Podcast #35 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!
- Sticher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-big-idea-food-podcast
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/57TBllxq5CjpdVzzhNGjBp?si=u0hbKJqVQqqpkmyAv28ETg&dl_branch=1&nd=1
- Google Podcast: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZC5jby90aGUtYmlnLWlkZWEtcG9kY2FzdC1mb29k
- Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-big-idea-podcast-food/id1564457496
- YouTube: https://youtu.be/OafdVzPWXkk
To learn more about De Novo Dairy check out the links below!
Andrew D Ive 00:01
Hello there. Welcome to the Big Idea podcast where we focus on food. My name is Andrew, I’m your host for today. I’m the founder of Big Idea ventures, we find great, amazing scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs around the world who are solving some of the world’s greatest challenges and we try to help them and support them, invest in them.
Andrew D Ive 00:26
So today we’re going to be talking to Dr. Besser, and she is a scientist and a co founder of de novo dairy. So de novo dairy is a company in South Africa, doing amazing things in fermentation and related, so really interesting company, a world’s first and look forward to the conversation. At the end, I hope you’ve got a you have an entertaining time. I also hope that you’ve got any questions or comments, you feel free to reach out to us. That’s it. Let’s get into the conversation. Thanks very much.
Andrew D Ive 01:10
Okay, so Dr. Besser, or as you’ve allowed me today to call you, Leah, welcome to big idea podcast where we focus on food. Today, we’re chatting with you about de novo dairy, which is a company you’re one of the cofounders of, is that correct?
Leah Bessa 01:33
Yes. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I’m one of four co founders. Were actually three technical founders, and then one business person. So thank goodness for him.
Andrew D Ive 01:44
Why? How does three scientists and the business sounds like a joke almost, doesn’t it? Like, there were three scientists and a business person, but you need that business person to keep on track?
Leah Bessa 01:58
Oh, my goodness. Yeah, I think we come up with these really great, elaborate budgets. and then he has to really rein it in otherwise, we would come up with some really interesting things. Probably relevant but interesting.
Andrew D Ive 02:10
Interesting is not bad. Interesting, sometimes good.
Leah Bessa 02:17
Yeah, so there’s actually two scientists, one engineer, and then a business person. So the joke gets even better.
Andrew D Ive 02:23
I know, I was gonna say that sounds like an even better joke. So let’s talk about de novo dairy, which is certainly not a joke. Tell me about the company. What are you guys doing? And why are you doing it?
Leah Bessa 02:37
Cool. Yeah. So de novo dairy is focusing on using precision fermentation. So we’re the first precision fermentation company in Africa and our main focus is producing nature, identical animal free dairy proteins. As a company, and as co founders, we really are quite passionate about creating sustainable and ethical dairy alternatives. But having the whole African context and growing up in Africa, a lot of people don’t move away from animal proteins, and it’s not just because it’s unsustainable, it’s really the nutritional elements.
Leah Bessa 03:12
So we really, really focused on not just sustainability and animal free, but that nutritional element, which is very, very important, especially in African context, which is why we’re using this powerful technology to create dairy proteins for optimum nutrition. And we thought to ourselves, what better way to start than to look at nutrition from day one, which is infant formula. So we really want to focus on creating proteins that can be perfect for infants all the way to the elderly. That sounds like a very broad scope, but there are some really powerful proteins in dairy, that have these really great immuno regulatory properties and that’s really what we’re focusing on bringing to the market in a very precise way.
Andrew D Ive 04:01
There is so much in that unpack. So scientists, yeah, so precision fermentation. We’ve kind of covered that in previous conversations, but just give us you know, 20/30 seconds on what that means and what you’re doing, you know, what are you doing with precision fermentation? And why is that relevant to this?
Leah Bessa 04:26
So precision fermentation is just a very fancy way of saying we’re using yeast produce proteins. So similarly to how you would use yeast to produce alcohol. We’re genetically modifying our yeast to produce very specific proteins. But the reason why precision fermentation is so powerful is that you can create nature identical proteins in a more efficient way. So it has a really big impact in that you can create something that’s exactly the same as you’d find in animal proteins and have that complete nutritional profile, but in a more sustainable and ethical way.
