The Global Investor

Episode 4: Aly Moore — The Future of Food is Bugs!

June 13, 2019 Season 1 Episode 4
The Global Investor
Episode 4: Aly Moore — The Future of Food is Bugs!
Chapters
The Global Investor
Episode 4: Aly Moore — The Future of Food is Bugs!
Jun 13, 2019 Season 1 Episode 4
Obris Podcast by Crown Private
Show Notes Transcript

Important:  It is not too late to register for the Obris Global Investor Summit in Panama from July 15-19. Go to https://obrisinvest.com/panama2019 for more information.

Aly Moore joins us today. Aly is the co-founder of Entopian Capital, the first large scale VC fund that seeks to identify the winners in the insect as food and feed industry.

Aly's story is fascinating. After studying public health at Yale, Aly searched for a way to address the challenges to nutritiously feed our growing world population. She started the blog Bugible.com to support the growing insect agriculture industry and slowly grew a cult following on Instagram. To reach broader audiences, Aly created Eat Bugs Events, which as it sounds promotes insects as food through Bug & Wine Pairings, Bug Dinners & Bug Cooking Classes. 

Listen to the podcast to learn about Aly, her passion for bugs, and how she and the Entopian team are funding this cutting edge industry.

To learn about Entopian Capital, please contact James.evenson@crownprivate.com 



Speaker 1:
0:00
[inaudible].
Speaker 2:
0:11
Welcome to the global investor podcast. The goal of this podcast is to offer investors and entrepreneurs insights and practical advice to dramatically improve the kinds of deals they invest in and the returns they get. My name is James even sin. I'm one of the partners at crown private. If you are unfamiliar with Obras by Crown Private, we are a membership syndicate of investors. We are about exceptional people, unique experiences and be spoken investment. Our membership is built up of likeminded, yet unique and adventurous individuals and family offices. We invest in a spectrum of deals from established companies to startups. We do so with the proven formula of due diligence, structuring and management. This July we're hosting an event for seasoned investors in Panama City, Panama. In addition to tour in the local scene and seeing firsthand the kind of business it can be done in Panama, we will cover a broad range of topics from investing in Panama, residency, tax and incorporation there, as well as improving our pro us as global investors and much, much more.
Speaker 2:
1:20
If that's something that is of interest to you, please visit obras invest.com for more details. That is o B r I s invest.com in this podcast I will interview Alli more. Allie is a cofounder of and Topian capitol and Topian is the first large scale VC that seeks to identify the winners in the insect industry. Yes, I said insects, insects as food for human consumption as well as food for animals. Uh, this is a growing early stage industry until being capital is farm to identify the best and most likely to succeed. After studying public health at Yale University, Allie search for a way to address the challenges to nutritiously feed our growing world population. She started bugaboo [inaudible] dot com as a blog to support the growing insect agricultural industry and she slowly grew at cult following on Instagram. To reach a broader audience, Allie created eat bugs events, which as it sounds, promotes insects as food through bug and wine pairings, bugged dinners and bug cooking classes. Allie and until Peon, the in Topian team will be joining us at the Obrist Panama event. We're in addition to pitching and Topian VC, uh, they will be officially launching in Topian and Alli, we'll be treating us to a bug and wine pairing. All right. So welcome Alli, thanks for joining.
Speaker 3:
3:00
Yeah,
Speaker 4:
3:01
thank you for having me.
Speaker 3:
3:02
Absolutely. So, uh, first question, where are you this, this day? Where do we find you? Okay,
Speaker 4:
3:10
so right now I am in Los Angeles, California, born and raised and have returned to and do everything from deck to bugs.
Speaker 3:
3:19
Excellent. Well, so I gave our listeners a brief bio on you from your, the time you graduated from Yale up to the starting point of in Topian. And I'd love it if you could tell us, fill in the, the, the, the big question for me is why bucks? What led you to, uh, the involvement in the insect industry and then how did you get to where you are now with a fund?
Speaker 4:
3:49
