Podcast #31 Paul Bartels, Co-Founder & CEO of Mogale Meat, speaks with Andrew D. Ive from Big Idea Ventures about his company that are developing real meat products from South Africas wild antelope, poultry and free roaming cattle species.

Big Idea Ventures has launched our very own podcast “The Big Idea Podcast: Food”. Each week Big Idea Ventures Founder Andrew D. Ive will speak with some of the most innovative minds in the food space and talk about the exciting projects they are a part of. 

To listen to the episode click the links below!

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

meat, game, south africa, africa, meats, species, biodiversity, beef, point, wildlife, animals, europe, cell, people, instance, conservation, eating, big, singapore, high end restaurants

SPEAKERS

Andrew D Ive, Paul Bartels

 

Andrew D Ive  

Hi there, this is Andrew Ive from the Big Idea podcast where we focus on food. Today we’re going to be talking to Paul Bartels. Paul is the CEO of Mogale Meats from South Africa, focused on cell based technology and antelope and other game meats. Really interesting conversation. Love to hear what your thoughts are after listening to it. Let’s get into it. Thanks very much for coming along to the Big Idea. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Paul, welcome to the Big Idea podcast where we focus on food. How are you today? 

 

Paul Bartels  

I’m very well and yourself, Andrew. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Very well, sir. You look healthy and you’ve got a little bit of an antelope in the background on the wall, so that might be a clue for people listening today as to where you’re calling from. Why don’t you tell us a bit about Paul Bartels and Mogale Meats?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yes. Well, welcome. Mogale Meat Company we’re the first cultivated beef and game meat company in Africa. We chose game meats because, as opposed to venison, which, basically comes from your deer species, game species, we’ve got a lot of variety of species in Africa and of course, it’s eaten widely in Africa. We have the most unique tastes and flavors. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So the idea when this whole idea of cultivated meat came up, and obviously, over the last two or three years we had been following developments and saw this development and decided a year ago that we really got to get into this because there are all these advantages. So yes, we chose game meat. Another name for it is wild meat and they’re very similar to, to beef to your ruminant livestock species. But at the same time, we wanted to keep the beef story going, because we know, the advantage for the planet is so tremendous.  We’ve got to play a major role as possible going forward. Also, from a conservation point of view, because, again, we’ve got situations in Africa that we want to address with cultivated meat.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Wow, there’s so much in there. There’s so much for us to unpack as part of this discussion. So you’re the first cell based or cultured meat company in Africa.

 

Andrew D Ive  

There are conservation reasons why what you’re doing is important. Also, from a food protein perspective in Africa, game meat is a large percentage of the meat that’s eaten in the country.So focusing in on game meat versus typical pork, beef excetera chicken approach, is what’s necessary for the kind of consumption patterns in Africa.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Let’s let’s kind of go down each of these rabbit holes, individually. Conservation, how does cell based meat or cultured meat work to support conservation in Africa?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, good question. So, I trained as a veterinarian and I’ve always been focused on wildlife. So how can you as a veterinarian, save individual animals and of course, that’s what you do. You work with individual animals and from that, I developed a biobank of tissue, because, again, how do you make a bigger contribution? Well, you’re not just working with individual species you’re collecting from a number of species on many occasions, you’re working with other institutions, both as biobank and while you’ve got this whole Tissue Bank, which then can play a role in genetic studies, reproductive studies, etc, etc. So that there was kind of my history over the last 30 to 40 odd years. 

 

Paul Bartels  

But then, when I learned about cultivated meat, it occurred to me that wow, it was an even bigger opportunity, because you’re tackling it from the other side, you’re tackling it from what are people eating daily and by getting into that, it occurred to us that here we had this massive opportunity to not just save individual species or play with one or two populations, through biobanking, but rather really get to a point where one can actually make a much bigger contrabution.

 

Again, what better way to do it than through our stomachs. Because if we’re able to produce this meat, we’re able to like all the other advantages that we have with cultivated meat, in other words, less greenhouse gas emissions, less water use, because we’re a water deficient country. So we’ve plowed up everything we can plow up. A lot of people don’t realize that about South Africa.

