Our food production ecosystem is unsustainable. We are using more than 30% of the land and 30% of the global freshwater supply to make meat, and we’re running out of both. The meat industry is already facing severe shortages. Without a fundamental change, our children’s future is threatened.
I have five little kids, and from the moment I wake them up for breakfast I am constantly thinking about what they eat. I have lived during one of the best periods of time on this planet, watching technology rocket from the first personal computers, to the Internet and artificial intelligence. I want my kids to have a similar trajectory, to have ample and nutritious food available while striving to develop the next generation of technologies for the world around them.
Cultured meat could be one of the greatest drivers of change on this planet, similar to the electrification of the Western world or the introduction of the Model T car. The technology we developed in Jerusalem and Rehovot enables us to make the same meat, with a fraction of the environmental resources previously necessary. We need 98% less water, and 95% less land than traditional agriculture.
This means that countries like Israel, England and China could become self-sufficient for meat production. It would mean we can keep producing meat in the Western United States and China, even though the Colorado and Yangtze rivers are drying. This would also release massive swaths of land that can be reforested to make the entire world carbon neutral for the next decade.
Finding the right partners and leadership was a great challenge. I was fortunate to partner with Rom Kshuk and Moria Shimoni in the early years, building a great organization that moved fast into the leadership of the category. The next challenge was identifying the right individuals to take the company to new heights. We are pretty excited to have Gustavo Burger, from Kraft Heinz, as Believer Meats’ CEO.
I grew up in Bat Yam on the Mediterranean shore. My mother immigrated from Egypt and grew up in a refugee camp on the sand dunes within viewing distance of our house. My father came from Turkey and had to support his family growing up. They built a wonderful home and the city around it, and never forgot the value of higher education that they themselves didn’t have an opportunity to have. All that I am came from them.
I am still building companies. Tissue Dynamics is my next adventure. I spent over a decade developing this technology at Harvard and Hebrew University. It offers a fast, cost-effective approach to pharmaceutical development using bionic human micro tissues. I hope it will dramatically reduce the cost of drug development and help combat the major diseases of the 21st century.