Jordan Wolfe of Cultured Supply
Jordan is the founder of Cultured Supply, a B2B purchasing platform for the bioeconomy. Starting with food and beverage ingredients and products, Cultured Supply is focused on helping companies building more regenerative and localized supply chains direct from the source.
Learn more at https://culturedsupply.com/
Alex Shirazi (00:00):
Thanks for joining us on The Future Food Show. On this episode, we’re excited to chat with Jordan Wolfe. Jordan is the founder of Cultured Supply, a B2B purchasing platform for the BioE economy, starting with food and beverage ingredients and products. Cultured Supply is focusing on helping companies building more regenerative and local supply chain directly from the source. Jordan is an active angel investor in the climate tech space. His primary investment focus is around full stack industrial technology and changing our systems of production from a fairly centralized model to more distributed and sustainable one. Jordan has more than 20 active investments in his portfolio and is also an LP in an early stage venture fund. Prior to being an angel investor, Jordan was the co-founder and CEO of Town Partners, a Detroit based real estate investment and development firm. He started Town Partners in 2013 when the city of Detroit was going through bankruptcy, where he built a commercial real estate portfolio from scratch to more than 500,000 square feet. We cover a lot of interesting information on this episode and look into how cultured supply can help the industry. Jordan, I would like to welcome you to the Future Food Show.
Jordan Wolfe (01:12):
Thanks, Alex. Glad to be here. Excited to to talk further further about what we’re doing.
Alex Shirazi (01:18):
Jordan, I’m really excited to get into cultured Supply, but before we even talk about that, tell me a little bit about your background.
Jordan Wolfe (01:25):
Sure. So I started my career actually on the investing side. So I worked at a firm called Mainsale Partners, and this was back very early in early days of SaaS. And so I kind of cut my teeth at, at, at, at at, at the pri it’s a, it was a private equity fund. Spent a couple years there and learned some great skills, but ultimately knew, you know, I didn’t wanna be in like the structured fund world for a variety of reasons. I, after spending a couple years there, I actually went back to this to Detroit where I’m from originally. And this was actually during the financial crisis and during oh seven, oh eights. And I actually decided to stay in the city at the time because I just, it was something that I was looking for, which was, you know, really kind of meaning a really difficult time for the city.
Jordan Wolfe (02:13):
And I was very interested in, you know, working on some, on problems that had deep meaning for me. And I’m obviously, obviously from Detroit. And so I actually started two nonprofits in Detroit, really focused on attracting young entrepreneurs to kinda help rebuild entrepreneurial community in the city. And through that work, I noticed a really interesting opportunity in real estate. And so I tell people I became an accidental real estate developer. So I started a commercial real estate investment and development firm back in 2000, in 2008, right before the city was going through bankruptcy. And the whole mission behind what we were doing was actually had nothing to do with real estate, I like to say. It was always around how do we move Detroit to a more production oriented economy and, and create more localized supply chains. And so was really focused on economic development.
Jordan Wolfe (03:06):
So we did a lot of work developing space for small businesses, making and designing stuff, I like to say. And the, the investment thesis was though the real estate was, was highly distressed. And so we saw a very unique opportunity as two, my partner and I, two young guys running around to kind of see a unique economic opportunity while having kind of high impact in the local community. And it was pretty crazy. It was you know, at one point we had over 30 commercial buildings in, in the city of Detroit. And, you know, ultimately our vision, our vision was really to create kinda like two Brooklyn Navy yards focused on small businesses making stuff, one around food production and one around consumer goods production and household good production. And that was kind of the vision we had. But we knew in order to do that we would need public, public support, not just private capital.
