Podcast #22 : Biftek Co-founder & CTO Erdem Erikçi speaks with Andrew D. Ive from Big Idea Ventures about high cost of cultured meat and how their low-cost growth media is helping make cultured meat viable.
FBS, meat, cells, fetal bovine serum, company, serum, growth factor, years, grow, growth, estimates, space, clean, produce, business, cost, singapore, terms, people, product
Erdem Erikci, Andrew D Ive
Andrew D Ive 00:01
Hi there, welcome to the Big Idea podcast focused on food. Today we’re talking to erden, who is one of the team members of Biftek a company from Turkey focused on the growth serum for cell based meat. And instead of using fetal bovine serum, they’re using a plant based ingredient. So interesting company, breaking barriers in the commercialization of cell based meat. So let’s hear about their journey. And let’s get into a conversation with Adam from Biftek. Thanks very much.
Andrew D Ive 00:52
Okay, Erdem, how are you?
Erdem Erikci 00:54
I’m fine. Thank you for having me. How are you?
Andrew D Ive 00:57
Very good. Welcome to the big idea podcast. We’re focused, as you know, on food, you guys are doing some really impressive things in the food space. I’m really glad to have you. Why don’t you tell us as a beginning, what Biftek is and what you guys are set up to accomplish?
Erdem Erikci 01:18
Sure. So Biftek is a company that operates in a limited space. We founded the company in 2018 it has been more than three years now. We are four co founders in our team. I am the CTO and I am responsible for the technical side of things. The design of the lab, design of the experiments, execution of the experiments, analysis of the data and so on.
Erdem Erikci 01:55
Then my brother’s Karem is the CEO. He is the business developer and also the one who communicates at the farm with other founders and investors. My ex biology teacher, who taught me biology in the university, John, actually is CSO so he’s also responsible for the scientific part of the company. He plans the experiments and develops the ideas.
Erdem Erikci 02:26
We have a CFO who is the brother of John so we have two sets of brothers in the company. It’s a brotherhood and he’s responsible for the cash flow in the company and the aim of the company is to develop medium supplements that can replace FDS which is one of the biggest obstacles in the industry meat production in terms of the use of it, because of it’s animal origin. It is produced from the serum of bovine so you have to kill the bovine to be able to use it so it contradicts the philosophy of clean meat. Therefore it must be replaced on the other hand, it is very expensive
Andrew D Ive 02:30
I’m gonna stop you for a second and bring you right back to the beginning for people who are sort of new to this space. Let’s kind of unpack each of these things like simply and you know there are people who are obviously very familiar with the space and now there’ll be sort of grinding their teeth a little that I’m asking you to do this, but clean meat step one, what is clean meat? keep just in a few sentences from your point of view. You say you are in the clean meat space what is clean meat?
Erdem Erikci 04:08
Right from my point of view clean meat is meat which is produced in an alternative way. it is animal free meat, but it is real meat, it is not fake it’s not plant based it is real meat but one that is produced outside of the body of an animal. So if you think about the production line, clean meat eliminates, filters out, the animal from the pipeline. So it can be defined in such a way in my opinion.
Andrew D Ive 04:53
Okay, so let me let me see if I’m hearing correctly. Clean meat Is meat at a cellular level. So in other words, if under a microscope, it would be, for example, identical to the meat that you would get from an animal but it is created outside of the animal in a different way. Different to them having a calf that grows over the next 18 months to two years that you feed with grain. You wouldn’t be putting antibiotics and all of the things that are used to make a cow grow. All of those things are taken out and it’s just taking the cells of an animal and replicating or growing the cells, correct?
Erdem Erikci 05:52
Yeah that’s correct. So there is no animal but in principle, what’s happening at the cellular level is that all the same normal cells divide, they differentiate, you harvest them all together, and then put it in a burger. So in principle, it’s all the same. But in terms of production, the way we produce it is completely different.
Andrew D Ive 06:22
Got it. Okay, so that’s the clean meat. That’s step one, you then mentioned that clean meat as it currently stands today, is using growth serum, I think you called it growth serum and that serum is used to make the cells duplicate, correct?