 

Paul Bartels  

A lot of development has taken place already. So we’re at a point where water deficiency is a problem. We actually had the town of Cape Town, go to what was called de zero, where they ran out of water, they just ran out of water, a huge city. So we have all those typical western identify, well, not just Western global identified problems, just in our country here. 

 

Paul Bartels  

And so from a conservation point of view, how can we keep those areas wild, keep the wildlife in those areas, the game ranching fraternity, or what we call wildlife ranching, keep them going, in other words, as an additional income source besides tourism, and ecotourism, which of course, is now depressed because of COVID. So here was another method to keep the wildlife ranching and the nature conservation, or lentils shall we say, let them play a much larger role in nutrition, and more specifically, animal protein supply to the population and make sure that we tackling the livestock production, or lessening the reliance on livestock production for animal protein. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So

 

Andrew D Ive  

In countries outside of Africa, we’ve obviously domesticated the chicken, the cow, the sheep, the pig, etc. I’m getting the feeling from or I’m getting the impression from talking to you that in Africa game meat is I mean, what percentage at this point is game meat from a protein consumption in South Africa and other countries? Do you have a feel for that at this point?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yes, well, the further north you go, the larger the role. So if you’re looking at countries like Congo and Angola, those countries, let’s say across the tropics, they actually call it bushmeat, which plays a huge role in nutrition, animal nnutrition for people. And certainly two to three decades ago, it wasn’t a big issue, because of the population size. But there’s been a lot of Intrapreneurs and you can imagine even in game parks, there’s been roads that have been carved into the forests into these reserves, simply so that people can get their supply chain of animal protein, so it’s a really big problem in Central Africa.

 

Paul Bartels  

 A whole lot of species, mostly your antelope species, and then monkeys and even chimpanzees, etc. As you move further south and you get to the Southern African countries like South Africa and Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana it’s become more organized but well in a better way shall we say in the sense that wildlife ranching has allowed the natural area to expand a hell of a lot larger than what the national parks do. So by having a Wildlife Ranch you are looking at a whole spectrum of biodiversity but of course one of income streams from that is game meat. 

 

Paul Bartels  

This game meet, this eco tourism, this day visitors etc. So in this part of the world, it’s become organized in that way. So that, and again a lot of South Africans eat game meat because they can. There are ranches that have an oversupply of game species. The animals don’t go to in trucks to abatoires like beef and pork. The animals live a much more natural life for a pretty long time until the bad couple of seconds of their life when they get shot for meat.

 

Paul Bartels  

Obviously we know beef, pork and chickens is a completely different story. It’s factory farming. It’s hectic from an animal welfare point of view, it’s  unacceptable. So at least with game or wildlife ranching, the animal has a bit of a chance, shall we say, until the last day.

 

Andrew D Ive  

I can still sort of hear that the people listening to this who are, you know, very focused on animal welfare, not necessarily appreciating the nuance of, of what you’re discussing. No, but I mean, I totally appreciate it. One is factory farming, you know, small spaces not necessarily having the space, the light, the access to a kind of a living standard. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Whereas if you’re in a game park, where you may get hunted at some point in your life, but ultimately, it’s a more natural existence, saying that how does your activity as Mogale Meats and cell based / cultured meat change the story? What can you do? How can you improve both the life of those existing animals? And also from a conservation perspective? How does Mogale Meats and what you’re trying to accomplish change the story?

 

Paul Bartels  

Okay, so there’s this two, shall we say, channels of answers to that. The first is, obviously, from a beef point of view, there would be less animals on the range, you would take a biopsy from a calf that calf can live its full life, and you’ve got to meet and very similar to typically how we have in Western countries, that whole channel how cultivated meat for us more specifically from beef can play a role there. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So export, South Africa is an export country and we can play around the other way that this export can continue if we do cultivated meat, because of the fact that we also have issues with endemic diseases like foot and mouth disease. So for instance, the EU shut down exportation of beef from South Africa in 2010, because of the outbreak, so we believe that we can get past such shutdowns by using cultivated meat. And so it’s good for the animal, because you’ve just taken a small biopsy from the animal, or you’ve produced cell lines that can produce the same quality, texture, flavor taste of that particular, let’s say beef breed. So we’ve got a whole bunch of beef breeds that we can do that with.