Jordan Wolfe (03:57):
And so we un we were unable to get the support that we wanted for really the big vision, which would’ve been a really a public private partnership around creating affordable space for small business. But on the fortunate side our investment thesis held true and we, we were, we were able to receive, you know, we were able to earn kinda venture level returns on real estate, which was like a very unique situation. But, so that’s where my interest, honestly, Alex in supply chains all started and kind of what I call our systems of production. And that’s kind of stayed with me you know, for almost a decade now. And and so basically about four years ago, I sold the majority of the portfolio and then just started full-time, full-time angel investing broadly in climate tech and sustainability.
Jordan Wolfe (04:48):
And what happened through that was as I was kind of doing this transition I had my kind of aha moment of where I want, where, where the next chapter and I believe the rest of my career will be. And I listened to this really interesting it was a video, actually, it was a three hour a three hour video by Jeremy Rifkin, which is a, well, he’s a well known professor in macro economist. It was called, it’s called the Third Industrial Revolution. And what was really interesting is he breaks down like these seven major economic revolutions, like starting all the way back to hunt, like hunter gatherer days. And he says it’s like very interesting. He talks about how there are these great economic paradigm shifts where, and that bring together like revolutions in how we communicate and new energy regimes to like change how economic life works.
Jordan Wolfe (05:38):
And it also changes like human consciousness. So like when I heard this, it like completely like blew my mind. It allowed me to like step back from out of the weeds just saying, where are we going as a species and where are we going as an economy? And so he, so like, I won’t go into all the detail, but I thought it was really, really interesting. He explained it, it whereas like the last industrial revolution, so we say, you know, like 20th century in the, in the us you know, the, the new form of communication technology was centralized electricity and the telephone and radio and tv. Our new source of energy was obviously oil. And then our new mode of transport is was obviously the internal, the internal combustion engine for, for transport. And so what he basically like says is because all these three kinda major technologies came together, like the whole centralization of centralization of electricity, oil, and the automobile basically what that did is that enabled kind of the global economy and global trade.
Jordan Wolfe (06:34):
So like our consciousness extended beyond just our own country. And it extended around like other like-minded people around the world. And like that’s where the global trade all started to, to really take form. And so then he, then he says, and this is really was my aha moment on kind of the direction I wanted to go. He said, we’re at the cusp of this kind of third industrial revolution where obviously we have a new communication being the internet a new source of energy being, you know, wind solar delivered on an energy internet, and then these kind new modes of transport, which we won’t get into, but kind of, he talks a lot about autonomous vehicles and autonomous transport. But basically what he said was, these three technologies basically are all gonna like right on top of, you know, you know, the i the IOT networks, it calls it like a central nervous system.
Jordan Wolfe (07:22):
And so what he says is, you know, this is really gonna enable a more distributed, decentralized industrial revolution. And when I kind of like stepped back and looked at that, I kind of became obsessed with it in, in a way. And then he kinda says all of these things coming together is, is what will create, and I love this term, a biosphere consciousness where like our expansion is like people and empathy will be to the entire human race into the entire globe especially around the planet rather than rather than what it was in in, in the previous, yeah, the previous industrial revolution. So that was like setting the stage when I, when I heard that it kind of really informed a lot of my investing to be honest. And so from there, I I, I started writing angel checks mostly through my network and as I mentioned broadly climate tech sustainability.
Jordan Wolfe (08:14):
And I landed on kind of a theme, a theme that I got really excited about over the past three years. And I call it the kinda full stack industrial tech. So it’s this idea going back to this like whole emergence of iot connected hardware that’s gonna transform the way that we make stuff. And so that’s been kind of my investment theme to date. And then during that process is when I came across, you know, the emerging field of synthetic biology and industrial and in, in industrial biotech or biomanufacturing. And this is where my, this is kind of, I just was like blown away because I don’t have a background in science or I’m not an engineer. But I became completely obsessed with just what was going on just so I could understand it. And so everything from biology 1 0 1 videos on, on YouTube meeting with synthetic biology professors and bioprocess engineers just to understand what was going on in the space and how it all works.
