Meet Mitchell, our Corporate Venture Builder who has been an invaluable part of our team for the past 6 months. In this edition, Mitchell shares his unique journey and perspective on his time here at Aimforthemoon. This is his story.
What do goats, skincare formulations, and meat substitutes have in common?
Over the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be an employee in a company for the first time. After being self-employed and having founded 3 companies over 10 years, this was a completely new experience for me. The company I started working for is called Aimforthemoon, quite serendipitous as I see life as one big ambitious moonshot.
In my role as a Corporate Venture Builder, I was able to contribute to various projects right away using both my knowledge and experience as a 3-times founder and freelance innovator. I immediately noticed that, although comfortable with the approach, I was out of depth in the topic. As my companies were either tech-enabled or completely tech-driven, working only within the food-and-agri industry was completely new to me. And as the title said, it took me on a 6-month journey from goats to skincare formulations to meat substitutes.
So, strap in and allow me to share my last 6 months at Aimforthemoon with you.
My first project was set around the valorisation of male goats within the value chain, who compared to female goats only cost farmers money and are, although ever so cutesy, a burden on the farmer’s wallet. We started out learning all about the fundamentals behind this problem, taking us from rules and regulations to details about farmers’ permits, and various food and safety risks. Along the way, we discovered the intricacies of processing while actively validating the existing global market dynamics. This gave us a clear overview of the simple truths causing this situation. In the end, we not only validated exactly how to offer farmers a better price for their male goats, but we also learned how to improve living conditions for the goats.
For another project, I am investigating how the latest developments in consumer behaviour, biotechnology, and regulation influence today’s market for both personal and home care products, and what opportunities these may present. On this project, I’m working closely with my colleague Silvan, with whom I visited a formulator fair in Berlin last month. During our visit, we not only gained detailed insights into the various market drivers but also witnessed firsthand that the seasoned formulators don’t hesitate to enjoy a half-litre at 11:00 am. This experience combined with our extensive desk research, gave us a deeper understanding of the roles that these developments play in the formulators’ balancing act between cost, performance and sustainability across various sub-segments. Setting a clear foundation for our next steps as we ultimately determine where our client will play, and my personal favourite, how they will win.
Finally, I am also busy validating various product-market combinations for a range of up-cycled plant-based ingredients made from side streams. This includes a focus on the development of meat substitutes where we found out that the market for plant-based meat is going through quite an interesting shift towards higher-quality, more sustainable and cleaner products.
In the end, I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter which industry you play. As soon as you uncover and validate the fundamental truths behind a challenge or problem you are well on your way to come up with winning solutions.
As Albert once said; ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions’.
Looking back I’m proud to have adapted so quickly to a completely new topic, and glad to have jumped on the opportunity to join Aimforthemoon. It has been an absolute joy to have worked with such great colleagues, who all supported me in their own way. A truly positive and dynamic culture of like-minded people, connected in their hunger for answers and drive for innovative change.