 

Paul Bartels  

Similarly, we’ve taken samples from young animals, so the animals still can live its full life. In a photographic and ecotourism type of setup. You don’t have to provide more and more land, be it for beef, be it even for conservation, there’s a lot of I think we’ve got almost 10% of our country is already classified for conservation, together with the game, wildlife ranching fraternity. So what we really need to do is tackle it from the point of view that the less maze is going to be planted, less land is going to be plowed, it’s going to then support the nature conservation, the National Parks and Wildlife ranching fraternity, by not having this pressure on that land to be plowed to be transformed into something else. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So this is going to be maybe, I mean, I’ve even heard comments from people in the states and various other places where they say, Well, there’s a lot of this land, we can’t do anything with. So we’re going to just run beef on it. And we say, well, your kind of right because there’s there’s less water needed, etc. You ranching your beef, but what about wildlife? So instead of having this land not doing anything, or not producing something, you producing a whole ecosystem of biodiversity, you providing nutrition for the population, and you are writing income for the people that are managing these, these pieces of land.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, and how much of the dynamic of actually going into a game park and shooting capturing whatever the winner whatever they actually do at the end of the day, is part of the equation or if it’s just about the game meat and if you can create that game meat using cell based technology and provide it to you know, to them as a protein source. You actually alleviate the pressure on those gamesparks 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Or do you actually do away with or does that get rid of the game parks in a sense, because there’s no longer a requirement to go and hunt the meat? It’s kind of an interesting interplay of lots of different things here and I’m trying to figure out how it all works together. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah.

 

Paul Bartels  

So yeah, good question. Again, the approach is that a game park has very little income or links. So we said, only the big parks like, for instance, our Kruger National Park, we might have 90 different parks in South Africa, but it’s only really Kruger through ecotourism. And in many cases, foreign tourists, that really makes a profit for the other game parks. So you need to look at how else can you can you generate income for these, these even these smaller parks that have these different species. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So it’s not a case of getting rid of the parks, it’s a case of actually supporting it, because now that piece of land is used in such a way that we can keep our populations diverse, keep the biodiversity and the genetic diversity going, because that’s very important. 

 

Paul Bartels  

We need large populations to keep genetic diversity going and I think from the West, we need to realize that in Africa, there’s a different dynamic, they were eating meat, it’s a meat consuming continent. So in order to move in a direction that’s going to be sustainable, we need to be moving into something like cultivated meat, it’s absolutely critical that we do do that. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Obviously, things like education is going to play a huge role, we’re going to have to do a lot more of that. But there’s also this export market. So for instance, New Zealand and Australia, export a lot of deer, fresh deer meat to Europe, and pre independence, South Africa, we used to channel that, actually through New Zealand and Australia, and be known to Europe or maybe known to Europe. But now that there’s this, we have a democracy in South Africa, we’ve had to create our own markets, and this has now been shut because of because of endemic diseases, etc. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So yeah, we must understand that, it’s going to be quite a journey, to get to the point where we are contributing to animal protein for the people of Africa. And the way to get the UN as we see it is we need to obviously grab the low hanging fruits, which is the international market, which is the high end restaurants, and then to develop the IP around that related to our game or wild animal species going forward. So the market is there.

 

Paul Bartels  

It’s about $1.6 trillion, the venison market and obviously, what we really want to do is penetrate the red meat market using game meat. So here we’re having animals, we are keeping them in the wild, we are keeping that land for wild species for genetic diversity, and yet we’re eating them. And so we’re generating another income stream along that way. So that’s the philosophy behind our approach and the ecosystem that we want to develop within southern Africa. So we’ve already got two universities that are very interested in this whole concept and they are now actually starting to conduct research in that area. So very much like UCL Davis, Prince York Times and various other universities. So we want to also be supportive of that, because we have to develop a pipeline of talent as well coming into the industry. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. So now let’s talk a little bit about Mogale Meats in particular. You said if we can do this, where are you in terms of proof of concept, you know, showing that this is an absolute POS, eventual outcome? Tell us a bit more about the company so we can get a feel for how far you are on the journey and where you still have to go. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Sure. So we’re in new startup, we only registered at the end of 2020. So that’s about this time last year.