Andrew D Ive 05:05
Now, you mentioned you’re using genetic modification as part of the process to get to nature identical protein. Is the nature identical protein, therefore genetically modified? Or is that the vehicle that used to get there, but the end result is not genetically modified? If you see the distinction?
Leah Bessa 05:25
Yeah, actually, that’s an awesome question, because I know everyone’s very terrified of genetically modified organisms. But what we’re doing is we’re using a host that secretes the proteins, so the protein is no longer bound to the host. So it’s like according to regulations, it’s no longer considered genetically modified. So the protein is very much just a nature identical protein, as you would find in a cow. It’s just produced using a vehicle that, you know, by chance was genetically modified to produce it.
Andrew D Ive 05:57
So a couple of things, if we consider the cow to be the vehicle and the milk to be the output. You’re using yeast, genetically modified yeast, as the vehicle and the output is the milk. So for example, milk isn’t a cow, and doesn’t include the cow. It’s the output of the cow, correct?
Leah Bessa 06:19
Yeah, that’s a really great explanation.
Andrew D Ive 06:21
And the other way of thinking about it is we’ve modified cows so much over time to make them more dairy productive, or more sort of flavorful from a meat perspective, etc. So a cow is genetically modified as well, just like a piece of yeast could be. So if you’re scared of genetically modified milk, or milk that comes from a genetically modified process, you should also be scared of milk as it is today, because it’s coming from an animal that’s been genetically modified over the last 100 years or so.
Leah Bessa 06:54
Yeah, and plants as well. And I think what’s more dangerous with not controlling it is you leaving random chance and mutations that come into play. When you look at just allowing, let’s just say co breeding and stuff like that, to create that genetic variation when you specifically genetically modifying something, it’s very precise. So you’re not allowing random mutations, you can’t explain to happen, you’re really controlling your outcome.
Leah Bessa 07:20
So the idea of genetically modified organisms being dangerous, it’s really just a futuristic thing. But it’s actually a lot more controlled and precise than just technically how they’ve been doing it in the past, which is just crossbreeding until a point that they get a desirable outcome. But you don’t know what other outcomes have happened, because it wasn’t precisely done.
Andrew D Ive 07:41
Yeah, I can start making jokes about all kinds of things there. But I’ll avoid that. So you also mentioned nutrition as a key component or chief, a key objective of what you’re moving forward within the dairy space? Would you mind giving us a minute or two on that in terms of what you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve from a nutrition perspective?
Leah Bessa 08:06
Yeah, absolutely. So what’s really amazing about dairy is that it is, especially with the proteins, is that they’re complete proteins, and that allows cells to regenerate really well in the human body. And then we’re taking that a step further and we’re focusing on some of the minor components in dairy. And it’s something that you wouldn’t typically regard when you’re consuming dairy, but it’s really these proteins that upregulate your immune system.
Leah Bessa 08:31
So it’s usually typically found quite strongly in the colostrum of milk, which is that initial part of your milk when you’re breastfeeding, but both in animals and in human nutrition. And that colostrum is really, really rich in these immuno proteins. And that’s like imperative in infant nutrition, which you don’t really get in an infant formula these days. And it’s also really important, you know, as we’re aging as well, because it’s really good for your gut health, which as we know, the links to both your mental health and to immunity.
Leah Bessa 09:02
And it also has a lot of anti inflammatory properties and a lot of properties reduce things like viral load. So there’s been a lot of evidence even with dairy proteins having a good impact fighting COVID, for example. So there’s a lot that we’re finding out about these very simple proteins that have a huge impact on your immune system, which were typically overlooked and I think it’s very important to re look at that because to try and harvest it from nature, because it’s in such small quantities is very unsustainable.
Andrew D Ive 09:37
So just to clarify, in existing cow, goat, etc, milk, regular milk that you would go and find in a supermarket for example, grocery store, that potentially has more beneficial aspects than we traditionally realized. And only now are we starting to determine that there are things within standard milk that is actually healthy or, and this is kind of the follow up, or are milks that are currently in grocery stores and so on. Not, do they not include that ingredient because of either processing or other things. And you guys are actually trying to find a way of bringing more of those healthier ingredients into the, into the final product.
