Gen.T’s podcast Crazy Smart Asia explores the unexpected stories of Asia’s disruptors.
Twenty years ago, David Yeung became a vegetarian. He was mocked; his family asked him why. He had no idea it would change his life forever.
In 2012, he founded Green Monday, a social venture and advocacy organisation, to tackle the looming issues around climate change, food insecurity and public health. Even his closest friends doubted his business model.
A few years later, he created Green Common, a plant-based grocery store that now has 15 outlets across Asia, following it with the launch of OmniPork, now OmniFoods, which produces plant-based meat alternatives that focus on the tastes and demands of the Asian market.
Today, Green Monday is the leader in Asia’s rapidly growing alternative protein industry. In 2020, it raised US$70 million in its fourth fundraising round, the largest raise for an alt-protein startup in Asia to date, with celebrity investors including James Cameron, Mary McCartney and Susan Rockefeller.
Above all, the company is making good on David’s promise of tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the planet today. Needless to say, they’re not mocking now.
In a breathless conversation that covered so much ground, we discussed the difficult early days, the future of the alt-protein industry, and how he went from running a chain of grocery stores to creating a global food tech giant.
- Introduction from Gen.T’s regional managing director, Tamara Lamunière
- Quickfire questions (1m 50s)
- Turning a passion into a business (5m 10s)
- The decision to act (9m 10s)
- The next five years of plant-based innovation (10m 20s)
- This is just the beginning (14m 40s)
- From grocery stores to food tech (16m 50s)
- Using the stores to collect consumer data (19m 0s)
- The importance of planning and patience (20m 20s)
- Building a community and ecosystem (21m 20s)
- The early days were the hardest (22m 20s)
- Self-belief and perseverance (23m 40s)
- Interview with Lemuel Lee, BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s Head of Hong Kong Market, about the growth of the alternative protein industry in Asia (26m 20s)
- A rising tide lifts all ships (28m 50s)
- Don’t build a company to chase funding (31m 40s)
- The value of failure (35m 10s)
- Final thought (38m 20s)