 

Paul Bartels  

We put a lot of equipment together. We’ve got a lab setup. We’ve got and then because of my history with biobanking and creating South Africa’s national biobank, which is now at sambia South African National Biodiversity Institute, where a lot of tissue was collected and banked, including cell culture. So, we come with a history of cell culture and we put this project together and from there we started in about April, May this year to collect samples from various species. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So we currently have 10 species it might even be 11 now, and then using biopsies separated the cells out so we’ve got lines of adipose tissue or mesenchymal stem cells, we’ve got myoblasts, and we got fibroblasts all running in parallel, and then banked into a master bank. So we built up over 700 isolations already, so that’s our basic 2d production and more recently, we’ve gone over to benchtop bio 3d production or bioreactor benchtop bioreactor production. At the same time, we had to do some parallel work with some scaffolding. So the idea being that we get to a hybrid product. Well, first of all, there’s patties, for instance. So then we can use your general cells and obviously scaling that up. So we are busy with some scaled up studies as we speak, so that we can get our numbers up.

 

Paul Bartels  

And so from that, we’re going to look at, for instance, first of all your thin cut meats, so like your Springbok, kabocha, which is only a millimeter thick, similar to your beef, smoked beef slices, etc. So we’re in some discussions with, with some shifts here in South Africa, also kitchen and so we will be dealing with that by February this year, because I’m not sure if I mentioned that. We’re the only team from Africa, we entered the XPrize feed the next billion. So we were the only team selected from Africa. 

 

Paul Bartels  

And yes, we unfortunately had to choose what fortunately, unfortunately had to choose chicken, because they gave it choice of fish or chicken. And we want to add some of our wildlife bird species, like for instance, the ostrich, but they said no. But anyway, we gave flat out with that too. Fortunately, we can run parallel processes with chicken as well, so that we can get to the finals, which is in this time next year, where 10 teams will be chosen out of the current 28 teams that are on the team. 

 

Paul Bartels  

But we using that to actually speed up our processes, because we obviously under quite a lot of pressure as we speak and so there’s a lot of running around at the moment, we’ve got a whole bunch of incubators running with lots of different species growing nicely. So we are very excited about some of the wildlife species because there’s some cells that are growing absolutely, tremendously, unexpectedly. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So, you know, that’s basically part of our IP that we are busy developing. So yes, again, we’re as we have to admit, we’re a young startup, but we’ve got some very, very motivated staff. And, actually volunteers that are working with us. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Now, you mentioned you’ve collected 11 or 12. biopsies from different animals, different samples. You also took us through for example, the first product, which is the carpacio concept, is there an 80/20 here, were certain breeds, certain animals from a game meat protein perspective, is the equivalent of the the American burger, like is there an animal breed and an animal and a product which is 80% of the volume and thereby, if you can focus in on that particular breed or that particular product you’re covering a lot of the demand. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, there is. So when South Africa was was doing a lot of export in the past, the species that was certainly the one that was sought after in Europe, more specifically, France and Germany, was the Springbok. 

 

Paul Bartels  

I haven’t got the exact figures but pre 2010 there was really good export. And in fact, we can process and export. And in fact it is estimated that we are only meeting 10% of the demand of processed game meat export to Europe. So we are also exporting a lot of beef, for instance, to the Middle East. But again, coming back to the venison, there is this market already. 

 

Paul Bartels  

What we really want to do, from a regulatory point of view is, obviously, with cultivated meat, we’ve got more time points where we can do a lot more testing. So we want to be able to prove to the European authorities that they should open the export of game meat again to South Africa, based on the fact that it’s going to be coming from cultivated meat. So yeah, specifically that species Springbok is one of the very popular species but remembering that in the past, it was simply called venison now, and a lot of Springbok was added to the D SPCs. 