Erdem Erikci 06:45
Andrew D Ive 06:46
Awesome. The current industry standard for growth serum is fetal bovine serum. Okay, you started to explain what fetal bovine serum is, do you want to do that to help the people understand fetal bovine serum
Erdem Erikci 07:08
Alright. So, as the name implies, it is a serum, a blood serum, that is obtained from fetal bovine. How it is produced? Let me briefly explain. You take a pregnant cow and then you kill the cow, then you take out the calf and you suck the blood of the calf. The blood has portions. The portion that is made of red blood cells and a portion which is cell free, equals a serum. So, those portions are obtained by standard fusions and depending on the density and the mass of the ingredient of blood they can then be separated when you apply centrifugal force.
Erdem Erikci 08:08
When you remove the cells within the blood, what is left behind is a serum which is rich in growth factors. Proteins and hormones that cells need and calfs need while growing in the mother’s womb. So, that growth factor rich serum the mixture can also be used in cell culture laboratories to be able to keep the cells live as well as keep cells proliferating. Because cells need them they depend on them depend on those growth factors, those hormones without them they either don’t do anything, they just stay as they are or they commit suicide.
Erdem Erikci 09:03
To be able to keep them surviving and proliferating and growing you have to provide them with this growth factor rich mixture. So, this is definition of SPS and it is sold in half liter bottles which costs like the cheapest of it is $200 per bottle and it is diluted to be able to use on cells 10% 5% sometimes 20% dilution is used. But including meat production, there is no way of using it, it is not possible. Now you have to replace it with something else, with an alternative mixture. So they are trying to find this alternative
Andrew D Ive 10:03
Okay, so I use fetal bovine serum to make the cells grow. Typically it’s extracted after killing a cow and extracting the blood from the calf. Okay? You guys are creating an alternative to that. So basically a growth factor that will make cells reproduce. What made you decide I mean, I was gonna say what made you decide to do this, but I’m guessing it’s because fetal bovine serum is created in a way that involves slaughter, and also is probably quite expensive given the processes involved in creating it, are those the motivators or what’s driving Biftek to create an alternative growth factor?
Erdem Erikci 10:56
First of all, our backgrounds was the biggest driver. Members in our team have been working on this topic. So they had experience on feeding cells without SPS. They were investigating on our scientists already. I also used alternative mixtures to grow specific kinds of cells while I was doing my PhD. So I was already familiar with this with this field. On the other hand, we all realize that FBS is the biggest, I mean, the growth medium supplement is the biggest obstacle that had to be solved within the clean meat space.
Andrew D Ive 12:02
When you say the biggest obstacle, you mean from a cost perspective, or what dimension is making it a significant obstacle right now?
Erdem Erikci 12:12
Cost perspective? Yes. There are known ways of replacing FBS for example, you could produce the needed growth sectors, individually and specifically so by genetic modification, for example. There are available growth factors on the market that you can take off the shelf and use in your own culture. However, they’re also expensive. There are known ways and there’s a literature that reveals the needed growth factors. Still, in terms of cost, pay can’t be an alternative to FBS use. So we decided to use our previous knowledge to replace the growth factors that can be purchased off the shelf and FBS and drop the price significantly.
Andrew D Ive 13:27
Okay, how did you guys come up with the approach that you’re using today and how far away are you from proving your method is a strong alternative to fetal bovine serum FBS?
Erdem Erikci 13:54
Well, we had some experiences as I said. So liver already screening, screening, micro biomes. There’s metabolites and care, the effect of metabolites on cells and we have been screening some plant based solutions and then we realized that the Ssupernatants that we obtained from the microbiome of different animals can sustain living in cell cultures and can also induce the cells to proliferate.
Erdem Erikci 14:45
So we have some candidates that are promising candidates that decrease high amounts of those growth inducing factors to the environment that they grow in. And we have strides on primary cells as well as cell lines and we saw some growth and it can compete with FBS. I mean the data that we have shows us that the growth factors on all the time in the metabolites that is secreted from bacteria can induce the cell growth as much as FBS does.
Andrew D Ive 15:28
So it’s as effective as FBS?
Erdem Erikci 15:32
It is yes. First this is what we have seen, we are trying it in different conditions like in 3d in bio reactors, in higher quanstities, in different mediums, in different environments. So far we have tested on plastic dishes, which is a tip to the environment, but we are trying to optimize it for 3d, not only in bio reactors, but also in some sodium alginate kinds of environments that provide 3d environment to cells.
Erdem Erikci 16:15
Cells behave differently depending on the way they attach to the neighboring cells. So the response can be a bit different. And so, the concentration of the supplement that you use, the type of the supplements that you use might be changing, that’s why lots of optimization studies are required. So this is what we are doing. They are about to ship out, send some samples to two companies who are interested in using our samples. So it looks like in a couple of months, we will do our first shipments.