Leah Bessa 10:27
So it’s a bit of both, actually. Typically, dairy has these minor proteins that are there in very, very small quantities. And so trying to harvest it is very expensive, and so they don’t do it. So ends up getting lost. But it’s also these, these are the proteins that are more prolific in that initial part of your your milk, which is only there for the first few days.
Leah Bessa 10:48
And, interestingly enough, these proteins are more prominent in human milk. So if for breastfeeding, for example, when you’re trying to supplement that with dairy milk for infants, you’re not getting a lot of those important proteins and then on top of that they’re not really using the colostrum of milk, they’re using normal milk, which has it in like I think naught point naught 1%, which is almost negligible. So it’s really about the scarcity of it in the industry, as well as just the cost because it’s really difficult to harvest from cow milk. So it’s really about creating availability and making it available for for everyone, as well as the safety aspect as well. I mean, you don’t just want to give any proteins to your children.
Andrew D Ive 11:35
So, the fact that this potentially more beneficial protein is included in the first day or two of human breast milk, and in very, very small quantities in cow’s milk today is there a reason why it’s rationed, Not naturally rationed in that way, because we’re not meant to get too much of this, this protein and by harvesting it and making it more available, were doing something like we’re getting something we shouldn’t necessarily be getting on an ongoing basis. Does that? I know that sounds that sounds kind of weird. But does that make sense?
Leah Bessa 12:15
It does and I think maybe typically, historically, that might have been the case, but the thing is, we don’t actually get the nutrients in that we’re supposed to. So for example, a lot of these proteins are iron binding proteins. And anemia is one of the biggest deficiencies in the world globally, both in first, second, third world countries. And it’s not necessary for lack of iron, it’s just the transport of iron in the body. And so these proteins help facilitate iron binding and transport, but they’re not necessarily contributing to the iron content, does that make sense?
Leah Bessa 12:49
And that’s really just because of how we eat, how we live, and how we conduct our lifestyles, that we really don’t have the right proteins to facilitate the transportation of nutrients in our body. And so, you know, maybe back in the day, when we were cavemen, we didn’t need it but there’s lots of studies that have showed really good evidence for how it benefits adults, and specifically the elderly.
Leah Bessa 13:13
But it’s imperative for infants and infant formula doesn’t have it at all, which I mean, you get a lot of children that grow up who grew up on infant formula that start having disruptions in their immune system. And X Men, they can’t really say where it comes from, but they have tied it to the fact that they’re not being fed breast milk. And it’s really tied to these immune proteins that we can recreate and start supplementing from a really early age to sort of prevent a lot of the onset of these diseases.
Andrew D Ive 13:42
That’s amazing. So you mentioned the infants, you’ve mentioned, the elderly, I totally understand that. This, sort of lacking that you’ve just mentioned, is that even in societies where we have an abundance of foods and even have problems, for example, with obesity, and things like that, are we also you know, are we also suffering from not having that sort of nutritional aspect that you’re that you’re talking about?
Leah Bessa 14:19
Yeah, I think it’s a common misconception to think that malnutrition is just as a result of not eating enough, malnutrition is really linked to just eating poorly and anemia is a very good example. You know, that’s prolific in first of all countries, for example, where people don’t have a lack of food, or let’s say, meat, food, even so, the thing is, it’s just this lack of these proteins that can allow the transportation of these nutrients successfully around the body. So you might eat it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s getting to your cells in a way that is meaningful. And that is not an under nourishment problem, that’s just a more nourishment problem and that’s a global thing, unfortunately.
Andrew D Ive 15:06
So, you mentioned in the beginning that de novo dairy is focusing on nature identical dairy products. You also, as part of that discussion, though, mentioned that you’re going to be focusing initially on on infant products and are ultimately going through to through the continuum until you get to elderly, you might even go, you know, young infants, first, elderly second, and then sort of the middle swath. Third, but so you guys are not just producing milk, per se, you are going to be step one focusing on for example, infants, not formula infant milk, a step one.