 

Paul Bartels  

That was coming from New Zealand and in fact, it was the Springbok that was more popular. So venison, which we now call game meat. So again, we feel that there’s a great marketing opportunity going forward to hit the European market. Again, our high end restaurants here, obviously, in South Africa, very similar, there’s a lot of game meat that is eaten in South Africa. So we are planning for mid next year towards the end of next year, or the early the following year to have a product in some high end restaurants in South Africa, obviously, South Africa is going to be our first target, we have a person working on the regulatory issues. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Typically we follow the FDA USDA regulatory issues. So we following that very carefully. But at the same time, we’ve got the regulatory pathway that was used in Singapore, for instance. So we making sure that we we addressing a number of issues going forward related to that. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, let’s kind of cover that off very quickly. So one you’ve mentioned being shipping originally shipping meat or that your as a country shipping meat, a Springbok, venison, etc. Gain meat via New Zealand and other places to Europe. Because of challenges in terms of disease and other things that stopped your sort of premis is cell based meat cultured meat will be able to resurrect that because it’s not got, you know, the potential for contamination, disease, etc. It’s a cleaner way of providing the same protein.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Europe, as as we both know, is is not allowing cell based meat for consumption for human consumption at this point, right. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Right. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

So there’s a couple of things that need to happen here. One is you need to scale your business, two you need to get Europe keen on the idea of buying the product from a cell based perspective and then lastly, we kind of need Europe to open the floodgates and allow cell based meat to be sold for human consumption.

 

Andrew D Ive  

And then maybe follow up with, you know, where are you? Where are you thinking Europe is going from a regulatory environment perspective. So first, what’s the regulatory environment for cell based meat in Africa? 

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, so of course, it’s all new in South Africa, just like many other countries, and hence we we have one of our advisors who has worked on game meat export to Europe, for instance, what is open is if you have a quarantine type situation on a Wildlife Ranch, then you can get regulatory approval to export that meat. Now we’re talking about fresh meat we’re talking about slaughtered game meat. So that pathway is there. So obviously, we need to wait for the issues related to Europe to catch up and we’re hoping that the cultivated meat companies that are based in Europe are going to be pushing from that side.

 

Paul Bartels  

From our South African side we’ve decided to tackle it from the point of view of what can we help right now, because if you wait for regulatory people to do that work, it’s a never ending wait. So what we did was we started on that with our consultant who is part of our team, because she’s been working on regulatory issues of fresh meat to Europe, through that quarantine type setup. 

 

Paul Bartels  

The idea is that we will have some paperwork ready to submit within the next couple of months, so that we can actually fast track the issues so that we can actually do the work for the people that should actually be doing the work. But we also understand the the challenges that they have not understanding this whole new new process and this whole new way of producing animal protein going forward. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So we need to help push that along. So there aren’t any regulations at the moment in South Africa. We are also talking to some possible partners in Singapore, where it is possible to sell meat commercially. So it might be that at some stage next year, towards the end of next year, early the following year, as soon as we try to be at a position that we can actually supply our high end restaurants here, and that our regulatory issues are more advanced to be able to actually export also to Singapore.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so Singapore is going to be the first market, basically, because from regulatory perspective they’ve already approved it. Will you need to get approval for venison and Springbok, in particular in Singapore? Or is that regulatory environment sort of lifted across all meat types, as far as you’re aware,

 

Paul Bartels  

As far as we are aware. Well, they did specify the species. But again, we’ve been assured from the Singapore side, and through Big Idea ventures, of course, we were very excited that you’ve introduced us to all those different key players in Singapore. So we’ve been advised to get our paperwork right and get it submitted. We don’t see any big problems but obviously, the proof is going to be in the pudding, or the eating of the pudding. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So we need to do that and get that submitted, I don’t see huge problems in that area. Because as I say, South Africa has been an export country, we are exporting currently fresh beef to the Middle East and again, processed meat, both game and beef to Europe. So it’s not like there arn’t already channels. Obviously, it has to now be linked to cultivated meat and whatever testing needs to be done. So we’ve been working very hard recently on all the compliance issues related to food and food safety, etc. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

