Eden Brew is making animal-free dairy that is good for humans and good for the planet. The company was co-founded by Main Sequence, CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), Norco (Australia’s biggest dairy co-op) and ex-Woolworths exec, Jim Fader.
In February 2020, I wrote to James Petrie, the CEO of Nourish Ingredients, to explore the idea of making animal-free milk. I wondered how much we could make in Australia if we brewed it using precision fermentation with Australian crops as a feedstock.
For most of my career I was an entrepreneur. In this work, I was constantly trying to convince people to back me and my companies. Those of us who have experienced this, know that the process can be brutal.
I am incredibly proud of what I do and my ego takes a beating when people say ‘No’ to my ideas but I work hard to step back and learn lessons from the experience.
Now I am a VC and can share some observations from the other side of the table that I hope will encourage you to keep going and…
We live in a world that is increasingly taking up renewable energy sources, with solar and wind having the highest growth. However all of these energy sources have an intermittency of supply, the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. So how do we ensure that we have renewable energy available when we need it?
Today this issue of reliable renewables is being address in various ways, pumped hydro is a gold standard where excess electricity is used to pump water back into dams and then used to generate electricity on demand. …
When we were last recruiting for our investment team there was a valuable moment for me. Bill Bartee asked us all to go away and look again at the list of people on our shortlist and look for something different that we thought was interesting and could talk about. It might not be directly relevant to being an investor, but it is intriguing for some reason.
Over the last few years we have seen a tremendous increase in the commercial space sector, with the launch of thousands of small satellites into low earth orbit. These satellites have enabled easier communication to sensors and the internet, and have been a crucial part of the democratising access to global internet services as well as planetary data. If we can understand our planet at a deeper level we can make many more informed decisions as to the human impact on our environment.
In 2017, our team at Main Sequence came together to partner with CSIRO, Australia’s world-renowned science agency, to solve the world’s biggest problems by turning science and research into breakthrough companies.
We were filled with the excitement, ambition and conviction of founders. However, also like the founders we back, our thesis was unproven, relying on a belief that the raw ingredients of Australia’s leading research ecosystem could valuably solve the world’s growing need to do something dramatic to change the shape of humanity’s curve.
I will always associate Nourish board meetings with the smell of roast beef. That smell. It reminds us how important fat is in our food. I’ll tell you why at the end.
The best way to appreciate the value of fat in the kitchen is to try to imagine cooking without it. What would vinaigrette be without olive oil, sausage without pork fat, a baked potato without sour cream, a croissant without butter? Pointless, that’s what. Without the flavours and textures that fat makes possible, food would be immeasurably less pleasurable to eat. …
At the start of a company’s life, everything is fragile and yet this is completely ignored in many research commercialisation programs.
Technology transfers are taken out of the hands of the people that ‘carry the flame’ of the idea into the hands of a professional commercialisation officer who ‘negotiates the transaction’. These transactions are often brutal, dispassionate and gut the life out of the opportunity before it has begun.
When the company finally begins its journey in the wild, some of it has shrivelled up & died.
For the last 20 years, I have been interested in bringing this to…
Main Sequence is Asia Pacific’s deep-tech venture fund, founded by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. The valuable companies of the next few decades will be those tackling epic problems for a planet in trouble. We believe that the combined force of entrepreneurship + science can solve these problems. Main Sequence challenges, led by specific members of the investment team, guide us to discover, create and fuel companies to deliver these solutions at scale to the planet.
We need to make a lot more food and we’re running out of planet to do it.
According to the World Resources Institute, there…
I learned a powerful lesson about building science-driven companies whilst leading a session at the CSIRO’s ON Accelerator Program in 2015. It was a good vintage that year, including remarkable companies such as Emesent, RapidAIM and Future Feed as early ideas. On this day, we were talking about pitching and I wanted to show an example of a pitch that created momentum from people that can support the company as advocates, customers and partners.
Useful thoughts from the front line of big science and…