Andrew D Ive 17:02
Okay, so there was a lot in there. From an efficacy or sort of impact or usefulness perspective, you’ve been able to prove so far that your approach is as efficacious or as useful as fetal bovine serum. Right. The other so as far as usefulness is concerned, you’re proving that your approach works and has the impact it needs. What about from a cost perspective, you mentioned fetal bovine serum was expensive. It was one of the reasons why it was sort of slowing down the development of the clean meat category, how does the cost of your approach compare?
Erdem Erikci 17:54
Sure. The cost of our approach involves isolation of the bacteria which is quite cheap. And the medium that the bacteria is supposed to live in because the bacteria also needs a specific growth medium which is by the way is ML product free, it contains yeast extract, some vitamins and minerals. So there are no animal ingredients in this medium and costs like electricity and water you know, labor cost whatever. And then you sum them all up, we come up with a price like 10 liters at $10 per kilogram of meat. But you know, this is kind of calculated by making some approaches. So we have not, you know, designed the huge scaled up factor for it yet. But this is what the guess is going to be like it the cost of this supplement going to be like $10 per kilogram of meat.
Andrew D Ive 19:15
So your current estimates $10 per kilogram of meat how does that compare? For example to FBS? I don’t know what the price of that is.
Erdem Erikci 19:24
Yeah, as long as I know of, seven liters of seven liters of for example, the MDM, which is a growth medium is used for equilibrium of, of meat production. It could be seven to up to 20 as long as I remember. And the dilution of the FBS should be like 10%, at least sometimes 20%. So let’s say 10 litres of MDM is used. per kilogram of meat production, therefore 20% of dilution means 10 litres to two liters of FBS right. So, 20% of the total whole growth medium shorts v FBS sought for 10 liters of growth medium two liters show FBS cost $200 therefore, four of those bottles gonna be used, which makes $800.
Andrew D Ive 20:39
Okay, so $800 of FBS to create one kilogram of meat and for you guys, it’s approximately $10.
Erdem Erikci 20:52
Yeah, this is what we say, according to our calculations, we haven’t practiced it yet but this is what we foresee.
Andrew D Ive 21:03
Okay, let’s assume it’s half that you know, think of a number and half it, still significantly different, and potentially from my point of view opens up the whole clean meat category. Part of the challenge with clean meat or cell based meat has been the cost of the growth factor, which is obviously something you need to factor in, or include when determining the scalability. The second is the tech at the bio reactor constraints at size, right? These bio reactors are quite expensive.
Andrew D Ive 21:46
Sounds like you guys have potentially solved one of the toughest challenges in the clean meat space or the cell based meat space. You’ve said that these are calculations, they’re your estimates, how long will it be until you can actually know your absolute cost saving? And you said, you’ve already proven the efficacy of your product versus FBS? So that I guess was the first step. The second step I would imagine, is being able to prove the volume required, and therefore the costs, the specific costs versus FBS? Is that one month from today? Is that something that’s going to take about a month to solve? Is that something that’s going to take about a year to solve so that you understand the kind of cost structure How long is that from your point of view going to take
Erdem Erikci 22:45
So, according to our timeline, it will take about a year. So, I say a year because in one year we can know all we are looking for, design different designs of bio reactors, the one that fits best to us, we are going to make a purchase soon I think in amount we can buy the bioreactors then we are going to start the experiments to know the exact numbers. So, we will make probably at least 10 sessions of incubation which may take a couple of months. So we need to change the design and try or repeat everything from scratch. In one year’s time, we will know the exact numbers.
Andrew D Ive 24:04
Perfect, how long?
Erdem Erikci 24:06
One year, one year,
Andrew D Ive 24:09
Okay, so I fully understand well, fully understand is always a jump when you’re talking from a scientist to a non scientist, but I generally understand what you guys are doing and why you’re doing it. Obviously, I don’t know how because I’m sure that there are there’s trade secrets and things here. I understand you know, the drivers in terms of cost, etc. Let’s spend a little time now on building the company. How did you I mean, it sounds like you’re all brothers. I’m joking a little bit. It sounds like you’re all brothers, but how did you all sort of come together and decide that this was going to be something that you as a team would spend the next three to four years on? How did that spark start for Biftek?
