Combining Sustainability, Community and Kelp ft. Courtney Boyd Myers, Founder of AKUA

Ep38: https://impacteverywhere.org

Whether you’re fighting against climate change or concerned about animal welfare, sinking your teeth into a kelp burger is a great place to start. Today we sit with AKUA Founder Courtney Boyd Myers, a visionary whose company promotes sustainable agriculture. As an added bonus, her ocean farming practices keep fishermen employed without harming sea creatures. Having had great success with her first product, kelp jerky, Courtney and her team wanted to create something bigger and better— enter the kelp burger. To kick our conversation off, Courtney talks about the magic behind kelp and its sea vegetable superpowers.

After hearing about its nutritional benefits, and why it’s planet-friendly, we then dive into Courtney’s history in the food industry. She tells us about the lessons she learned from the startup world, as well as how to create a profitable business while remaining ethical. Toward the end of the episode, we turn away from AKUA’s sustainable food mission to look at Courtney’s life in more detail. She opens up about her history, shares valuable tips, and talks to us about lessons she’s learned and mistakes she won’t make again. So join us and sink your teeth into this episode at one of the following links:

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Key Points From This Episode

The environmental and ethical benefits of kelp through AKUA

○ Kelp as a product has a carbon-negative supply-chain. It can grow in an ocean environment, doesn’t require freshwater or soil, and sequesters carbon while it grows.
○ Personal nutrition — it is absolutely full of vitamins and minerals
○ Growth of new income streams: the demand for kelp gives fishermen income while lessening the need to actually fish. Additionally, AKUA is working with Salt Sisters, who employ women in recovery to farm kelp.

Why you need to check out AKUA’s Kelp Burger

It’s all in the texture and nutrients. The Kelp Burger is more of a whole food burger than others — as well as more satiating and interesting. Instead of trying to mimic the taste of meat, it utilizes an umami flavor from mushrooms and kelp to give an entirely new experience while retaining a texture similar to meat. It has less weird ingredients than Beyond Meat or an Impossible Burger. This means that nutritionally, eating the kelp burger is like eating a more interesting version of a salad. Essentially, you could eat it every day without guilt. Finally, it is extremely versatile and could be used to make things like kelp bolognese, kelp nuggets, etc. in the future. Though it isn’t available for retail yet, send Courtney a private message for a secret link to be sent the product before it’s released.

The investing platform you need to check out

AKUA is using an equity crowdfunding platform called Republic. It’s different than other funding platforms like Kickstarter, in that you put in money and are then an investor in the company. It helps build a supportive community around the company that believes in the cause. Courtney constantly has people invest and then reaching out to offer their help. The risk for investors through Republic is small and the returns can be big. Finally, you also don’t need to be an accredited investor, so it gives opportunities to more people.

The best and worst parts of being a community builder

○ Worst: There are people out there that will take advantage of you because they see you doing things for others — you need to build boundaries so other people don’t think you’re always available to do favors for them.
○ Best: if your project doesn’t work out, you always have people to fall back on as a safety net for support or to get a new job — you can basically never fail.

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Tweetables

“Kelp is truly a magical sea vegetable. It’s just full of so many vitamins and minerals and, of course, it helps us fight climate change.” — @CBM[0:01:40]

“The big elephant in the room of the better-for-you food industry is that these products are not necessarily better for the planet. And the packaging that they’re in is certainly not better for the planet.” — @CBM[0:08:02]

“Our kelp burger does mimic the texture of a burger. It’s pretty meaty. But the taste profile doesn’t reflect meat — you’re going to think it’s vegetarian.” — @CBM[0:14:52]

“I joke that nutritionally, it is like eating a salad but it’s obviously way more fun and delicious. You can eat the kelp burger every single day. It’s really an amazing product and you can do a lot with it too.” — @CBM[0:15:39]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Benjamin Von Wong
Impact Everywhere
Courtney Boyd Myers on LinkedIn
Courtney Boyd Myers on Twitter
AKUA
The Next Web
Instagram
WeWork
TechCrunch
Salt Sisters/Summit Point Seafood
UPS
Boca Burgers
Republic
Kickstarter
Fidelity.com
public.com
Amazon
Richard Branson
Fast Company
OMGCPG
Roomba
General Assembly
The Art of Questioning
Zoom
Google Hangouts
Summit
Give and Take on Amazon

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