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...the dots connect backwards

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Hey there, it's great to be sharing my first ever blog post as the founder of Trove Biosciences!

When starting a company, one of the biggest challenges can be figuring out how to introduce your brand to the world. As for me, I spent days at my desk trying to write the perfect article and finally came up with my alternative proteins (altprotein) origin story.

In his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, Steve Jobs talked about how every decision you make today will set your course of action in the future. Looking back, I can see how that applies to my own journey. Back in mid-2017, during my first year as a PhD student, I enrolled in a coursework that involved weekly conversations with PhD graduates who took a non-conventional, non-academic career paths. As part of the final component of the coursework, we were asked to pitch our biotechnology company to a mock panel of investors.

As spontaneously as I could, I reached out to my scratchpad and wrote down ‘lab grown meat’. I was proud of the uniqueness of this idea for 10 whole seconds before realizing that New Harvest, Mosa Meat and Memphis Meats (now Upside Foods) were already championing this space. Upon extensive research, I realized cultivated meat was still largely unexplored and this idea could immensely benefit the food-tech landscape. So I gathered a team of like-minded individuals from the coursework and built a mock company called BowTie Co.

BowTie Co. pitch in action, Aug 2017

At BowTie, we cultivated pork meat by -

  • generating a proprietary cell line,

  • inventing animal-free media,

  • collaborating with engineers to design sustainable scaffolding material,

  • designing and testing our prototype bioreactor,

  • receiving approval from the national food regulatory body.

During the final week of coursework, we pitched this idea to our “investors” asking for $700,000 for their strategic partnership and 5% stake in our company. Surprisingly, they bought our idea and we came in second in this hypothetical version of Shark Tank!

Fast forward to the pandemic era when a friend founded their own cellular agriculture (cellag) company, I jumped at the opportunity and immediately began working on helping them advance this space. Over the years, this led to connections with fascinating cellag and altprotein enthusiasts from a variety of professional backgrounds, brainstorming different initiatives, working on interesting projects across the alternative proteins sector, and finally to advertising my own consulting services i.e. Trove Biosciences.

At Trove, we're all about leveraging the power of science and technology to transform the food system. Our mission is to help every facet of this industry - from non-profits and start-ups to investors - realize their vision of bringing a more equitable, sustainable, and humane food system. Whether you need help understanding the scientific basis of an altprotein technology, assessing and strategizing roadmaps for emerging innovations, analyzing market landscapes, or communicating the science, we're here to support every step of the way.

For me, Trove is a significant dot in my altprotein journey, and I'm excited to see where it takes me from here. Over the course of the coming weeks I will be highlighting several technical and non-technical aspects of alternative proteins to share my learnings with the community. Stay tuned!

Are you a fellow altprotein enthusiast? I'd love to hear your story! Let's discuss how we can collaborate and make the industry move forward. Reach out to me on LinkedIn or through my website.

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