Erdem Erikci 25:04
It’s a beautiful question and I am also glad to tell the story always. I was doing my PhD, I was like 25 years old 26 maybe something like that. I first started to read about agriculture and polyandry. And those are the times that I start to realize how cruel things are and then I start to question myself, I am eating meat, I am master vegetarian. so, but this is cruel, I start to question the ethical side of it, etc, then I got my PhD degree and came back to Turkey.
Erdem Erikci 25:50
My brother had already started a company that is focused on agriculture, digitalization in agriculture. The aim of the company was collecting data from many sources, and then we will have an intelligence to make the agricultural production more efficient. And I joined him, because he asked me to join since I have an academic background, I know how to write plans and made a real concrete contribution to the company.
Erdem Erikci 26:29
I started writing some plans and you know, attracting some money, then I started writing plans and by this time I was kind of hooked. Then we could not get separated. I joined him in 2014. In the meantime I was reading all about agriculture and I realized there had to be a better way. I mean the contribution of agriculture on climate change, and so forth. But I was always thinking that I am supposed to do something that is relevant to my background, which is molecular biology.
Erdem Erikci 26:35
Then those were the days that cultivated me It became an agenda, I started to see it in newspapers, on the news on TV in blogs then I started a discussion with my brother. I mean, can we do it? So I know how to manipulate cells, how to, you know, how to grow stem cells, how to differentiate them, and my brother knows how to develop business. He has lots of experience with business development, and also talking to investors.
Erdem Erikci 28:05
Then, one day, I had an appointment with my partner right now, but he used to be my ex biology teacher and I went his office and talked about the idea. I gave him a book as a present. Paul Shapiro’s book. I read that book in advance, and then I gave it to him as a present. He read it in a week, he got very excited and he called me. He saidnwe must do it, it is inevitable, we must, we must do it, there is no other option because he is the Vice President of stem cell Institute. All the required tools, infrastructure is always available and then he decided to establish the company.
Erdem Erikci 29:10
He also invited his brothers because his brother was about to retire from banks. He was quite, you know, good with money, so he could handle the money in a very professional way. Then we were all for the firm, the company, we got the first grant from states, we established our laboratories and separate laboratories separate from the institute’s that my partner’s, is right straightened off. And we start our first experiments, first research and development experiments then we managed to apply for a patent.
Erdem Erikci 29:50
Then a couple of months ago, before we applied for patents, we also got acceptance from Big Idea Ventures exploration program. So it was actually one of the most significant things that kept us on this track. And yeah, so far so good. We are still on the same track. And yeah, still working on the project. But we are developing.
Andrew D Ive 30:25
How long has that been now from the very beginning, from giving him the book from Shapiro sort of just saying, yep, this is absolutely inevitable for us. How long is that? Was that six month? 12 months? Three years? 10 years? Obviously not 10 years? Because Paul didn’t, didn’t write it within 10 years ago.
Erdem Erikci 30:53
Do you mean, the time it’s taken?
Andrew D Ive 30:56
I mean, how long has the company been going from the very beginning? How old is the company?
Erdem Erikci 31:01
So it has been three years, so three years old. So I can say since 2018? It’s here. Thank you. Thank you. So it is not easy to run a company with no revenue. That depends on the investment monies and we are hiring people. So you have to run things, right? Somehow.
Andrew D Ive 31:26
And given that you’re very science oriented company, how are you doing that? Is that through a combination of investments from companies like BIV, but also grants and things? Are you eating a lot of pot noodles and ramen and paying yourself small salaries? How are you? What’s the three years been like from a struggle perspective?
Erdem Erikci 31:49
Yeah, you get no salary for two years, I can say. So we had salaries that come from our other jobs. So as I said, we were running another company since 2014. So the verge compensated our expenses by the salary, but in the meantime, we spared our time for for research and developments that, you know, that can convince the investors that we are up to something. So it was like this for for two years. and state governments will grants there just enough to run those projects. For example, I mean, so this is a confession. Although I had a salary from that grant money, I got no money from that grant, I did not receive anything. The money that is supposed to be mine was all sent to consumables. I mean although it was my salary, I just spent it for consumables….
Andrew D Ive 33:15
Consumables explain to people that aren’t close to this category. So you took your money and what did you do with it?
Erdem Erikci 33:22
I bought stuff for laboratory. I can say
Andrew D Ive 33:27
Okay, test tubes and Bunsen burners.
Erdem Erikci 33:30
Definitely. Yes. That’s true and microscopes.