So from a scale up perspective, what kind of volume do you think you’ll be able to get to by the time you’re, you know, ready to start selling in Singapore? Is this one restaurant, an occasional dish? Get it rolling, get people excited about this approach to venison, or, you know, is this something from a volume perspective that actually could be in the short to medium term a revenue generator for you?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, well, obviously, that’s the million dollar question. Having a look at trying to predict some of that is not very easy but having said that, if one for instance, looks at some of the cell lines that we’ve got going at the moment, we are very excited about it. And by the way, it’s not 10 biopsies that we have taken, it’s from 10 species drawing talking about 100 or more biopsies that have been taken. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So we’ve got a lot of cells, we have various machines working at this time, including benchtop bioreactors. We’ve been very fortunate to get some going already and we plan to look at following the industry notm very carefully. We want to do some leapfrogging because I think everybody wants to do that. We are looking at the big boys, we tried to figure out a whole number of things at the same time,

 

Andrew D Ive  

Please help me understand. Make sure we’re on the same page. What do you mean, you want to do some leapfrogging?

 

Paul Bartels  

Well, if we consider that a lot of the current companies might have been operational or working in this area, maybe before they came out of stealth, they could have been working for up to five years or more on some of these processes. And obviously, what we are trying to do is we want to leap frog them as we don’t want to spend the next five years doing basic research. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So that needs to be left to the academic institutions and hence, we also linked to two of our academic institutions, with the purpose of certain aspects that we don’t see as an IP issue, to get them to do some of that work, which they are actually now doing. And in that way, leap frog. Obviously it’s a bit of a dichotomy, we’ve got companies that really want to produce a lot of this product because of animal welfare but at the same time, there’s a lot of IP being protected. And so each each of these companies has to produce IP. 

 

Paul Bartels  

We think the fact that institutions, like new harvests, and GFSI are doing the most amazing stuff. So we are obviously following them very carefully, and interacting with them. Because getting back to that, we need to leap frog. So we want to leap from some basic stuff, so that we can get to a point that we are ready towards the end of next year and the beginning of the following year to at least have a product for some high end restaurant. So it will, unless there’s a major breakthrough, which is not impossible, again, because we are working with a couple of different species, which are showing tremendous promise. So it’s not impossible that there’s going to be a breakthrough.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. Given there’s a kind of conservation aspect to this. Is the South African government engaged? Are they excited about what’s happening? With, you know, with with you guys, are they supporting your activity or not at all?

 

Paul Bartels  

At the moment, there isn’t any support except for the regulatory issue where our consultant, who is actually is working in government, in the health department. So from that point of view there is movement, because we need to get that whole regulatory issue going from the academic side, I think the government is, you know, typically, when you talk about this issue to government officials, it’s a case of what are you doing, we’re going to be eating lab meats? 

 

Paul Bartels  

But it’s amazing how quickly the turnaround is in attitude. So we’re very excited about that, especially the academic institutions. And we really don’t see a big problem, because I think a lot of the government officials realize that our population, just as an example, in Africa, we’re going to put a billion more people on our continent in the next 30 years. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Now to try and visualize that and think about that, and think about the amount of protein and food that we have to produce, and whether people want to eat meat. It’s a massive challenge. But at the same time, I think a lot of people are realizing that there has to be some alternative. So I think they in that sort of space, you know, just we have to do something. Initially, we pulled our faces at the fact that you know, we’re going to be eating meat out of a Petri dish. 

 

Paul Bartels  

And it’s now got to more of hey, these are plants they breweries, they’re not this funny lab grown stuff anymore. This is now in production and we need to be there we cannot allow this continent and most specifically Southern Africa to to be left behind on this list going forward. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect, so from a help perspective, ou mentioned the X Prize, obviously, going through that competition doing well would be great. From a publicity perspective, the prize itself would be amazing. But I’m wondering what additional kind of help you guys need moving forward? What’s going to help you to leap frog? The guys that have been in this space for five years or more? How are you guys going to be able to bring, you know, great products to market? Singapore, etc? What kind of help do you need? Tell us.