Leah Bessa 15:49
Yeah, so we’re not producing milk in its entirety. I think, from our point of view, there’s a lot of dairy alternatives that do a good job, they just lacked that nutritional aspect. And it’s because they don’t have they have inferior proteins. So milk is really special in that the proteins are just, they’re perfect, they have the perfect amino acid score.
Leah Bessa 16:09
And then on top of that, they have all these immuno regulatory aspects as well. So we really want to be able to supplement, you know, vegans and flexitarians. And even, you know, normal meat eaters, with these proteins that are really important for nutrition, and that are lacking and going to be lacking even more when when the vegan diet starts increasing.
Andrew D Ive 16:31
So that’s a product that’s focused on vegans, flexitarians, and regular people, regular people, um, do we have the vegans with their pitchforks outside that radio studio? But But you mentioned infant products? So is infant products, the first or is it the vegan supplement? related? Product?
Leah Bessa 16:52
No, certainly Infant Nutrition? That’s our main target. Yeah.
Andrew D Ive 16:58
Are you working with human breast milk as part of your process? Or are you optimizing cow or other dairy related products.
Leah Bessa 17:12
So we’re actually focusing on human breast milk proteins, and you get similar ones in bovine milk as well. But the reason for for the human one is more relevant to us. But why fits into the dairy alternative space, per se, is because we will be replacing the dairy products that are currently in that space, which is, I don’t wanna say incorrectly used, but that’s sort of like what’s traditionally there. Because you can’t very well go Maka, human, you know that that’s the option that’s there for us. And we really try to replace it with things that we should actually be consuming.
Andrew D Ive 17:48
That makes sense. So I think we’ve spent a lot of time on the product side and thank you for taking us through that. From a company perspective, you mentioned the kind of joke description, I am an engineer, a business person and two scientists as the co founders of the company. How did you all come together? How did you start Novo dairy? And, you know, what’s the story behind that?
Leah Bessa 18:13
Yeah. So so weirdly enough, myself and John, who’s the business person actually previously started another dairy alternative company together. We looked at insects as a dairy alternative. So that was quite a bold start and then Joanie and Richard have been friends and they’ve also subsequently started companies together in Johannesburg. Then myself and John, were working in a lab in Cape Town and then I’m not sure if you know him. Zanzi Meat themselves. Yeah. So he actually knew Joni, and we were working on this same concept separately, and he introduced us and we literally met once, and we were like, this is the perfect fit and then we started a company the next week, and we’ve never looked back.
Andrew D Ive 19:01
So how long have you been working together at this point?
Leah Bessa 19:05
We started early in 2021. So yeah, it’s been a good eight, nine months.
Andrew D Ive 19:14
You make it sound like it’s a long time. You know, hey, we’re a nine month old company. We’re so old now.
Leah Bessa 19:20
Instead of time, it’s like a lifetime.
Andrew D Ive 19:23
Yeah, is a bit it is a bit of those of those nine months. I wonder, have you had any, any challenges anything that sort of made it a little different or a little scary?
Leah Bessa 19:36
Um, well, we started off with Johnny and Richard being stuck in Joburg with COVID. So that was a bit challenging, but once they moved here, it took off quite quickly. I guess any startup challenges, things don’t work in the lab, late nights, but I wouldn’t say that’s we’re special in Baldwin. The one challenge we did have, though, was when John and Richard got stuck in South Africa when they were supposed to be in Paris, and then I had to pitch that was scary for me.
Andrew D Ive 20:14
But so far in terms of, you know, raising a little bit of money, getting the product started getting access to a facility, getting people interested to join from an advisory perspective, that’s kind of typical building blocks. All of that went has been going sort of swimmingly? Well, at this point,
Leah Bessa 20:33
I would actually say the timing has been very good. When I look back, even two years, the space in South Africa was a bit difficult for biotech, and food tech, you know, people weren’t really looking at investing in South Africa. And then all of a sudden, overnight, that changed. And so that made access to funding, especially international funding a lot easier. I think our fundraising went a lot better than we had anticipated.
Leah Bessa 21:01
Then yeah, timing, once again, a co working lab took off about a year and a half ago, which really allowed us access to the facilities to do Yeah, we do 95% of our research, then we haven’t had any challenges. With that. I guess some of the more challenging things are going to come into the past when we started looking at regulatory challenges, especially because we want Europe to be our first market, which is mean, they love GMO. So that’s going to be an interesting one.
