24: From Tobacco to Steaks - Dana Yarden's Biotech Journey to Turn Tobacco into Natural Bioreactors
BioBetter is an Israeli Agri/FoodTech start-up founded in 2015 by Oded Shoseyov, Avi Tzur, and Dana Yarden. Their headquarters are currently located in Israel's northernmost city, Kiryat Shmona. The company employs 40 people, and to date has raised over $16.5 million.
Dana Yarden, co-founder of BioBetter, holds an MD and an MBA from Tel-Aviv University in Israel. She has led an impressive career as a business leader and manager during her 18 years working in the Life Science and Biotech Industry. Dana's vision for BioBetter is to help contribute to the future of molecular farming.
In her words: "My personal vision is harnessing the power of molecular farming to drive sustainable solutions and propel it as a growth engine for Israel. I envision a future where molecular farming plays a pivotal role in revolutionizing agriculture and transforming the way we produce vital resources. Through my work, I aspire to contribute to the development and adoption of molecular farming as a sustainable solution, creating a positive impact on both local and global scales."
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How does BioBetter work?
BioBetter capitalizes on the natural advantages of tobacco plants to turn them into bioreactors and produce specific growth factors (GFs). They can do this selecting the specific genome of a desired growth factor and inserting it into the tobacco plant. The tobacco plant is selected and breed in open fields, using renewable energy.
After growing, the plants are harvested and the GF of interest is extracted and purified. This creates a GF that is completely animal free and made through sustainable energy sources.
Why do we need growth factors:
Growth factors are an essential component of the cultivated mean industry. Cultivated meat is real animal meat that is produced by harvesting the stem cells from the animal, and then growing those cells using GFs to create the protein tissue. This means that the meat can be produced without the need for animals to be raised in farms, cutting carbon costs and agriculture pollution (source: https://gfi.org/science/the-science-of-cultivated-meat/).
The cultivated meat industry was first unveiled in 2013. Since then there are more than 150 cultivated meat companies, backed by $2.6 billion in investments (source: https://gfi.org/resource/cultivated-meat-eggs-and-dairy-state-of-the-industry-report/).
Currently growth factors can be very expensive, due to the high energy costs and the challenges of producing and harvesting. This has been a major limiting factor on the growth of the cultivated meat industry. BioBetter aims to produce high quality GFs for a low cost, through more sustainable means. Improved access to GFs is an essential step in the future of cultivated meats.
In this episode we address the following questions:
Can you introduce yourself? 2:18
How long does it take to use the tobacco plants? 7:15
What is needed to create cultivated meat? 9:29
How many growth factors are you making? 11:50
Do you need FDA approval for these products? 12:20
What is the current standing of your company? 14:00
What is the price point for the growth factors? 16:30
What needs to change to accelerate this field? 22:03
Do you feel that the excitement around the cultivated meat industry has cooled down in the last few years? 28:00
What kind of challenges do you need to overcome in the scaling up phase? 31:00
Do you need to raise more funds? 32:30
What is your driving force in founding companies? 33:10
If you could improve one thing in the world, what would it be? 34:15
Are there any books/podcasts that you inspired your journey? 35:00
How can people get in touch with you? 38:10
Memorable quotes from the episode by Dana:
"Tobacco has more protein even than soy. If you take out the nicotine, the alkaloid molecules, you have a very good plant."
"Sometimes when you see a new technology, and you want to see the forecasts, you can not really see what will accelerate it or not."
"Once we understand what to do and how to do it, it will accelerate very fast."
"We need to look at it as more of a holistic solution, rather than one company solving it, otherwise we will not make a solution."
"It's a marathon, not a sprint. We need to know how to maintain our energies all the time because it's [the industry advancement] not going to happen all in one day"
"Try not to look at love as a feeling, but more as a principle. This is something I am trying to practice in my life. Emotion can come and go, but a principle is constant."
"Working in our industry, every day is a battle with your ego. If you success, if you fail, it comes down to how you come with this."
Website BioBetter: https://biobetter.bio/
Contact : linkedin.com/in/danayarden
Transcript based on AI and beta- status:
You are listening to Sustain Now. In this podcast, you will learn from successful entrepreneurs and scientists about the newest climate change solutions to address the climate crisis, from food and agri-tech over energy material innovation to circular economy. This nonprofit podcast is hosted by Frederica. She is a tech entrepreneur and climate enthusiast. You can find show notes and background information on wwwSustainNowch. Enjoy the show.
