early days. [41:07] Technology Part 1: Technology used to farm in the ocean. [44:15] Technology Part 2: Tracking everything, monitoring in real time, technology used, scientists involved. [48:47] Technology Part 3: $1 million NOMAD buoy, Ocean Internet of ThingsTM. Technology off-the-shelf vs rolling their own tech. [51:57] R&D: Competitive research contracts with USDA and NOAA. [58:45] Platform building, potential of genomics. [1:02:26] The untapped potential of breeding in shellfish. [1:04:04] Technology Part 4: Underwater drones: Blue Robotics. [1:07:24] Where CSR is selling today, first harvest, branding. [1:12:11] Advice for entrepreneurs. [1:13:33] What’s surprised Phil the most building in aquaculture.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    3: Predicting Crop Yields, Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning with David Potere of TellusLabs

    3: Predicting Crop Yields, Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning with David Potere of TellusLabs

    David Potere is Co-founder and CEO of TellusLabs, a company that combines decades of satellite imagery with machine learning to predict crop yields and help its customers, which range from farmer to hedge fund manager.
    Get the full show notes at here.
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app. Support us by leaving a review on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio. Reviews really help the show grow and allow other people find the show, it only takes a minute.
    We cover:
    [02:55] Humble beginnings in satellite imagery from the Navy to Boston Consulting Group. [09:34] The range of problems TellusLabs is solving for its customers. [17:01] TellusLabs products Kernel vs Argus [19:01] Why satellite imagery now. [22:43] Training models with decades of satellite imagery data, discussion of imagery quality. [29:49] USDA approach to forecasting and how TellusLabs differs. [33:40] How approach to yield forecasting in U.S. differs from other countries. [35:11] Yield forecasting in Brazil and LatAm. [40:36] More on how customers are using these solutions, from hedge funds to farmers. [51:52] Market size vs market potential for satellite imagery solutions. [55:36] Lessons learned building TellusLabs. [58:13] Boston startup ecosystem, distributed teams, startup accelerators.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    2: Investing in Brazilian AgTech with Francisco Jardim of SP Ventures

    2: Investing in Brazilian AgTech with Francisco Jardim of SP Ventures

     
    Francisco Jardim is Co-founder and Managing Director of venture capital firm, SP Ventures. In the interview we discuss how his firm is capitalizing on the opportunity of agriculture technology investing in Brazil.
    Get the full show notes here. 
    If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on any podcast app, drop us a review or send us a message / subscribe to the newsletter at foodaginnovators.com.
    In this interview, we cover:
    [14:25] History of venture capital in Brazil and why SP Ventures is one of the few investing in agriculture technology investing in Brazil? [19:08] Regulatory, entrepreneurship and investing in Brazil. The Good and the Bad. [25:17] What to look for in founding teams of agtech companies. [43:57] How to approach fundraising strategy when it comes to his portfolio companies. [48:43] SP Ventures involved in building new accelerator program Pulse in Brazil for agtech startups.

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Tosha :o)! ,

Amazing and Incredibly Important Topic :o)

This is some good information and insight into such an important part of life that we don't always think of or see, so informative and captivating.

RaySharing ,

Unique Topics @ Intersection of Ag, Tech, and Food

Great for anyone interested in agriculture, technology, or food. Mike does a great job of finding industry thought leaders and then creating an engaging, thoughtful, and fun environment for discussion. Keep it up!

AngieBrown26 ,

Great information!

Super interesting information about food and agriculture and how it affects all of us and our food supply today.

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