Jordan Wolfe (09:09):
And and so like, and what I really realized was, you know, there’s this whole new infrastructure that needs to be built from kind of, you know, biotech 1.0, which largely has been kind of, you know, pharma going from this kinda high, high value, low volume molecule or thing that you’re growing to more of a high volume, lower value thing that you’re growing. And, and so like when I saw that and then I saw all the like really interesting things, stuff happening around, you know, low cost lab, lab automat, lab automation, and computational biology, really like dramatically increasing like the simulation and high throughput of experiments, experiments mixed with like the cost of DNA sequencing, plummeting, you know, faster than Moore’s Law. It was just like this. I was like, whoa, all these things are happening at once. I think we’re just gonna see a, a total like Cambrian explosion of, of invention and innovation.
Jordan Wolfe (09:59):
And I realized that it’s gonna be these breakthroughs that will allow us to really actually, you know, fundamentally change the way that we make stuff. And so, you know, my kind of piece on this was you know, this is actually our chance if we wanna like, create new systems of production to create a more distributed regional, you know, infrastructure to do this. Like by leveraging all these new innovations and novel molecules and chemicals, ingredients and products. And what I realized is this is an opportunity for us to create new supply chains from scratch. And so and so yeah, so that’s, that was really the background that really inspired me, you know, for, for cultured supply. And what I realized that it’s, it’s everything that we wanna see, right? This transformation is all about human health, planetary health, supply chain resiliency, and then what a lot of people don’t really talk much about, which is where I really geek out on, which is local economic development.
Jordan Wolfe (10:54):
Cause the one thing you have, we have to realize is like our last, you know, our, the last generation of infrastructure is, is plugged into this whole this whole network of centralized elec electrification and oil. And so it’s this kind of, I call it like this take make waste way of making things. So you take something deep outta the ground and you have to take whatever you take deep outta the ground, you have to go to where that natural resource is. And moving that to more of a great a grow make reuse model is just like really, really fascinated me. So, you know how my, my my, my question is how can we move from these kinda extractive means of production to more additive means of production? And that was really the, the inspiration behind culture supply.
Alex Shirazi (11:38):
I like that. And maybe we could put a link from that reading that you mentioned earlier into the show notes. I think that could be a, a whole nother discussion itself, but I think that’s a very interesting way how to approach or get to a certain point before we get into cultured supply and exactly what that is. I do wanna talk about Detroit a little bit because on the internet sometimes, you know, we see discussions about Detroit that are, that it’s not such a nice city or that it needs a lot of help. But I have been to Detroit after the 2008 and it’s a really beautiful and now thriving community, and there’s a lot of, maybe I should say the word hipster districts that are, that are super cool. And so maybe tell us a little bit, how is the Detroit culture today?
Jordan Wolfe (12:24):
Oh man, you, you, you’re <laugh> this might take a couple hours now. No, it’s, it’s, it’s a great question. So Detroit’s such a unique place because I think what so what people don’t realize is that, you know, back in the basically twenties, thirties, because of the automobile industry, it was essentially it was the Silicon Valley of, of, of the US because there was so much wealth created there, and then all the supply chains and industries in and around the automobile was created. And so they designed the whole city and the, the automakers lobbied for the city to be designed in a way where, where it’s, it’s massive. So I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it is extremely, extremely large city and it was really one of the few American cities that were ba was based around the single family home.
Jordan Wolfe (13:11):
So what you have there is a very large footprint. And at one time I think there was about 2.2 million people living in the city of Detroit. And then, you know, and, and then it dropped down to about 700,000 people. So basically what you have is you had infrastructure made for 2.2 million people and now it shrunk to 700,000 people. And then you had decades and decades of crime and mismanagement of the city, and then obviously just the deindustrialization of the economy, right? And local production moving out and, and going abroad. And so it really just, it really hollowed out a lot, many parts of the city. And so it’s a very, it’s a very weird situation because you have a large percentage of population that essentially is functionally illiterate and and, and, and is, is facing extreme poverty. And, and that’s at the same city.