Andrew D Ive 33:35
Yes, of course, microscopes. So let’s talk about the business a little bit. It’s gonna take you a year, you mentioned, to be able to show the cost is potentially 80 times or 40 times less expensive than FBS. Who do you see buying your growth factor? And when do you think it will be available for sale?
Erdem Erikci 34:06
Yeah, there are many companies who are interested. We have already had lots of letters of intentions. Once we are ready, there are companies who are willing to buy. As soon as we declare we are ready to sell. So those companies are like, I mean, if I’m more concerned regarding making advertisements, I can tell their names.
Andrew D Ive 34:43
No, we’re interested in understanding where’s the business here? You know, you’re developing the growth factor which will be used to create a cell based meat, clean meat. It’s part of the reason why the industry is taking time to grow is because the component parts, including the growth factors are expensive, right? If you guys have figured out a way of taking the expense out of that process, it unlocks the whole category unlock the whole industry, what kind of companies? What do you see as being your first potential customers, and by all means, mention them, if they’re, if you think there’ll be comfortable with it, and they’ll be fine with it, then by all means, mention them.
Erdem Erikci 35:32
Alright, so the companies were was intending to produce the end product the meats could be the buyers. Last week, for example, I had a conversation with a German based company who are intending to produce units sell a life. So they are there, they’re intending to buy the technology. Maybe the serum itself, but they’re kind of interested in technology, they want us to demonstrate that our serum works, if it works, then fine. So they are going to use us as their suppliers, so we can have an agreement. So we are in commerce, we are in discussions with many companies from Singapore. So they are quite interested, they are all looking for solutions.
Andrew D Ive 36:28
And why Singapore in particular?
Erdem Erikci 36:32
So they’re very eager to hear that being the hub in the world. So I’m in their hub in terms of ultimate meat production. So now Singapore are the pioneers and in terms of lowering the production of it, I just read a news today. So it is going to be the scaled up. And the small scale production of just gonna be bigger in the following months. So Singapore has allowed them to make this scaling up. Then we had conversations with companies in other European countries. One from England, one from Belgium. So they don’t want to solve all the problems but they are mostly looking for solutions from other providers.
Andrew D Ive 37:49
Okay. Okay, so various companies in Singapore, some in Europe? Are these meat companies? Like do you see, for example, that the traditional meat companies are starting to take an interest in cell based or clean meat? Or is it more sort of early stage companies who are developing the technology.
Erdem Erikci 38:18
Both parties available so early stage startups, as well as advanced startups are in contact with us, they are quite interested in our solution. For example, the companies in Singapore are mostly intending to produce fish but the German based company is intending to produce shinies cells. So they are considering the role the local cuisine. Yeah, yes, yes.
Andrew D Ive 38:52
Perfect. Okay. You’ve mentioned that you guys are basically eating a lot of ramen noodles, and you’re not paying yourself for the first two years. You took your grant money, and you turned it into test tubes and Bunsen burners and the microscopes, not forgetting the microscopes. When do you, as a team, believe that this is going to be a business where you can sell product, create revenue, and actually, you know, not rely upon grants or investment as a way of building the business. And you know, maybe it’s five years from now, I don’t know but what do you guys estimate and what gives you a belief that that’s the time period for you know, turning this into a revenue generating business versus a grant or an investment business?
Erdem Erikci 39:55
As we see positive data and I’m very encouraged but then it’s going to be you know, revenue generating company. So, well, it depends on the buyers, so when the buyers are ready to produce we are supposed to be ready to sell. It also depends on the regulations So, before regulations meat producers wouldn’t like to invest in buying the serum. So, it depends on lots of parameters. But it is worth mentioning that since we are interested in some microbiomes and the metabolites of bacteria, there are some other potential products that are also concentrates.
Erdem Erikci 40:59
Like for example, post biotech that can be engraved in toothpaste or post biotechs or bacteria that prevents the decay of meats that’s could be inoculated within the packaging. So, we are also planning to initiate some research and development projects that are concentrating on those aspects even if the clean meatspace is not ready for exam in terms of regulations, or, you know, it might not have been scaled up yet. So, we could still generate some revenue.
Erdem Erikci 41:54
On the other hand, if we can grow cells without FBS or our solution could be sold to research groups and into academia, because academia is also dependent on on FBS and in regular cell cultures, laboratories are dependent on FBS. Research groups might also be interested in those alternatives. So, although we are kind of, you know, kind of dependent on the climate, climate sectors, we could somehow find a backup plan to generate some revenue before everything is in the markets.