Yes. So, uh, the bug origin story is always hilarious, I think for anyone in the industry. Uh, for me personally, I studied public health while I was at university and we had one of those summers abroad where we were doing health clinics in Mexico. And, uh, at that point I was just getting a Taco at a late night taco stand and they had all sorts like lingua and debt to Paulina's, which are grasshoppers. Uh, so those were absolutely delicious. And I ended up returning home and asking around to see where can buy edible insects to prank my family for an upcoming thanksgiving. So that was the start of it. Totally not pure intentions. Um, but at that point it was pre 2013 when a white paper came out. That changed a lot in the states for the insect agriculture space. And I had to kind of figure out things for myself by calling up cricket farms and, and learning about the world. Uh, fell in love with just how strange but potentially good it could be in started blogging about it. And that was way back in 2012. So since then, it's just been going down the rabbit hole, uh, keeping bubble from a blog to an events site to more of a general brand ambassadorship and, uh, consulting, uh, clinic for inset companies that want to learn how to tell their stories. And about a year ago became my full time job. So the fund came in, uh, pardon?
Speaker 4:
5:24
It's an earful. I'll, uh, I'll make it into little sound bites them, but I, the fund was very serendipitous and all the right ways. Um, I think at that stage, this was October, 2018 and I have been a couple months into figuring out what it means to do Bubba bowl full time, you know, all that recurring revenue streams and making it a business and not just a hobby. Uh, so at that point, uh, a man named Josh Gulf, who I've known for some time through the and the bug community, uh, he's like my brand but for a across the pond, over in Asia and Europe and runs a site called Endo Vegan. And he happened to be in Budapest pitching, I believe your group, your community, uh, about edible insects. And I, I think he saw on my Instagram story that I was going to be landing in Budapest. So he messaged me and was like, you know, can you, can you make it over to, uh, hang out with me and talk about bugs?
Speaker 4:
6:27
Does some people that might be interested and went straight from the airplane. Uh, met you guys at breakfast, talked a little bit about bugs, heard some, uh, uh, hesitation and saw some raised eyebrows. But we, we were just excited about the fact that there was interest and that, you know, there was enough curiosity to, to merit us diving in and seeing what it actually would take to create a fund, uh, drafting up a thesis and kind of validating product market fit. So talking to all the companies and figuring out what are their actual needs and like, is this the perfect time? And it turned out it was.
Speaker 3:
7:03
Wow. I think that's perfect. I did not realize that that was when you and Josh should met up. Do you recall that when Josh presented at our, had been in Budapest? Um, yes. And were raised eyebrows. I think there were two sets of raised eyebrows. One was bugs really and two was he was focused on a company, not a fund. So we've come a long way in a short period of time. Uh, I'm pleased to know, uh, that, uh, that you all were, where you've gone from there to this point in time. Uh, but let's move forward. I think that we need to dig into exactly what we're talking about, what bucks, what kind of insects and what are the markets for insects today and going forward.
Speaker 4:
7:55
Yes. So I'll, I'll clarify a little bit about Josh and my, my meeting up as well. It wasn't like the first time we ever met and then suddenly we're going to do fun. Like we'd known each other for a couple of years online and we hung out at the conferences that the bug people have and all that. Uh, but very quickly now, Josh is like, you know, on the regular we'll talk every day almost. And uh, that has been super cool. You know that if you asked me a year ago, uh, what I would be doing today in the space, this would be at the top of the list, but as, as a more of a dream. So now and now we're doing it, um, but in agriculture or sometimes better called insects for food and feed, it's a pretty broad space and a lot of folks don't really think about all the ways the insects can play a role in the food system.
Speaker 4:
8:41