Andrew D Ive 21:31
But the product you produce is not GMO, it’s not the distinction.
Leah Bessa 21:36
Yeah, but they still have a lot of issues around the actual facility. So I think it’d be easier, but there’s still going to be, you know, challenges, because now it’s going to be something different. It’s not coming from a cow anymore.
Andrew D Ive 21:49
You also mentioned that you guys started the company, because you originally were in a different business. What made you say enough is enough with that business. And this is something this, you know, de novo dairy is something that you really did want to pursue next.
Leah Bessa 22:20
So I think on a technology front of previous business was something we were very excited about, and I still believe has huge potential. But we did quite a bit of consumer research. And I think that’s maybe something I would stress for everyone to do very early on. And extensive consumer research. And, you know, the reality is, because we’re working with insects, I don’t foresee it taking off as quickly as we would like it to.
Leah Bessa 22:46
And we really want to make a mass impact and to make mass impact, you need to have sort of scale and mass adoption. And so the reason why don’t overdo became such an exciting option is that when you try to convert this mass consumer market that is, you know, very stuck in their ways, the only way to really do that is to recreate exactly what they’re used to, in a way that’s more sustainable. And ultimately, it has to be, you know, cost comparable at some point. So that’s why precision fermentation was such a desirable technology for us.
Andrew D Ive 23:25
You also mentioned when you were taking us through your DeNova dairy business, you mentioned Africa, maybe seven times in your sentence, it was like, it was the beginning, it was the middle and it was also the end. Africa was an important part of what you guys are doing, and how you’re doing it probably.
Andrew D Ive 23:47
What are some of the pros and perhaps challenges of a precision fermentation slash biotech company in the old dairy space in Africa? Because I think that there are certain things that are really great about being in Africa and other things that might be a little bit more challenging.
Leah Bessa 24:12
Yeah, I think the the challenges are abundant but what’s cool about them is they’re also opportunities. You know, there’s not a lot of companies doing it, which is daunting, but at the same time, it means that our market is not saturated, and so there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and for exploration, and for creating that space. So I think a lot of the challenges lead to opportunities.
Leah Bessa 24:36
You know, one of the challenges is definitely access to funding in America. You can dream up something and the next day you’re IPO in, in South Africa, not too much. I also think access to skills and expertise, like there are a lot here but it’s sort of a natural tendency to end up in academia or to leave the country. So it’s not as easy to access, just this range of expertise that there is overseas.
Leah Bessa 25:05
So there are lots of challenges and opportunities but I think what’s really great is that our market is huge. Our potential market is huge, or potential access to it being in South Africa is huge. I think there’s a huge opportunity for Africa to be the breadbasket because we have an abundance of space, people and things are cheap here. I mean, we can make things cheaper than most places in the world. So I think that’s a huge opportunity for us.
Andrew D Ive 25:34
Yeah, I think you’re right. abundant resources, abundant marketplace, potentially, how many? What’s the population of the continent at this point?
Leah Bessa 25:44
Oh, goodness, gracious, I hate it when people ask me this, because I never know.
Andrew D Ive 25:47
But it’s big and also, it’s a good jump point for the European market, etc, etc. So, you know, Africa has some real benefits, huge amount of resources. Huge amount. So yeah, great, great place to be. I wonder, do you see the South African government getting sort of interested in all protein as a technology source in a world of sustainable protein for the population?
Leah Bessa 26:24
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, South Africa has a huge agricultural sector and so it’s very well understood and well regulated. I mean, even the GMO for example, it’s very well regulated in a way that sort of promotes the safe use of GMO, so we’re actually very progressive on our agricultural front. And, yeah, although meat is a huge part of our culture, and consumption patterns, so as eating things, like you know, soya and all these alternative grains, so we are geared up for a lot of alternatives.
Leah Bessa 26:55
We have a lot of foods that you would never get in Europe or America, I mean, insects, for example, we eat in South Africa. So, you know, we are geared up for a lot of alternatives and plant based consumption in its, let’s say, less westernized form is definitely abundant here. So I think we’re very much geared up for it, in some ways, a lot more than some of the Western countries.