Andrew D Ive 42:43
Okay, so there are other potential customers aside from the clean meat market. And part of the reason why you’re looking at that, by the sounds of it, is that the Clean meat market is still going to take a little bit of time to mature because the regulatory environment is not there. As a point of perspective, when the regulatory environment is there, in other words, when people are allowed to sell clean meat or cell based meat as a product, and people can go into a store and buy it or have it as an ingredient within a product.
Andrew D Ive 43:26
Are there estimates in your market for how big the cell based or the clean meat market could be? In the next five years is it a billion dollar market? Is it a multi billion dollar market? Is it more likely to be 10 years? Well, I guess there’s two ways of looking at that. What are the sort of the estimates that you’ve seen or you’ve read about? And what do you personally think the size is the potential size of the cell base or clean meat market over the next you know, five to 10 years?
Erdem Erikci 44:04
Yeah. So there’s a magic number that when this question is asked most vendors will answer in five years, it’s going to be like more than 50%. But there are reports that say by 2030. So if I am not wrong, if I am remembering correctly, 30% of the meats going to be clean meats, both plant based and also cultivated meats. 70% are not going to be conventional, beginning from 2030. By 2040, and 50. More than half gonna be clean meat. In my opinion, it’s going to be even earlier.
Erdem Erikci 44:53
Let me give you an example. The plant based meat stilloccupies less than 10% of the of the market, right? So correct me if I’m wrong, but it is already available in fast food chain restaurants in Turkey. A couple of days ago I ordered Burger King Roper, which is plant based burger patty. And it was at the stage in the Burger King scene in Turkey like a couple of months ago, I mean things are going so fast. So I saw the first itaste the first burger patty of impossible burger two years ago, but now I am consuming it already.
Erdem Erikci 45:46
And it’s been two years only. And the estimates are like in five years it’s going to be all around the world. But they’ve been three years. So I think it looks like things are going faster than the estimates and my personal guess is once the regulations spaces is all done ready and so companies as you know, ready to produce and sell it so it’s happening now in any year maximum in two years. They are going to see it in the restaurants in my opinion even in countries like Turkey so ….
Andrew D Ive 46:31
Two to three years you think cell based meat will be in restaurants
Erdem Erikci 46:37
Yeah this is a lot of what I guess
Andrew D Ive 46:40
And from your point of view where’s going to be the ….. obviously Singapore has deregulated and it allows cell based meat to be sold and consumed today. They went through the analysis, the scientists have taken a look at it and they believe that there’s no risk and this is a product that can be sold, and when you think about it because it’s at the molecular level or the cell level it’s identical to traditional meat so I don’t know why you would actually need to regulate or have a concern about the product. Obviously we can get into that if there’s a reason but aside from Singapore where do you think will be the first countries or regions that will be part of this shift over the next, in your opinion, to two or three years?
Erdem Erikci 47:36
As usual in my opinion, after Singapore, California is going to be the first spot in the world, yeah California then all the rounds USA but in the meantime Europe probably Holland first going to be selling the product then England. Once it is in Europe it will penetrate to Middle East easily. So it’s gonna be California then Europe will follow in my opinion. So it is always like that in terms of new technologies. So first it pops up in California then migrates to Europe and Middle East.
Andrew D Ive 48:28
All right, and if it’s available more pervasively over the next couple of years have you got a feel for size of market over the next two to three years or four years is this you know, is this a billion dollar opportunity should other companies be taking this very seriously or is it still very much a sort of a rare it’ll be in a few places in California we’ll be in a few places in you know Holland and other places. What size of market any view?
Erdem Erikci 49:08
I can’t make a precise estimation but I believe it’s going to be a billion dollar market. I am sure that today’s conventional meat producers gonna see a big opportunity dash in the meat producers in Turkey are having discussions with us already. So they are also seeing their portions here. So it will evolve relatively In my opinion, shorter than the levy and space.
Andrew D Ive 49:43
I’m doing this podcast in Paris and my dog just decided that he was going to start barking. Apologies. Okay. I I promised you that this would be a really short conversation and I know I’ve spent a lot more time than I anticipated, but it was just such a good conversation. So I really wanted to continue with it. Well, let me let me ask the question I usually ask around about the end.