Jordan Wolfe (14:03):
And you know, we were kind of part of this movement where you have this vibrant now downtown thanks to like so many great people doing great work with small, you know, new businesses moving in bars, restaurants, just like super good creative energy. And that was like the, I was in the middle of that and like really helping, my goal was to help kind of create some of that energy, I think where, where, where, where my hope of where it would go and where it hasn’t gone. I, I, I use this term, the last thing Detroit needs is more $60 chickens and 15 cocktails <laugh>. And I think that I get it cuz that’s, you know, it’s there, there’s certain market dynamics to that and how, how districts, how dis districts come together and how capital works and how markets work. I mean, that just is a, a portion of it.
Jordan Wolfe (14:50):
But I think think like really foundational work needs to happen there. And there’s been amazing work to improve the city. I just think there, there’s a much longer way to go and many things that we need to do to help a larger portion of the population. And to be honest, that was really kind of our, our underlying mission on the real estate side, right? Cause like we, we need a pathway to put Detroiters back to work and this largely an unskilled workforce. So, so it’s this really weird situation where it’s like there’s great vibrant places, super cool places to hang out, great cr amazing creative energy and then, but then you have this other side. And so there’s some deep foundational problems there that still need to be, still need to be worked on and figured out.
Alex Shirazi (15:31):
I see. Yeah. Well, tha thanks for that overview. And if you’re listening, maybe now is a good time to think about checking out Detroit, whether you just want to visit or, and, and this is not a plug for Detroit in, in any way not a sponsored plug, but I do know that they also have a lot of startup incentives. So if you are thinking about maybe even starting a startup, I’ve also heard that Detroit is not a bad area. So now let’s really get into cultured supply. And for those listening, the links are in the show note, if you haven’t checked it out already, cultured supply.com. Jordan, tell us at a high level what is it and what, what is it that you’re working on at Cultured Supply?
Jordan Wolfe (16:11):
Sure. So so, so it like, very simply it’s a, we’re starting with, it’s a B2B group purchasing platform for emerging f and b companies to really kind of discover, test and purchase more novel bio-based ingredients. So, and what I mean by that is like, it’s, it is not a marketplace. We don’t think of it that way. We think of it much more of a product development engine. So the only suppliers and types of products that we work with or ingredients that we work with are from suppliers that are actually changing our systems of production that I spoke about before. And so it’s like these companies going from an extractive methodology to a more additive. So what within that, that’s companies within biomanufacturing upcycling and more regenerative forms of agriculture. And we’re starting with, you know, food and beverage ingredients
Alex Shirazi (16:56):
And you’re focusing on more novel ingredients. So you wouldn’t necessarily have like soy protein or pea proteins on there unless there was maybe something special about those types of proteins
Jordan Wolfe (17:08):
Generally correct. But we’re now, we’ve just, in the past, past few weeks since we kinda put this, the, the the site up, we’ve been getting requests as well. So we we’re also kind of understanding where the demand levers lie. So we’re also kind of playing matchmaker now a little bit. So if there is demand for that but yeah, that’s not the general focus in what we, what we list, what we list on the site. You know, I think one of the things that to also mention about it, so I’ll give you an example. Cause actually we’re, we’re, we’re speaking to ’em right now, they’re gonna be joining is a, it’s a, a couple that created this kinda mini production facility for artisanal Greek yogurt, right? So yogurt being one of the most original forms of, of fermentation. And but what, what’s interesting about them, it’s not like their actual product is so novel, it’s their method of how they’re not, not only how they’re producing it, but how they wanna distribute the product. So their like vision is to create a network of these many food factories, more regional factories where they’re largely surveying food service and food and beverage companies in and around their in and around where these factories are located. So we’ll be adding additional products like that. And it’s really the common theme is like everyone that we’re working with wants to really fundamentally change the way that like the actual infrastructure on systems and distribution work.