Andrew D Ive 27:17
So what’s the first product that de novo dairy will, subject to regulatory approval, etc. What will be the first product de novo dairy brings to market?
Leah Bessa 27:35
We are ideally looking at a b2b route. So we’re going to create a protein that we want to sell to companies to include in their infant nutrition. So we’re focusing on an immune protein found in milk, which we are yet to fully disclose. But it’s something that we’ll be selling to allow other companies to start improving their infant formulations.
Andrew D Ive 28:00
So this is something that a Bristol Myers Squibb or another company that’s currently in the infant formula space would potentially add as a way of improving the nutritional aspects and immune aspects of the product they have today?
Leah Bessa 28:19
Yeah, absolutely. Actually, interestingly enough, there’s a couple of these proteins that are used quite widely in Asia, in infants formulation. So they’re already very progressive in their nutritional aspects of infant formulation. It’s really the West that needs to catch up.
Andrew D Ive 28:39
Interesting. So Asia is getting there and does that mean that your product is less useful to Asia? Because they’re already sort of going in that direction and your market therefore, is more Western? Because they’re not? Or both? Or other global applications for the ingredient you’re creating for the infant formula?
Leah Bessa 29:01
Yeah, it’s global. I’d say that because Asia uses it’s huge potential market for us as well, because you can only harvest so much from nature, it’s in such small amounts in dairy. And so you know, we can really create bigger on more of it, and definitely cheaper because it’s exorbitantly expensive. And so that also allows more access for, you know, a range of different infant formulas, not just these very expensive, luxurious ones, for example.
Andrew D Ive 29:31
Okay, What’s the timeframe for availability,
Leah Bessa 29:37
We are aiming for two years to get to the market. This will just sort of be initial, I don’t think it will be in Europe, because that’ll take a bit longer, which was regulatory. So we’ll probably aim for either straight into South Africa or probably stateside because it’s also a little bit easier than Europe.
Andrew D Ive 29:57
And Asia. I mean, if you’re saying the Asian already sort of interested in moving forward with these kind of ingredients, although in new quantities because it’s expensive to produce in the Asian market now.
Leah Bessa 30:11
Yeah, absolutely. I think we’ve just had a lot of interest from those markets specifically. We haven’t looked extensively into Asia, I think it’s also a market that requires a lot of understanding because it’s culturally quite different to what we’re used to. So I would say yes, it’s definitely a market we’re interested in. But it’s something that we would, I think, need a good partner there to sort of really strategically take foothold.
Andrew D Ive 30:36
Yeah, we’ve got some great partners in Asia. So let’s offline talk about one of the more natural companies as customers for this technology. Okay, so question, if everything goes to plan, you’ve mentioned the products going to be available in 2020/ 24. So two years from now? Where do you see de novo dairy being if everything goes to plan by let’s say, five years from today,
Leah Bessa 31:13
Five years from today, I see Nova dairy producing our proteins at scale. I think by that stage, we’ll also have additional proteins that look beyond just Infant Nutrition, but really nutrition across the board. I think we will have quite a good global footprint in Asia, and will be in Europe by this point. I think we really want to penetrate the African market and more on a personal note, I hope we really create the opportunity for more companies in South Africa and Africa to start, you know, innovating and taking that step forward. So that we can also be a technology hub.
Andrew D Ive 31:59
So in five years time, if everything goes to plan, de novo dairy will be at the center of a strong, thriving food innovation ecosystem in Africa.
Leah Bessa 32:12
Yeah, absolutely. When everything goes according to plan, and
Andrew D Ive 32:18
As long as you’re not thinking about, you know, as soon as everything starts going, well, we’re going to leave and go to, I don’t know, San Francisco or something that’s not on the cards, right? That’s not part of the game plan.
Leah Bessa 32:29
Um, I mean, we might have places, have branches in other places, but I think we want to have a strong African foothold and really promote our own economy and ecosystem and technology. And I think that’s important for all of us.
Andrew D Ive 32:42
I agree. Perfectly. So question, if anyone’s hearing, not if anyone’s hearing, if the three people listening to this podcast, can help in some way? What kind of help would de novo dairy be interested in getting right now or, you know, as things grow?
