A hype or THE future? In this event, we deep dive into the alternative protein landscape, as experts share their viewpoints on the trends and tech in this area. In this exciting event, we explore various facets of cultured meat, from serum-free media, to next-generation scaffolds, to seafood cell lines, to tissue engineering & meatcuts technology.
- Prof. Can Akcali, Chief science officer, Biftek.Co
- Vinayaka Srinivas, Co-Founder, GaiaFoods
- Mihir Pershad, Co-Founder & CEO, Umami Meats
- Shujian Ong, Co-founder & Director of Research and Development, Ants Innovate
Host & Moderator:
- Jie Ai Lim, Ecosystem Development, NUS Enterprise
- Matthew Zhao, Food Scientist at Big Idea Ventures
About the Distinguished Speakers:
Prof. Can Akcali is the chief science officer of Biftek INC that develops growth medium to make cultured meat affordable. He has a MD degree from Ankara University and PhD degree from University of Cincinnati, Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology. He worked as a professor in Bilkent University Molecular Biology and Genetics Department. Currently he is vice president in Stem Cell Institute in Ankara University. Prof. Akcali is the recipient of Novartis Science Award, Vehbi Koç Health Award, Gordon Research Conference Award. He is the author of many scientific papers and book chapters. He has been an advisor of numerous graduate students.
Vinayaka Srinivas (Vin) is the CEO & Co-Founder Gaia foods Vin’s mission is to help transition the world from producing and consuming butchered meat to a more sustainable, Clean and environmentally friendly cultured meat. Vin is a scientist by training and has over 10+ years of experience in stem and muscle cell research. He obtained his PhD in National University of Singapore and then went onto work in DUKE-NUS medical school to work on independent projects pertaining to muscle stem cell Biology.
Mihir Pershad is the Co-Founder & CEO of Umami Meats. A serial entrepreneur, Mihir Pershad has founded or scaled technology startups in the medical device, biotechnology, aquaculture, and education sectors. Pershad is currently the CEO of Umami Meats, a cultivated seafood startup, as well as Venture Partner at Early Charm Ventures, which partners with university professors to commercialize their innovations. Pershad has a passion for building businesses that create transformative global change. Pershad’s debut book Cultivated Abundance shows driven entrepreneurs how to maximize their impact on our world’s biggest problems.
Shujian Ong is the Co-founder & Director of Research and Development, Ants Innovate. He Shujian studied Life Sciences at the National University of Singapore and was an A*STAR scholar. He led a research team for 3 years and is now Co-founder and Director of Research and Development at Ants Innovate. He leads the development of key cultivated meat technologies to push the alternative meat industry towards the next generation of whole meat cuts.
Dr Matthew Zhao is the Food Scientist at Big Idea Ventures, a venture capital firm which invests in future food technologies in the alternative protein ecosystem. His technical expertise includes specialisation in post-harvest technology, food packaging and processing, and shelf-life evaluation. Under his guidance, several companies were successful in adopting innovative novel technology, solutions and processes to commercialise their product with better nutritional value, a stable shelf-life among other value-added functional properties. He holds a PhD in Food Technology from Massey University, New Zealand.
About NUS Enterprise: NUS Enterprise plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry partnerships for technology and commercialisation, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem building in new markets. As Asia’s Thought Leader for Innovation & Enterprise, it augments and complements the University’s academic programmes and acts as a unique bridge to industry well beyond Singapore’s shores.
About Big Idea Ventures: Big Idea Ventures is solving the world’s greatest challenges by supporting the best entrepreneurs. We’re a venture capital fund and startup accelerator investing in and accelerating top performers in the new food space. Our first fund, The New Protein Fund (size $50M), is investing in the most innovative companies working on plant-based foods/ingredients, food technology, and alternative proteins. We combine capital, partnerships, and mentorship to support and grow the world’s most compelling plant-based food and alternative protein companies.