In today's episode, I'm speaking with Dana Yardin, co-founder of BioBetter. Their vision is to solve one of the biggest bottlenecks in advancing cultivated meat to mass production. They have invented a new way of creating growth factors, cheaper and faster, for the cultivated meat industry. Biobetter harnesses the inherent advantages of tobacco plants, turning them into natural bioreactors. They grow in open fields, using renewable energy as a sustainable source for animal-free growth factors in other proteins. Founded in 2012 and incorporated in 2015, the company pivoted from products for farmer industry to producing growth factors for the cultivated meat industry. They employ 40 people, raise 16 million US dollars so far and are based in Israel. I had a really enjoyable conversation with Dana, not only about the future of food tech, but also how empathy and love can bring us more together on a journey to solve the climate crisis. Thank you so much for joining my podcast, sustainnow.
Dana Yarden :1:47
Thank you so much for having me.
We just had a little bit of recording problem. Sometimes it's well funny for the listeners, like you know. You start and have a great conversation and you realize you haven't hit the record button. It's so typical. But I'm very excited to have you on my show and we will talk a lot about the future of food and as well what needs to be done to get cultivated meat off the ground, and it would be really great if you can just introduce yourself as a little challenge. It would be great if you can, you know, introduce yourself like you would be at a party where no one understands biotech or food tech. So it would be great if you can just in a few sentences who you are.
Dana Yarden :2:26
Sure, so it's basically very easy for me. I'm working in the biotech industry for almost two decades. I started medicine. I was sure that I'm going to be a psychiatrist, but at the end of the process I decided not to practice and I studied also an MBA and I fell in love with all the business development activities in the area of biotechnology. I worked many years for the pharma drug development industry. To be honest, I just encountered the food tech just recently. Three years ago, while working on my startup called BioBetter, we were approached by a cultivated meat company asking us if we can use our platform for what they need in their process. So now I explain a little bit what it means. So Professor Adetro Sayov is my co-founder on the scientific part, is a renowned professor in all that related to genetic engineering and molecular biology, and for many years he is working on molecular farming. What it means molecular farming is that, in order to produce proteins, you can use different vectors Some use bacteria, some use yeast, some use my own cells. Professor Sayov decided to use plants, and specifically tobacco plants. We worked together on a company with other company that founded, called Colt Plant, which produces collagen in tobacco plants, and then we decided to do all the other proteins in our company. So we founded BioBetter together with our first investor. He's coming from the tobacco field, really wanted to do something with tobacco called Avitzur. He was pushing us towards doing something with the tobacco. For the first few years 2017 to 2020, we produced an antibody, a drug, but during the COVID we had encountered some issues with raising money and then, as I said, the Calvary Mid Company came to us and asked us. So what we are basically doing? If I try to make it as simple as possible, we are using an organism that is able to produce proteins, such as ourselves. We are engineering the genetics in a way that will make the organism specifically produce our protein. We are doing it in tobacco plants. So if we want, for example, to make insulin, which is very important in the cultivated meat arena, we introduce to the genome of the plant the insulin gene and then we grow the plant and the plant grow the insulin for us After we harvest it. Now the challenge is to extract the insulin from the other proteins that are being naturally produced in the tobacco plant, and then we are using our own patented way to extract this protein.
If I understood it correctly, you kind of take the seed of tobacco and there you genetically modify the DNA of that seed, where you say please produce insulin, and then you plant it, it grows like it really grows like a normal tobacco plant, and then you harvest, so you cut it and then you extract it with a certain way where you can extract that insulin back Right exactly Use it as a small bioreactor or a small like factory to produce our protein.
Dana Yarden :5:58
And what's beautiful about our method? In general, the method of using it's called constitutive growing of the plants. It means that you can grow it in the ground, so it only requires air, sun and water, and then you grow it. So it's very easy. You don't need very sophisticated for this part of it. You don't need sophisticated bioreactors, machineries or a lot of infrastructure in order to do it. So it's very, very easy, relatively easy. So I personally I admire molecular farming. I admire using plants to produce other proteins for us humans and plants are very similar in many ways. Plants can make very complicated proteins, as opposed to yeast or bacteria that are less capable in doing so. So this is why I also really, really like this kind of super interesting.