Alex Shirazi (18:26):
I see. Okay. And so that is kind of interesting actually to have that distributed type of facility, right? Something that is also kind of getting us closer to better sustainability practices as well. And that’s a really good example of how maybe that product is novel. You have kind of like two markets here, right? You are marketing towards the buyers and I think you said those are more food service and then you have the the manufacturers which then go into the marketplace. Is that right?
Jordan Wolfe (18:57):
Yeah. E e exactly. So we’re, yep, that’s exactly right. I think, you know, even drilling it down even further, what on the, on the buyer side we, we kinda, we characterize, we characterize it as kind of emerging FB brands that have alternative distribution models. And what I mean by that is they have a direct relationship with their customer. And so in the, the reason why that’s really important is because they don’t have to go through the traditional wholesale model for purchasing their product. It’s a really important point, which we’ll talk about. So this would include things like virtual brands, ghost kitchens, you know multi-unit, fast casual restaurants, hotel hospitality, and also CPG companies that have real like regenerative ingredients as core and part of their ethos as well. But it’s a really important part cause these companies have three things like that are that, that in common with them. They have a direct relationship with the customers I mentioned they have unit economics and the business model that can handle some of these higher cost ingredients. And and then lastly, this is like really where the big, a big hiccup in the market that we see is, is they actually have chefs and the artists on, on their team to really handle a lot of this product development. So that’s one of the big gaps we see in the market now is people wanna use these ingredients, they just don’t know how to use them.
Alex Shirazi (20:19):
I see. Okay. And you, and you, you might even not only kind of show how to use them but also introduce them to maybe products they had not thought about that could benefit them in some way.
Jordan Wolfe (20:29):
That’s exactly right. And that’s exactly right. And I, you know, one example I like to give, which, which is like one of my, one of my I can’t say too much about it yet cause we’ll have some news hopefully in the next couple months coming out it, but essentially like if you think about these new models of kind digital first dining and and like a concept of a virtual virtual brand or a virtual food hall, what these companies really allow for, which is like, this is changing the game around product development is they can go from test kitchen to testing something with their consumer base and their customer base within six weeks. Traditional f and b companies, they might have a year and a half or two year long development cycles. And so when you think about this, this is, this is much more working with buyers programmatically saying, Hey, I wanna incorporate more regenerative ingredients and these more new novel forms, the work with suppliers, these novel forms of production. And I actually can do things like spin up a cow burger concept or an upcycle bakery, and I can do this in a way that I can test stuff in a very iterative fashion. If it works, great, we can kinda continue to grow that. If it doesn’t work, you know, then we can continue to try, continue to try things that kind of push the envelope and help them differentiate in the market.
Alex Shirazi (21:41):
Great. And I guess on either side of the marketplace, whether you’re supplying or buying, what are some of the minimum quantities that you’re looking at? Is there a minimum?
Jordan Wolfe (21:53):
Yep. So it’s a really, it’s a really good question. So this is kind of part of the whole, the it the minimum’s different product by product. So you can go look there’s, we have a handful of products with our beta with on our beta platform that you can check out, but they’re, they’re largely anywhere. It’s a total purchase, it can be as low as, so it’s, they’re not very large purchases. And so the, the idea also being that we believe that this movement, if we wanna change the system we want is gonna be, it needs to be more of a bottoms up movement rather than a top down. And that’s kind of what we wanna help enable and help create. So it’s gonna be these companies that wanna start building with each other’s ingredients and create the products and, and doing it in a way where they can access smaller volumes. And because we’re dealing with several buyers and we’re working with the suppliers directly we have the ability to like, for them to actually fulfill some of these smaller orders.
Alex Shirazi (22:51):
Okay, cool. And so you’ve launched the beta and marketplace is starting to fill up. What’s next for you? Is it building up and, and refining and maybe I I should say that this question is more short term. So what’s next in the short term?
