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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

The Food, The Successful and The Leaders

In this monthly newsletter, we’ll be covering everything food, ingredients and beverages – from new product launches, leadership movements, the investments being made and secured by the exciting and fast-growing. If it involves the food industry we’ll be talking about it.

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As the FoodTech space peaks in 2020 with nearly 1,400 companies globally, receiving VC backing and 27 high-flyers undertaking an IPO it’s a space we’re reluctant to ignore this.

Taking a deeper look at the companies in this vertical throws up some interesting start-ups that aren’t just another take on Deliveroo. Whilst the FoodTech market is becoming swamped with companies offering up food discovery platforms and Uber Eats alternatives there are some more interesting organisations amongst them that are grabbing the attention of investors and indeed consumers.

But this week, we’re more interested in the leaders that are driving the success of these companies. When speaking to our VC and PE partners we are always talking about who is leading the company - what makes a company special is very rarely the product or technology they provide whilst much more of the focus is on the entrepreneur that is making it happen.

Perfect Day is a producer of animal-free milk substitutes and proteins intended to offer protein nutritionally identical to that of cow's milk. The company's production process involves yeast fermentation of plant-based sugars and includes ingredients that are sustainable, vegan, and devoid of antibiotics, cholesterol, and lactose, providing customers with nutrient-dense and environmentally safe dairy alternatives.

The company raised $350 million of Series D1 venture funding in a deal led by Temasek Holdings, McWin and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in September of 2021 which also caught the attention of Facebook as they took a seat at the table of investors, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $1.24 billion.

Ryan Pandya continues on as co-founder and CEO of the company his knowledge of biochemical engineering being a key factor in his development of their products in the early days and his passion for success being a key driving force behind the company. Ryan’s success is not without a great team behind him though with his Co-founder Perumal Gandhi also showing expertise in life sciences.

Their Chief Business Operations Officer joined the company less than 12-months ago and was identified as a critical strategic player following Narayan Mahadeva’s successes in organisational transformation.

Bonney Oommen holds the position of Chief Product and Strategy Officer following a 14-year stint growing the global nutrition group, Glanbia. Bonney has shown an ability to grow personally with focused loyalty for an organisation over her time there.

It would be rude not to mention EAT JUST - having a growth strategy that has many left behind as they corner the plant-based egg space. This company has achieved growth sustainably with only a little over 250 employees it is said they are engaged in a new funding round that will likely see them close out almost £1Bn in new VC cash led by LG Chem Ltd.

It’s hard to talk about the food industry without falling into the world of plant-based but as the world seeks to find a more balanced and sustainable way to feed us humans this is indeed where the attention of investors is right now.

Co-founder and CEO of EAT JUST – Josh Tetrick is a Doctor of Law, he spent time building sustainability initiatives for some of the world's largest institutions and his time at McGuire Woods LLP had him developing the firms' global climate change strategy alongside being a pivotal player in many large carbon credit and solar energy transactions. The move into the food and ingredients industry was not an obvious one but, working alongside his co-founder Josh Balk and his experience working as Vice President, Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the U.S. - it could be explained.

EAT JUST also relies on its VP and Head of Business Development in Priyanka Mahadevia having been with the company for more than 5-years now she has powered the corporate strategy of the company seeing this organisation almost double in headcount since her posting.

Identifying the key leaders that will see an organisation change from start-up to a “keep-up” in the food and ingredients industry is what we do and whilst the people featured here might not have been some people’s obvious choices – it’s about reading between the lines, you may not have hired these people based on their CV’s but finding top leadership talent is very rarely about a CV.

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Placing Top Leaders Within The Global Food, Ingredients and Beverages Industry
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