Andrew D Ive 50:18
If you are, if someone listening is either a potential investor, or a potential advisor, or somebody who can make a difference to your business in some way, maybe it’s just as a consumer, at some point in the future, what’s the best way of them getting a hold of you and have of them getting a hold of Bifftek. And by the way, spell, if you wouldn’t mind spelling, any sort of social media links and things that you mentioned, so that people who are listening can slowly write down, you know, the details, and then follow up directly with you. So what’s the best way of somebody reaching out to you as an individual and also reaching out to Biftek.
Erdem Erikci 51:01
You can reach me on LinkedIn. I think this is the best and easiest way. Sure. I’m on LinkedIn. So I’m not a big fan of social media but LinkedIn is a business oriented social media, so reach me on LinkedIn, you can send email to email@example.com So we are always checking our emails, of course, any time
Andrew D Ive 51:27
Erdem Erikci 51:28
Yes, that’s C or Oh,
Andrew D Ive 51:32
okay, so firstname.lastname@example.org
Erdem Erikci 51:39
You’re right. My name is Erdem Erikci. I will be happy to discuss anything, any question that you might have in your mind. We are all open to, you know, good conversation.
Andrew D Ive 51:59
Perfect. And if somebody wants to just look at the website, see what you guys are up to best way of doing that is www.biftek.co And are you looking for more relationships with cell based or clean meat companies who are looking for serum or growth factor?
Erdem Erikci 52:22
Of course, of course, always. We are trying to understand the needs of the companies and we are making our plans accordingly. If companies would like to discuss about anything in this space we will be happy to initiate a talk.
Andrew D Ive 52:48
Perfect. Any last thoughts for anyone listening today, anything that you think I didn’t get a chance to ask you that you wanted to communicate?
Erdem Erikci 52:58
Well, I can say the companies who intend to mimic whatever happens in the body, gonna survive in the space, going to succeed, producing meats in any cheaper way because he should be always crosslinked the principles of biology, I mean, whatever happens in the cow should be somehow happening outside. There is a lot of knowledge available in literature’s that can guide us in that sense. We should be just asking the right questions and thinking in an open minded way. You should be kind of brave in terms of trying new things, we should never hesitate to try new ideas because one of those ideas, even if it is kind of underrated or underestimated, could be the real solution to a real problem. So, yeah, so this is the last thought again, so I can, you know, mention.
Andrew D Ive 54:37
I think that’s great and even though you’ve been using your own money to build the lab and you haven’t been paid a good salary over the last two years and so on, you would do it again. You would recommend it as a process for other entrepreneurs.
Erdem Erikci 54:51
I will definitely do it again. Because you know it’s kind of routine for an entrepreneur. Enterpreneurs are just triggered by a good idea and most of the time, they are not compensated in the first first couple of years but then if that idea is confirmed and validated by investors then I mean this is going to be your dream job that you already have.
Andrew D Ive 55:23
It sounds amazing, obviously, your wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, if you’re an entrepreneur has to be accepting of this lifestyle, you know, as long as they are.
Andrew D Ive 55:42
I really appreciate your time today, thank you for for spending as much time I really I mean, one thing I’ve never really managed to do with people in the cell based or clean meat space, is to get to such granularity in terms of where they think their business is going and where they think the industry is going. So it’s always very difficult to predict the future. Otherwise, we’d all be, you know, Empire emperors and kings and queens, and we’d all be worth billions of dollars.
Andrew D Ive 56:17
But I do appreciate you having such a close, you know, involvement in this space, giving some predictions of what’s going to be happening in the space. Interesting. I’ll look forward to seeing cell based meat in California, also in in Holland. And, you know, I’m really looking forward to a time when we can create great tasting meat without needing to create it on the back of a skeleton. That’s going to be an interesting time in our development as a species. Erdem, thank you so much. Really appreciate you. I’m going to press pause now and then I’ll be right back.
Andrew D Ive 57:11
Thanks for coming along to the podcast, Big Idea podcast focused on food. I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Erdem from Biftek. Please do like and subscribe that way we’ll give you updates every week when we have new podcasts. If you’ve got people you think we should be speaking with, please do reach out or add a comment below. You know, ultimately, these podcasts are here to serve you and the broader community. If you want to reach out to me, I’m on LinkedIn, Andrew D Ive and big idea ventures. And also you can find me at Big Idea ventures.com.
Andrew D Ive 57:49
We focus on investing in great companies who are changing the world, specifically at this point on the food category. So reach out, look forward to hearing from you. Thanks very much.