Jordan Wolfe (23:06):
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. So there’s there’s kind of three things in the, in the, in the immediate and immediate short term. One is we will be adding, so like I said, we’re, we’re very programmatic in how we’re adding the suppliers. Cause obviously all this stuff takes time. So we’ll be adding additional suppliers like over the next few months. But this is not something, this is not about a volume game of suppliers, right? That’s not what we’re trying to do. So we’ll be adding select suppliers and then we are gonna be working with, the goal is to build up a network of buyers that wanna work in a more programmatic sense. And what I mean by that, it’s not like these one-off ingredient purchases, it’s these, these companies that wanna get into this flow of starting to incorporate these ingredients in these products, in these products on their menu.
Jordan Wolfe (23:51):
So our goal over the next few months is gonna be is gonna be start launching some of these basically relationships and concepts with the, with, with a few of the buyers. And then the, the other thing that we’re doing in, in the background, which we’ll we’ll talk more about later, it’s it’s really about value chain mapping. So we’re, we’re doing a lot of grunt work on the backend of mapping inputs and outputs of specific value chains. And the first one that we’re gonna be launching, we’ll be around alg. So if you think about a very easy to use resource, if you wanna incorporate algae anywhere along your value chain and you wanna build with algae the ability to easily find source and procure that based upon the thing that you need within the algae.
Alex Shirazi (24:36):
I asked this question because a lot of times on this show, we are looking to be free of animal products. Is your focus to be completely animal free or would you have animal based products on there as well, not including, you know, cell cultured?
Jordan Wolfe (24:54):
Yep, we will. We, we, we will have, I mean, we’re not restricted non animal based products, so it’s a, like I said, this is like a really important distinction, which, you know, you won’t really see. It’ll come, it’ll come through over time with really what we’re trying to do. It’s really, and like, this is why I put more like regenerative agriculture in there as well, is like, this is really a, about just changing from these big centralized, industrialized ways to make things to much more regionalized ways, to basically to, to really to basically not only make things but also distribute. So we are not, we won’t be, we won’t necessarily be animal free, for instance, this this yogurt producer that we’re working with is not animal
Alex Shirazi (25:35):
Okay. And, I guess, you know, looking at the long term, what can this become?
Jordan Wolfe (25:42):
Yeah, it’s <laugh>, we have, we have a, a pretty big vision for what, for what, for what this would be. But I, I always say, you know, our dream would be what I call kind of one click production for lack of better term, where it’s like, if you’re someone that wants to build with nature to easily search and find the inputs available to be able to source those inputs in your supply chain from the source closest to you, and make that as easy as possible for people to do the right thing, that’s kind of our, that’s our north star. And there’s a lot, there’s many gaps in the market. We’re learning every day and there’s a lot that needs to be built to, to get there, but that’s the, that’s the future we wanna help create.
Alex Shirazi (26:21):
I think as, as consumers looking in, sometimes we think, why is my produce not grown locally, for example? And then when you look a little bit deeper into the food system, you’ll see that it was never necessarily built up to be efficient in that type of way. And so I think what you guys are doing is, is really kind of setting our ingredient manufacturers up for a future that, you know, maybe we should have thought about earlier, but now is our time to create that. And you’re starting to see that more with some indoor farms or vertical farms that are being built right outside of major cities or, or hubs. Outside of Davis in California here we have something called Gotham Greens, and they’re growing different types of right now leafy greens and, and those are sold to local markets. And, and I think in the future, a restaurant or a brand or CPG manufacturer might be able to go to cultured supply and say, I need this, this, or that ingredient and these are the ingredients that are close to me or are exactly what I need, or whatever it may be. So that’s a very cool vision.