I actually had on my podcast someone here from Switzerland who's using cannabis, the cannabis plant, to create proteins, so it's it's very interesting to learn more about what actually you can do and I really like that word as he said, like using the plant as kind of a biorector. I can also imagine that tobacco is a very fast growing plant, so you probably don't need like a lot of, is it one, two, three months? Yeah, so tobacco, it's a very, very interesting.
Dana Yarden :7:22
It has a lot of advantages. It's a very interesting plant. So, yes, you are correct, 100%. Because it has up to four cycles a year. It grows very fast, it's not very spoiled and you're able to do even one or two cycles within the same period of time. So you cut it and continue growing and then you cut it again. The biomass is very big. All the biomass is accumulated in the leaves themselves, so you contain a lot of biomass for the protein. As opposed to other technologies that they use it, the seeds to do it, the fact that it's not a feed and food crop in our case is very advantageous in terms of it's very bitter, so there's no real risk that an animal or human will consume it, so it's also an advantage. So tobacco is a very nice. You use it for the good things. It can be a very good plant. Yeah, we know now that the tobacco contains a lot of good proteins, even more than soy. If you take out the nicotine part of it, if you take out the alkaloid molecules that part of them are the nicotine, you have a very good feed, protein and plant, and this is something that we are going also to explore in a company what to do with the side stream. So we want to take out the nicotine and use the side stream of the tobacco to feed the cells, because it fills with amino acid and mineral, so it can also be used as a media for the cell.
Let's exactly dive there a little bit into it. Probably most of my listeners won't really. They have all heard about cultivated meat, but probably none of them really including me totally understand the whole process, so I don't know how far you can actually explain that to us. Is how do you grow? Is exactly what you said your cell mass. Of course you take something from a cow, you take a cell, you try to grow it and you try to grow a certain mass in a certain scale to actually make a burger or whatever out of it in the end. But, as you described at the beginning, you need a lot of extras, like you said, insulin is there. What else do you need?
Dana Yarden :9:29
actually to create that? Yeah, so I'll explain Basically what you're doing. You're taking the cells. As you said, there are different possibilities for the origin of the cells, so let's keep it aside. But you take the cells and you practically need to grow them outside of the body. You need to nurture them as if they were in the body and to give them the right conditions. So of course, it's a matter of temperature and then you know, and humidity and everything but a part of that. You need to bring the basic sugar, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. But the complicated issue is that these cells, they need managers, they need someone to tell them now proliferate, now differentiate, now. They need to have some kind of control and usually in the body it's called growth factors or serums, hormones or others that are being produced and managing what's going on with the cells, to make it a whole organ or to make it a A steak, yeah, A muscle structure. I needed the word tissue. You need to make it a whole tissue. You know you have the cells and then you make a tissue. So then you need these growth factors and this is a complicated protein that being used today mainly for pharma or for R&D research, and most of them are very pure and are GMP. So the cost is very, very high and also the availability is very low, because if you wanted to do it for you know some experiments, you need small amount of it, but if you want to produce tons of tons of meat, you need tons of tons of growth facts, and this is exactly where we get in. So the basic is the media. It's all the amino acids, the vitamins, the other goodies that are needed for the cells, the temperature, the humidity, all that and on top of that, all these complicated like, say, growth factors that are needed and, of course, the machinery that you need, the shear force that you need If you're using a 3D printer. Every cultivate meat company and their own process.
Okay, super interesting. And so you're creating these growth factors. Is it just one? Is it two or three?
Dana Yarden :11:54
The GFI published few that are very important. We picked for now four that we are concentrating on, but we will expand our pipeline moving forward. For now we are basically concentrated with FGF transferring and insulin and also TGF beta and this is the most, I think, important growth factors that are needed.
Do you also need like an FDA approval if that gets used for cultivate meat etc?
Dana Yarden :12:24
So it's very complicated. We need to explore it right now, mainly with the recent advancement of upside food and good meat that received grass and USDA approval. We explore that right now, but I have to say that basically it's the same. We need to make sure that we prove that our growth factors are safe to be used in food. So there are basic parameters that we need to make sure that we keep. For example, we are now finalizing the establishment of a food grade production plant. Means that all the materials and everything is built yeah, according to ease of 22,000 and then we will have a set of specification that we will work according to it and will release the batches of the growth factor according to it will make sure that the amount of nicotine and anabasin are, as I mentioned before, are very low, that there are no endotoxin, no, the sterility is there. So we are working. We don't know exactly if it will be a grass submission, which is something that you do with the FDA, or it will be another format, but we will make sure that our clients will get the food grade growth factors that they need for their process.
