Looking for People Interested in Exploring Plant-Based Startups

I’m con­sid­er­ing found­ing a plant-based meat startup and would love to be con­nected to any­one who is in­ter­ested in fur­ther re­search­ing this with me (bio at the end). I’m cur­rently re­search­ing this op­tion pri­mar­ily with Daniel Gast­friend and Joan Gass, two grad stu­dents at Har­vard and Stan­ford who are also con­sid­er­ing it, so re­ply­ing to this post will in­tro­duce you to a group of in­di­vi­d­u­als ex­plor­ing this idea.

To be clear, I’m in the very early stages of re­search­ing op­tions and I may do other things, de­pend­ing on how promis­ing it looks. If I do pur­sue this op­tion, I’ll finish my mas­ters pro­gram in May 2018 and plan on work­ing on it af­ter that.

I’m highly un­cer­tain about what product to cre­ate and ex­pect that my ideas will change con­sid­er­ably as I learn more. How­ever, I lean to­wards do­ing:

  • Chicken or fish, un­less a great op­por­tu­nity el­se­where emerges, due to the greater suffer­ing of an­i­mals caused by these prod­ucts

  • Plant-based meats, as op­posed to clean meat or cell cul­tured prod­ucts, due to my per­cep­tion of sci­en­tific fea­si­bil­ity and time horizons

  • Prod­ucts with a high coun­ter­fac­tual im­pact (i.e. prod­ucts that ap­peal to meat eaters and flex­i­tar­i­ans, as op­posed to ve­g­ans and veg­e­tar­i­ans)

  • Meats that have a high profit mar­gin, as this will be more likely to be prof­itable and scal­able

  • Meats that could plau­si­bly be repli­cated with tasty & cost-com­pet­i­tive plants

  • In­sti­tu­tional sales, as op­posed to sel­l­ing di­rectly to con­sumers, due to a more fa­vor­able in­dus­try analysis

  • Prod­ucts un­likely to be cre­ated through cell cul­tured al­ter­na­tives in the near term

We’re open to help from any­one who is in­ter­ested, no rele­vant back­ground nec­es­sary. I’m es­pe­cially ex­cited about peo­ple who meet any of the fol­low­ing crite­ria, but don’t feel put off if you don’t meet many of them (or any!):

  • Work/​aca­demic ex­pe­rience in food sci­ence, cel­lu­lar agri­cul­ture, an­i­mal is­sues, or any food-re­lated field

  • Share EA values

  • Have done “big” things be­fore, i.e. have a demon­strated track record of im­pact and suc­cess. This can be in any field.

  • Have demon­strated “grit.” This means that you have done very hard things over a sus­tained pe­riod of time.

  • Prior ex­pe­rience with star­tups, ven­ture cap­i­tal, or entrepreneurship

  • Public speak­ing, writ­ing, mar­ket­ing, and/​or me­dia skills

  • So­cial skills, man­age­ment ex­pe­rience, and/​or able to work well with peo­ple of di­verse back­grounds and skill sets

  • Peo­ple who I would per­son­ally work well with—I’m very nice/​fun/​cool, I promise! :)

If you would con­sider do­ing a pro­ject like this, please shoot me an email at scott dot weath­ers at mail dot har­vard dot edu or send me a mes­sage on Face­book. If pos­si­ble, please provide a bit of in­for­ma­tion about how strongly you are con­sid­er­ing this idea, when you’d want to do it, and any other ideas you may have!

Lastly, please also share with your friends and col­leagues, as it has very high ex­pected value.

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About Me: I’m cur­rently a grad stu­dent in global health at Har­vard. I’ve helped start a GiveWell in­cu­ba­tion non-profit that fo­cuses on SMS re­minders for vac­cines and con­vinced Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans to sup­port global health leg­is­la­tion dur­ing the Obama ad­minis­tra­tion. This past spring, I coau­thored an open let­ter on fac­tory farm­ing to the WHO, which earned nearly 300 ex­pert sig­na­to­ries and was pub­lished in the New York Times. My work has been pub­lished or dis­cussed in the New York Times, Guardian, Vox, Huffing­ton Post, NowThis, and more. You can get a sense of my re­sume on LinkedIn and the things I think about on Twit­ter.