Jordan Wolfe (27:26):
Yeah, and I think, I think something that I I I, I talk a lot about, we didn’t even, you know, I think all this was by the way, informed by like the, the, the, you know, the, the problem that I keep seeing happen with, with a lot of these ingredient providers today. There’s a reason, there’s a very strategic reason why we’re starting with this kinda idea of kinda the, the direct rep purchasing and but you know, basically what what I, two things that I found I think is important to, to, to note, like kind of the major blockers that, that we see in the food industry. It’s like obviously as, as anyone in the space knows is like volumes too low, prices are too, prices are too high. And so there’s a scalability issue here, right? And so in the, in the, in the, a lot of, for my investing activity a lot of the conversations around with product focused companies was they, like they, they’re, they’re making something novel or, or new, a new, let’s just say an alternative protein.
Jordan Wolfe (28:21):
And then basically they raised some money and then they, they started to grow, maybe they started to sell it, they started to get at a pilot, like pilot scale, and then they’re like, okay, I need to raise another round to get to commercial production. I’m gonna go to the large corporates. I need to get the, the VA market validation or a supply contract so I can raise my next round of funding to build my production capacity. And the large corporate saying that the same thing over and over again, which is like, okay, I’ll take as much as you, I I I needed a lot of this stuff at a much lower price, so you need to scale up your production capacity before, before we, we can actually do business together. And so there’s this constant chicken and egg and I get it because scale matters so much in production. And so this was kind of part of the way that one of the things that, that we identified is like, well, we need to start pulling some of this demand forward in a more bottoms up way. Rather than having to go to that large corporate or that large to get that strategic investment to go into that like traditional I guess system of, I guess, you know, wholesale distribution and, and the technology that was based upon the last, this last industrial revolution.
Alex Shirazi (29:30):
I’m not sure if you’ve publicly announced, but do you have any plans for fundraising for cultured supply in the near term?
Jordan Wolfe (29:36):
Nothing in the near term. You know, to to, to be candid, we’re, you know, it’s all self-funded and we have a great team working on it. And you know, I think what we’re really focused on is what we’re doing is what we’re doing is that easy <laugh>, of course. But it wouldn’t be fun if, if it was, and, but, so this really, these first six months that we’re like really jamming is, is really about really continuing to listen to both the needs of both the suppliers and also and more important and also important the buyers. And so one of the things that we, that we launched alongside these kinda hand, you know, the handful of beta suppliers and campaigns is a, is a procurement hotline. So what we’ve found has been very interesting is we started having companies reach out to us with their, like their, their procurement and sourcing needs. So we’re starting to understand a little bit more where demand levers lie. And what’s interesting about that is then it allows us to start thinking about, you know, when you think about, you know, buyers in, in, in, in, in, in, in aggregating buyers doing it obviously by product and by geographic region. Cause that’s actually something really, really important. You can’t kinda have a spray and play approach to this and, and it be successful.
Alex Shirazi (30:50):
I see. I want to know that our audience has listeners that are in cell cultured meat companies, pre precision fermentation companies. What pitch would you make to them to join the platform?
Jordan Wolfe (31:05):
Yeah, I would, I, I would say, you know, it, for me it’s very, it’s very simple, which is I think that from all the conversations I had, the people that everyone that’s been get from the variety of backgrounds that have been, the reason why they’ve got got involved in this type of work is they wanna truly make an impact, obviously on both human and human and planetary health. We have to change the way that we make things, especially as it relates to especially as, as it relates to how we treat livestock and, and, and, and looking at alternative sources of protein. And one of the things that I say is, if we wanna create system level change that lasts for generations and generations, I believe, and if we wanna see a systems of production that benefit local communities and that, that that can actually change the way that how we get more fresh and more nutritious food to people’s plates I believe it’s gonna have to be done.