Maybe that's a good thing to first start as well into your like your company. How far are you like? Are you already have the product on the market? Can a cultivated meat company already buy it, or are you still, you know, in the research phase? So where are you right now? Are you market ready already, like just to get an understanding how big you are and where you're standing in that scaling up phase.
Dana Yarden :14:08
So we are scaling up exactly now, going from lab scale or small scale to a large scale, without new facility, which I hope we can announce in September this year. We need to accomplish several tasks, but we hope to start sell our first in line, which is the FGF 2, at the beginning of 2024. Until then, we made a lot of progress in terms of agriculture. We already planted more than five dunams of FGF in different locations. What is that, doonams? I don't know. How do you, how do you? Hectares? You say hectares in Hectares, yeah, hectares In our. It's a. I don't know how to make the exact translation. Yeah, but if it's 1000, I think one dunam is 1000 meter squared meter. So we planted several plants, several areas, and I can share with you later on some photos. We are growing and expanding this part.
Do you plant inside or outside? So is it.
Dana Yarden :15:09
So in Israel you can do it for experimental use. You can do it in net houses, which are practically net, that you know, protecting it from insects. It's practically open field. So it's not a greenhouse, it's not very complicated facility. This is what we're trying to do. We are trying to produce these growth factors as cheap as possible. So using farmers to grow it for us is an agriculture supply, and then we have a very simple, straightforward, patented purification method that is also cheap and we are able to extract the proteins from it. So now we are in the phase that we are growing it in the ground in a way that we will do it in the future, and opening our facility, making sure that we are able to scale to a large machinery. We are scaling up to be able to process 100 kilograms of leaves a day. Again, I'm not sure you are using pounds, we are using kilograms.
We're using kilograms too, ok, so yeah.
Dana Yarden :16:14
OK, OK, that's good.
So I read somewhere that you want to offer that growth factors for was it one dollar per gram or something? And just to give a comparison. I'm not sure if I'm right. Please correct me if I'm wrong. It's right now it costs 50,000, usually dollars per gram, or what's the so it depends.
Dana Yarden :16:37
There are factors that cost also one million dollar per gram, for example the GF beta, and they are the insulin which are the most abandoned because it's most needed and experienced and tested until now. So they have it like in one hundred and fifty dollars per gram, but in order to really be commercial viable for the insulin and transferring, for sure, you need to reduce it to even less than one dollar per gram in order to be for the category of companies to be commercial viable and relevant. So this is our aim and this is where we believe that in our next scale, which means being able to process 25 tons of leaves a day, we will be able to reduce the cost of insulin and transferring To this level. Maybe not at the first steps, but in this facility we would be able to do that.
Just to give a feeling, like if it would be 25 tons per day, like do you need a lot of agricultural land for that, or is there a way of making it more as well as sustainable in that sense?
Dana Yarden :17:42
Seems like because of the yield and because of, as we said, the tobacco is very, very fast, it seems not to be a challenge for Israel for this plant, so we don't anticipate that the agricultural land is going to suffer from this growth. We made some calculations so that it's even less than one percent of the arable land for ten percent of the total meat market. If the cativate meat will take ten percent of the traditional meat market, there's still a negligible percent of agroland.
That's super interesting, especially thinking about, as you said, ten percent of the cultivated meat takes ten percent of the meat consumption in the future. I spoke to a lot of people and I was super excited with cultivated meat and I was like, yeah, this is going to be really re-routine, which I still totally believe. But then when you speak to them, they're all saying, yeah, if we can reach three, four percent of the meat consumption in 20 years, that's going to be good, and I'm like, wow, that's crazy, I think that the most challenging issue was that they really needed cultivated meat companies.