Leah Bessa 33:01
I think for us support in terms of getting to market and of understanding the markets would be great. Go to Market partners, offtake agreements, or some other eyes at this point, will also be super helpful, because it allows us to understand the market a bit and sort of volumes, and allows us to build our dream factory for five years time. So those are two very important things. And then I guess, if there’s any regulators listening,
Andrew D Ive 33:34
Can you go easy on you, can go easy on de novo dairy?
Leah Bessa 33:37
Oh, I’d say across across the board. On technology as a whole, because regulation is important, but it sort of does prevent innovation at some points as well.
Andrew D Ive 33:50
Now, you haven’t mentioned potential employees, slash recruits, you haven’t mentioned, people who want to give you lots and lots of money so that you can continue to build the company over the next two years until you bring the product to market. I’m guessing. Great recruits and great investors are also part of the plan?
Leah Bessa 34:10
Absolutely. I think with the technology we’re working on, I think good recruits do tend to find find their way towards us. I think getting a good understanding of the market regulations and having those uptakes really will also allow us to find the right investors as well, because I think our technology is sound, it’s just those other elements that will really seal the deal. And then I think those investors will also also be there, but also Yes, investors always.
Andrew D Ive 34:40
Great. Anything else you’d like to add? Or any kind of takeaway thoughts, either in terms of the product, the opportunity, the marketplace, starting a company, you know, any and all of those things? Any last thoughts before we sign off for today?
Leah Bessa 34:59
Well, seeing, as you mentioned, investors, I could sort of maybe do a little bit of a draft and say we’re opening our seed round this year.
Andrew D Ive 35:09
Right now we’re in the end of January 2022. Yeah. You knew that right? You look like you were thinking about it.
Leah Bessa 35:20
I temporarily forgot this was a podcast and people don’t exactly know when we’re speaking. So okay. June 2022, we’ll be having a seed round opening. So we’ll be looking for keen investors, strategic investors, and people. People that are excited and smart.
Andrew D Ive 35:46
Sorry, we got a time lag and it’s causing a bit of frustration. So June 2022, you’re going to be opening up your seed round to investors, right?
Andrew D Ive 35:59
Perfect. If, you’re a smart investor, you’ll try and reach out to de novo dairy before June so that you can be there before everybody else, because normally these things have a certain number available for investors and once that number is hit the doors close until the next time. So if you’re listening to this in January, February, March, April, or May reach out to de novo Dairy , which begs the question, where should they reach out to talk to you, to the company, find out more about the mission, the journey, the product, etc? What are good contacts for you all.
Leah Bessa 36:42
I think the easiest is probably the website because you can get your info, which would then be distributed to all of us. But if you’d like to reach out to me specifically, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew D Ive 36:56
And if people want to reach out to the company more generally, it’s denovodairy.com
Andrew D Ive 37:08
I think you have a contact us? Or actually, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website, there are touch points re email, also. LinkedIn and Twitter. So great touch points for you guys on the website right down at the bottom there. Awesome. All right, Leah. Well, great to talk to you. Thank you for your time. I’d love to do this again, in sort of six months, to a year’s time and see how you’re getting on with your infant formula ingredient. I think that’s going to be really interesting.
Leah Bessa 37:44
Yeah, we’re really excited. That will be amazing. Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew D Ive 37:47
All right. I’m gonna press stop, pause, something like that and then I’ll just come back and say thank you, one sec.
Andrew D Ive 37:56
So welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Leah, around de novo dairy. Leah gave you the contact details. If you want to reach out to her if you want to help her in some way, whether that’s as a customer or potential investor, or I don’t know, whatever it might be, by all means, reach out directly to Leah, and see how you can help move de novo dairy forward, even if it’s just to say hello and support them in what they’re trying to accomplish.
Andrew D Ive 38:26
So again, this is Andrew from the big idea podcast where we focus on food. Let me know if you enjoyed the conversation, if you have questions, if you have ideas of other people we should be speaking with and bringing on to this podcast. So that’s it. We appreciate you. We’d love your feedback. We’d love you to like and subscribe. Okay, have a great day. Thank you
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