Jordan Wolfe (32:09):
It’s all these things will, will take time. But I believe that a big portion of this is a bottoms up approach. So I think that if you wanna be part of a group of a community of people that are really looking to change the way, not only that we make stuff, but how kind of the underlying distribution for that works, then I would highly encourage them to come to, to, to come take a look at what we’re doing. And I, it, it’s a really important thing and I’ll, I’ll give you a little tangent here because this, this was very, this played a very, it’s always been in my head for literally, literally almost a decade. So my, my, my wife who I mentioned was is from France originally when she moved to Detroit, she started ma she started her own chocolate lava cake company, so full, no in French, and she had this great little business, she started selling at the farmer’s markets, and then it just started growing from there.
Jordan Wolfe (33:04):
Then she started doing catering, then Air France picked her up and her cakes were served on, on the airplane between Fra Detroit in, in Paris. And this, it just started growing. And then she came to this, this impasse where she had to make the decision, do I wanna get bigger distribution? And so she decided to go get bigger distribution at, with a, a group of local and regional supermarkets. But the only way she could do that is she had to go through the traditional wholesale, the, the traditional wholesale model. And in order to do that and make the numbers work appropriately, she had, she would need to sacrifice some of the quality and ingredients and it was something that she was not willing to do. And so I, I realized that a lot, especially the CBG companies, but if you’re a food company working in this space where margins are already tight and you’re kind of left with two, two options right now, if you want any type of real distribution, you’re left with a direct to consumer approach, which is a whole different thing, which is just becoming more and more difficult to make the numbers work or you’re, you have to go through the wholesale distribution model and it’s, you know, I call it the 50 50 model where everyone needs to make their 50 or even 30% margin to get on, to get, to get on the shelves of the retailers.
Jordan Wolfe (34:21):
And like, and then the companies don’t have any other choice. And so like, I don’t believe that we’re gonna, we can create system level change through that model. I actually believe that where the big hiccup comes is at the distribution level. And if you think about it, it’s because the, the way that distribution works, it’s connected to this last, like, I’m gonna go back to what I started with this last generation of, of systems of production that’s based upon centralization of electrification and oil. And so it’s, it’s not based upon the distribution’s, not based upon servicing a more distributed regional infrastructure. And so I think that’s where the challenge is. And by the way, I think that challenge is in the same for all industry, not just food and beverage. So I think that is where the big problem that I see. And so that’s part of the problem. We wanna help, we wanna help with, okay, maybe can we, can we create a, a better system? And I think the right way to start with this is, like I said, getting the products in the hands of the chefs and the companies that have direct relationships with their customers that have scale and have the ability to rapidly rapidly prototype and try different products on their menus. I like that.
Alex Shirazi (35:37):
And you know, it’s early and now I’m hungry for some lobster cakes. So <laugh>,
Jordan Wolfe (35:42):
They were pre they’re pretty good
Alex Shirazi (35:44):
Man. Jordan, thank you so much for joining us. You can check out Jordan on LinkedIn. Jordan Wolf and Cultured Supply is currently live in, I guess a beta email@example.com and we’ll put those links in the show note. Jordan, do you have any last insights for our listeners today?
Jordan Wolfe (36:02):
The last thing I would say is, you know, we we’re, we’re, we’re just having, we’re having a lot of fun and you know, I think when you’re working on, when you’re working on such, I think, important problem and, and working on kind of how do we help create better systems for, for generations that come, it’s just really energizing and I encourage anyone to reach out, you know, we’re constantly learning, we’re making mistakes just like everyone’s making mistakes. And so, you know, we wanna understand, you know, and and connect with other like-minded people because if, if, if we’re gonna really use this seminal moment of the, these breakthroughs in, in science and technology and engineering to like actually create systemic change, I just think a lot of it is gonna come from a more bottoms up movement. And anyone look that’s looking to be a part of that, we’d love to talk and chat further and, and see what we can, how we can create value together.
Alex Shirazi (36:51):
Great. Jordan, thank you so much for being on the show.
Jordan Wolfe (36:53):
Alex Shirazi (36:55):
This is your host, Alex, and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode.
This program was produced by Aych Media.