Dana Yarden :18:48
I thought about it a lot lately. They grew very fast and the expectations from them grew as well very fast. But at the end of the day, to produce a piece of meat without the animal, think about it it's very, very complicated and they need to deal with so many things. It's not only the technology. It's technology, it's regulation. You know, when you want to make, for example, a cell therapy drug, which was not also very successful in the past two decades, that it's been explored. But after you find a way to do it, the amount of material is not so big and the road to the market is very clear, because you have an FDA and then a big pharma buys you and they will do everything else. But when you look at cultivated meat, they need to explore a very complicated technology to find all the different solutions for it. It's a new regulatory pathway which is better than pharma, but it's still never been done before. And then they need to scale up, and then they need to gain consumer acceptance and trust, and then they need to have all the logistics and to be very cost-efficient. I think that you expect a lot from a startup company that started even seven years ago five years ago so I think that we need to maintain our expectations and to see what they gain. Sometimes, you know, when you look at the new technology, when you want to see and explore the forecast, you cannot really imagine what would be the changes that would make it accelerated or not. For example, I had a very interesting lecture about AI and what they thought when it would replace what, and every year they changed the forecast and make it earlier because things happened very, very fast. They needed to make sure that they have a regulatory acceptance. I think that they have a check on that so they know what to do. Now they're going to tackle the scalability and once all the resources will be invested there and companies like ours I'm not talking just about Barobet, I'm talking about a lot of other players in the ecosystem, some of them on the equipment, some of them on the growth factors, not only us we'll find the solution for them. We will accelerate together and from these expectations of yeah, maybe in 20 years 3 to 4%, once we will be able to understand what to do and how to do it, and we will accelerate very, very fast. So I don't know. You know, I think that having those forecasts and estimations are very important for us, because nobody likes to live in uncertainty. But, to be honest, we are always living in an uncertainty and we cannot really forecast anything. So I believe that it will happen before, but you know from what I understand and from what I'm reading and from what I'm knowing, I'm not sure that that will be the case, but I feel like the amount of money invested there and the you know make so many people and the player wants to make it a reality, it will become a reality.
What do you think needs to change to have that acceleration? You mentioned regulations, which is definitely a part. What else needs to change to have that acceleration?
Dana Yarden :22:06
I think that stakeholders need to understand and to analyze what are the weak parts, what are the rate limiting factors of the companies, and make sure that they invest in them as well, and not expecting the companies themselves to come up with a solution. The companies have a lot of challenges to tackle as it is. They don't need really to tackle also machinery and the growth factors and find ways to overcome. Instead of that, the stakeholders and the players in the industry need to say okay, do you need growth factors? Let's invest in biobetter-like companies several of them, not only us to make sure we have the solution. They need equipment. Let's invest in several big equipment. Companies will come and say we will tackle that, not expecting the startups as a startup to find the solution or the satellite startups to find the solution by themselves and really push and give a push on that. This is the first thing. The second thing that I see very well in Israel. I don't know how it goes in other countries, but Israel decided to put alternative protein as one of their growth engine. They bring a lot of grants and they invest a lot of thought and they help with the regulatory issues. The prime minister and the presidents of the state are coming and tasting the material themselves without even having a regulatory clearance. I think this is also something that direct the population towards understanding the importance of that and investors understanding the importance of that. I think you need to look at it more as a holistic solution instead of look at it as a company, certain company that needs to win the jack, otherwise it will not make a solution. If you believe it's a real problem, it's a real challenge, so you need to help the ecosystem. By the end of the day, perhaps biobetter, perhaps another company, will be able to come with a solution and, let's say, to win the market, but helping many of us. At the beginning of the work, it's very important to make sure that you are spreading the risk and making sure that you will come with a solution.
It's a more like a systematic approach and saying it's very important as well to invest into the supply chain, so everything that has happened before and afterwards and as well, like where the feeders, the feeders to actually cultivate it, meet and to make sure that this whole network of that new industry is have enough cash actually to fuel that innovation.
Dana Yarden :24:51
It's not only cash, it also has to be a brain power and for many other companies to give their capabilities in terms of scaling up, how to do it correctly, how to be cost efficient, the logistic. You know there are so many aspects of like big meat companies that sell meat. They know so many details that no way that a new startup, even with ability to scale up, can match these capabilities and experience. So, for example, in Israel you have the cultivated meat consortium and I think, more than the grants that they provide there, the concept that different players can work together, the cultivated meat companies Nuva is one of the organizers there, so they are like a big meat producer in Israel. The growth media, the growth factors they are all working together to find a solution. They are sharing information. Of course, every company needs to take care of its own IP and know how it, but in general, to help each other to advance this market, I think this is the only way that can you know what made the change with AI, that this company brought the tool and let a lot of people use it for free. Chatchi PT, you mean, yeah, so once you have Chatchi PT and all the and you know I'm not talking about the people like myself that can use it for phrasing. You know some sentences or you know to write an essay. I'm talking about people that know how to write a code and can do it with the use of Chatchi PT, and once you give this tool available to everybody, you make this advancement. So I think that if the climate change is a real problem and we really want to solve it either it's for meat or dairy or whatever you want to make sale ag happen we need to go for this concept. What can we do for free to help these companies succeed? Very nice.