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, good question. Certainly the major issue is partnerships and networking. So finding the right partners, and we do have one or two partners that have shown a lot of interest. In fact, one of the partners is assisting us already. And it’s a case of those networks. So again, back to Big Idea ventures, I mean, this was absolutely amazing, it was the doors that have been opened, is absolutely amazing. 

 

Paul Bartels  

Now what we need to do is to tie some of those contacts and those networking partners down. And we certainly aim to do that going into the new year because that can make a massive difference. We know that we have to get to a position to develop a partnership with maybe one or two specific distributors going forward, that’s going to be very important. So we are in some discussions and that’s going to make a big difference, because we’re going to need some partners going forward and we’re very excited about the negotiations that have taken place so far. Obviously we need to tie some of that down. So we’re looking forward to that as it’s very important to develop that going forward as part of our strategy, going into the new year.

 

Andrew D Ive  

From a partnership perspective. Are you working with any of the meat producing companies in South Africa or in other parts of Africa? Do they see this as a new way of creating product for their marketplace? How are you if at all interacting with the more traditional aspects of the South African protein industry?

 

Paul Bartels  

We actually have been in more conversations and more discussions with external partners out of South Africa than internal, and I think one of the parts of our strategy for that is to get to a certain point where we can showcase what we’ve got. So we didn’t want to speak too soon. To some of the, the partners, the wildlife industry, for instance, has got some good distribution networks, etc. But we wanted to get into a position which we think we’re now at, we think we’re now at that place where we can bring some people in and start strategizing around that. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So you know, that’s, again, one of the issues we going to tackle now, we really didn’t want to do it too soon because we want to have substantial products, products in the sense of our collection of cells discussing a little bit about, you know, some of the IP that we we busy developing at this time. So that we can see how this is going to work with our South African partners? So, yeah, we’re basically ready to start getting into that now. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

What about from a funding perspective? Are there investors looking at this space in Africa slash South Africa? Do they see this as an area where they should be investing their money or is it still very, very early days and you’re waiting for the financial community to sort of catch up to this?

 

Paul Bartels  

I think the initial context that we’ve had, for instance, again through being showcased at GFSI, where the X PRIZE semi finalists were allowed to show what they were doing, and of course through B IV, we’ve had, on a weekly basis, some interest. And so we are busy and it’s mostly from outside South Africa. South Africa doesn’t have a lot of capacity in that sense from a funding point of view. 

 

Paul Bartels  

So all our interests? Well, I shouldn’t say that we actually have had some interest. And there are some follow up meetings that have been arranged with a South African group, but the majority have been from other countries, specifically Canada, USA, we are also in negotiations at the moment with, two potential VCs, from the Middle East. So it’s very exciting, we’ve got follow up work to do, which we are busy doing at this moment. So there is definitely interest, I think some of them wanted to get in early, and hence, we did get some some funding from Canada and from the USA. And so again, I think this is looking very exciting going forward.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Now, there’s many reasons why investors get involved in investments in different businesses. If you guys are based in South Africa, one of the reasons why some investors might get involved in a company is because they anticipate at some point in the future, there’ll be an exit some, either acquisition or IPO. Those are the you know, the more traditional ways of exiting an investment like this. Your investors sort of coming from outside of Africa, do you see there being a need in the future, perhaps to have Mogale Meat, relocate and sort of start playing a more global role? Or do you hope that the financial community in Africa sort of comes through and ultimately supports the company and allows you to stay there? And, you know, there’ll be a kind of natural exit for your business in the African market at some point in the future?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah, so what we need to do is keep our eye on this space and see where to pivot towards so I think that certainly, partnership, or let’s say, a headquarters in another country is definitely not off the radar. So in other words, we got our foot in Africa, we’ve got a big foot in South Africa and so it’s not impossible, that, in fact, we have opened a headquarters in New York, as we speak, we proceed to finalizing that. And so again, I think it’s very important that we need to to internationalize shall we say, and then we’ll check that space, keep our eye on the radar to see and again, with our advisors and from the people that we’re talking to, see in which direction we need to focus. 