Like a summary, I would say, like I just was searching for the word in a digital space, because that's where I'm originally coming from, and we had this open what is it called, like open source technologies. And when you just talking about it, I just saw the parallel of a digital revolution we had at the beginning. You know, we had no infrastructure. So you know the internet was super slow. I don't know if you remember like you know that internet definitely you can't shop on that one. You know we had an infrastructure problem. We had no services around, so it was very difficult to actually get a website online. And then all these software services came up, payment solutions came up and infrastructure of better internet came up logistics providers and so on so it took 20 years actually to create a whole structure in that place. How we actually know now e-commerce in that sense, and one of the players who has been also you know very open source about it and say like, hey, everyone should use our technology and enhance the whole digitalization part. I just thought it was a lot of parallel things you just said and it was as well like joint investment of a lot of different governments as well, as you know, venture capital et cetera in that business, but as probably as a digital e-commerce side experience that after two years of craziness after in COVID it got quite, let's say, heated this year around that a more cool down, more, I would say. And as well in the food tech at least the startups I've speaking to they're also like saying you know, the excitement at the beginning and this excitement of what it can all can bring has been cooled down a little bit the last one or two years.
Dana Yarden :28:43
But you know this is our, you know nature, I think this is human nature. You know, when you look at it, you fell in love with someone. You think that is the best, you think that this is the solution for your problems. And then after one year, two years, you get to know him and you say, oh, I see the disadvantages, you know I need to cope with that. But you only succeed if you understand that and still making the effort. I think that it's a maturity issue and I think that maybe even if the e-commerce by itself. But if you look at you know, for me, I'm 47. When I look at it, I see a lot of change from when I was young, 18, 20, waiting in the bank for one hour to talk with the clerk, to just corresponding by text messages and get everything I need on the spot. I think we can say that the digital world succeed in some aspects. So I'm sure that there are, you know, branches that didn't succeed. Or we succeed, maybe later, or succeed because there was a copy, then it cooled down, but by the end of the day, the solution was needed and it happened and nothing changed. But you know, I think that you you express it very well. You had so many stakeholders wanting you to happen. It was not. I don't think that there was a brain, it was, like you know.
No, it was a network of ideas and fulfilling a need.
Dana Yarden :30:05
In that sense, like you, have like a, you know, nest of ants working together without really understanding what they're doing. And there is that. What is the outcome? Quit, and you have the outcome for them. You have to. So you know exactly here. I believe that it will happen. Also, I just wanted to say that you know, for years they said the plant based meat is not so tasty. And I've been to conference right now in New York from the future food and I have to say that they work their talk. Then all of the, what they gave us to eat with the, the plant based food, I have to say that the sum of the products were amazing, very, very good tasting. I would never suspect that it's not a meat. Some of them were very, very tasty and I think this is what happened. You know, you want to achieve something. You put all the effort. Some you succeed, some you fail. Some will you make it better, some I'm not sure that all the calibrated meat companies would become three million dollars of revenues and the next supplier, but some of them will. Some of them will.
Interesting, super interesting. So, coming like now, you said you're in the scaling up phase, is that sure? What kind of challenges you see ahead which you have to overcome as a bio better in the next few years?
Dana Yarden :31:18
catch me in a day that I feel like we have so many activities, so many things that we need to to talk and to make sure that happens in the regulatory aspect, in the different growth factors, in the scale, in the everything. So I said, so much work to do, so Minimal time, not so. You know that we are now a lot of people, are forty people, but still I wish we were like ten more, and so you know, I don't know why I think that typical growth, I think that we are making it. Sometimes I'm frustrated that it's not happening very, very fast, but this is my, you know, the CEO and my, my work husband says it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. We need to, we need to know how to maintain our, you know, energies all the time, because it's not going to happen in one day.
Absolutely, I can feel you there. We also said that it e-commerce as well. It's a. It's a marathon with a lot of sprints. Yeah, exactly so I think you raised like sixty million so far. Is that you know you have to raise in a near future, or is it going to bring you a?
Dana Yarden :32:45
few years, I would not say years, but we have another year which is for us. It's a. You know it's eternity to have a whole year, but we will have to raise money soon, hopefully.
And that's going to be a serious B, then, or?
Dana Yarden :33:02
I'm not sure if it will be a serious B or extended A, you know, by the end of the day it's it's a plan demand, which will be the people with the money will decide what will be the case. We can want whatever we want, but they will decide what happens. So we are planning for a growth stage and hopefully we will raise enough money to build our next plan. But we are considering a lot of interesting alternatives and I'm sure that in a few months from now we will be in a position to say what is the strategy that we're going to pursue. But, yes, definitely we are going to raise money soon again.
OK, got it. So beside BioBetter, you actually founded several other companies or being the executive director beforehand. What was driving you?
Dana Yarden :33:51
I really like things that are being done. You know, I really, I really like to have some task and to, you know, conquer it all the time I'm coming, you know, waking up in the morning asking myself what are the tasks that I can complete today. So this, I think this is the, but I have to say that BioBetter is my favorite thing that I ever did in terms of food, that what I'm doing, I'm really passionate about it. Of course, all the other things that I'm doing, I'm really passionate about them as well, but this is like my baby, you know.
Nice, nice. Very nice to hear. If you could improve one thing in the world, what would it be?
Dana Yarden :34:27
Yeah, I think that you asked me that, but I'm not really sure what I thought then. I think that I would like to put something in the everyone in order to be more empathic to each other. You know, I think that this is the most important thing. I think that we, so many times, we forget to understand that we are all the same. We are fighting on resources, on, you know so many on, even on opinions or religion. So I hope that we'll be able to be more empathic to each other.
That's nice. Is there any specific books or podcasts or resources that had a significant impact on your journey?
Dana Yarden :35:03
In the recent years. You know, I read a lot of books on and on. I think that's related to the other question that you asked, the former questions. Yeah, I think that Buddhism and the way you know the again not the religion, but the, the theory behind it it's something that I'm really happy that I encountered.
So this is something that I really Is that the book the Wise Heart by Jack Cornfield? Okay, that's about Buddhism.
Dana Yarden :35:28
Yes, I really.
Okay, why did that influence your life so much?
Dana Yarden :35:32
I think that one of the most important messages that they had for me that I remember very said try to love the person you hate. First of all, love yourself, then love your people you know your kids, your partner, your family or people and then try to love the people you hate. And then, last circle. I'm trying to practice it every day.
I'm not going to ask you how it goes. It's going.
Dana Yarden :36:00
Better days. You know, yeah, I think I'm trying to look at love not as a feeling, but more as a principle. So this is something I am really trying to practice as a principle in my life and this is something I think that Buddhism brought to my life the wise heart.
So now I have to ask what's the difference between principle and emotion?
Dana Yarden :36:22
Emotion is something that comes and goes. You know it doesn't have to be constant, but if you want trying to do it as a principle, it's something that is more constant in your life, that you can, you know, balance yourself all the time. To go there, it doesn't matter if you feel sad or happy, if you're in good mood, if you succeeded, if you failed. I think that working in our industry doesn't matter if it's a biotech or high tech or whatever. You every, every day, is a battle with your ego. By the end of the day, you know if you succeed, if you failed, what it means to succeed, how you cope with failure. So I think if you practice love in general, then you love yourself. When you fail, love yourself and we succeed. We love yourself when you feel bad and when you feel when you made a mistake and we didn't do, when you, when you didn't make a mistake. I think this is, you know, for me, this is the basic experience in life. Everything else is is not the real thing. The real thing is to copy yourself, to do something and then to regret it, and then how to cope with the regret and not to do something and then to regret it and how to cope with that. So this is the real experience in life. So that's what I'm trying to do, without you know, making all the activities take my intention, so I will not think about it.
That's a nice like we came from projeem to the principle of love. I really like it.
Dana Yarden :37:49
It's something I can really what you eat is making it is. It's very important to what, what you feel and how you you act in life.
That's so true. You are what you eat. No, no, amazing, like I think that's that's fantastically. To conclude that amazing conversation, I had, like I don't know, tons of other questions, so maybe we need to do another session one day. For sure, how can people contact you if they would like to reach out to you?
Dana Yarden :38:13
They can contact me via LinkedIn, or they can contact us from the website by open to that bio. Whichever works, I'm here Fantastic.
So thank you so much. I really enjoyed the conversation, was great. I really learned a lot on that one and I wish you all the best for bio better and, you know, surviving the growth pain.
Dana Yarden :38:34
Thank you so much. We'll do that with love, lots of love.
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