 

Paul Bartels  

But again, it was very important to to get the industry going here. That’s very and obviously that’s a big focus and certainly we see massive potential in the future, it might not be in four years time, might not be in five years time, but we see a massive potential in the next 10 years, because of the fact that we’ve got this amazing product, it’s an amazing product. And, and hence part of our focus is to really impact on the beef industry using game meat. We see that has a massive potential. So yeah, it’s very early days but we are definitely going to keep the options open going forward.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Our we’re very excited about Mogale Meat and you and your team we’ve obviously invested in, so we’re putting our money where our mouths are as it were. You’re doing amazing things and you’re right, the product is really strong. It’s also kind of an interesting product for marketplaces outside of Africa because venison and so on is  in demand. So where would people find out more about Mogale Meat? about you, about your team, so that they can reach out and engage and help you achieve the vision of what this business can become.

 

Paul Bartels  

Right. So obviously, we have a webpage www.mogalemeats.com and

 

Paul Bartels  

So Mogale Meats,  the name Mogale comes from one of the leaders from 100 or 200 years ago, and it actually means the brave one. So, again, we thought that it was appropriate for a young company to start and go into cultivated meat in Africa being the first. So, hence we said that So Mogale Meats is spelt M. O. G. A. L. E. Mogale. The web page is one word, so it’s mogalemeats.com. Weare obviously also on LinkedIn, so please look us up on LinkedIn and start a conversation with us. So it’s, I’ll spell it out again, mogalemeets.com

 

Andrew D Ive  

I’m looking at the website right now healthy and nutritious meat grown from free ranging livestock and antelope. Major contributor to biodiversity, same meet different pipeline, some amazing dishes on the website, you guys should really go check it out and see the kind of delicious things that these guys are moving towards. Very exciting. And obviously, there’s the enhancement that the biodiversity the conservation aspects of Mogale Meat as well. And, Paul, where would they reach out to you as, as the kind of founder and CEO of Mogale Meat?

 

Paul Bartels  

So again, a message can be sent through our web page. You can also look me up on LinkedIn. Myself, Paul Bartels on LinkedIn as well as Mogale  Meat. So Bartels is B A R. T. E. L. S. So it’s Paul Bartel’s. So we have a LinkedIn link, look me up on that. And please reach out. We are looking to interact with as many individuals, partners, companies as possible. We think this is very exciting, because it’s going to be big one day, I know that the world will know us soon so it’s very exciting, too. And as you mentioned, that whole aspect of biodiversity and wildlife conservation, that’s kind of been my passion from from the start, how do we secure our wildlife at the same time, with all the other great advantages that cultivated meat brings?

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect. And if you’re involved in the XPRIZE, the meet our future X Prize, feed the next billion, by all means, you know, give these guys a thumbs up and tell everyone how amazing they are. I’m sure that would be helpful. Paul, really great to speak to you. Thank you for your time today. If you’ve got any last things to say, we can absolutely say them. If not, I will pause the video and we’ll end the podcast. What do you think?

 

Paul Bartels  

Yeah. Well, thanks, Andrew. Really appreciate the chat. And from a biodiversity wildlife point of view this is a great way to tackle these issues, from basically from the biggest impact that we’re having against our biodiversity and wildlife at the moment is too many of them are being eaten so if we can still eat them, but still conserve them at the same time. Well, what a bonus.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Paul, thank you so much. Mogale Meat, everyone should go check you guys out, reach out to you and if you can add some support to Paul or Mogale Meats please do. So. Thanks, everyone and we’ll be signing off now.

 

Paul Bartels  

Thanks, Andrew, thanks a lot.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Paul from Mogale Meats mo g a l e meat.com. I think it’s without the so meat.com. Please do reach out to Paul, or by all means reach out to me via Big Idea ventures or LinkedIn happy to connect you with Paul or any of the companies we’ve been speaking to so far. Please do like and subscribe. We’d love to let you know when the next podcast is happening. If you’ve got any questions, please do reach out. That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the conversation today, doing some amazing things in terms of biodiversity conservation, and improving the game situation in Africa. So that’s it. Have a great Day. Bye Bye

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