Uh, I think the media has had a fun time covering some of the more scandalous sides of the industry where you have cricket protein bars or chips with crickets and you'll have a plates with tarantula is that I've been deep fried and are being served up because that's all very good newsworthy material. But a while, 2 billion people in the world already eat bugs. We are definitely a little ways off in the states still and have some work to do. Uh, thankfully for the industry. There are other verticals that are already doing quite well. Uh, crickets for insects or crickets for pets, for example. Uh, just snakes and reptiles. Of all sorts is already over a billion dollar industry in the states. And just recently, I believe February of this year, 2019, uh, regulation that was completely outdated has been updated to permit for certain types of black soldier fly larva and mealworms to be used in feed for a fish and for chickens. And when you think about that, it's, it's kind of funny in a way because chickens and fish eat bugs in the wild, uh, but outdated regulation from the mad cow era and continued incentives from solar subsidies and corn subsidies have kept regulation like that in place in different regions of the world. So now that we're seeing these changes, uh, there's, there's a lot of room for companies to expand in the name of the game. We'll be scaling quickly, but also methodically and not, uh, not, uh, recklessly.
Speaker 4:
10:17
How quickly do you think this is going to scale? So I think that industry wide, it'll scale. Uh, you know, it's, we're in the, we're at the bell curve right now. We are ramping up on the elbow foreign startup world, but I think we're going to see the industry as a whole scale up. And so the different verticals won't be, uh, won't be going more quickly than research and demand can keep up, which is a great thing. In addition to food and feed, there's a, the supply chain, there's the farming technology automation. We're the biggest costs for crickets right now, which could be the most cost effective way to get nutrition. It's not yet, it's still whole food's priced, but uh, it's still all very, very manual. And so as we get automation and, and difficult farming advancements, uh, we'll see a lot of changes.
Speaker 4:
11:14
We need things like the veterinary sciences for insects to be worked on, which is a funny thought, but making sure they don't get wiped out by cricket disease. And, uh, we have a lot of extra value in companies that's not being captured, but people are aware of it. They're just early pioneers in super small teams that don't have time to think about how to most effectively extract the oil from black soldier fly larva. And then who will be the best buyer in the value chain for something that's pretty great for cosmetics or Pharma or whatnot. We already know that meal worm poop is really, really great for a lot of fertilizers and it's called frass and there's some connections there to the cannabis since it seems to be ideal for that type of growing. Uh, but there's just a lot of room for, for growth of holistically across the industry and uh, individually with any vertical tail.
Speaker 3:
12:06
Gotcha, Gotcha. Addressed a few listed a few different verticals. Can you give us some examples of types of companies that are in this space that are, that are appealing at this point in time?
Speaker 4:
12:22
Yeah, so I think the, the immediately obvious ones are the CPG brands and we're seeing some interesting movement there too. So Purina for example, recently launched also I think around January of 2019, some dog food with crickets included. And that was pretty cool to see. So we're seeing big players get involved. We have the more typical CPG brands like chirps, chips and chuck Poole protein bars that are actually mark Cuban companies. And they've been doing pretty well. You can even get the chips, oh, uh, consumer goods products. So anything like a chips, protein, bars, snacks, anything like that.
Speaker 3:
13:05
Okay. So you referenced the Purina, so for pet food, food and then for consumables for humans as well.
Speaker 4:
13:14
Exactly. So that's one pretty well defined space. The other would be aid. So the EU is a little bit ahead of the rest of the world in terms of clearly defining regulations. And as such they're insects for feed companies are a year or two ahead as well. Uh, there's a company called why insect and actually broke records for all of Agritech, um, this year by raising about $125 million for their series c. And what they do is just have a small inclusion rate of their insects into the trapped a industry. So that's pretty cool. Companies like that are really, uh, I believe that the feed is one of the more obvious spaces that's going to accelerate pretty quickly from here on out. Um, the other, other examples are some great companies that are working on that automation technology. So when you think about agriculture, we've had thousands of years to figure out the best way to milk the cow and, and all that good stuff.
Speaker 4:
14:15
I mean, the best for productivity, maybe not for ethics, but we can get to that later. Um, for insects, there's uh, some teams that are focusing on just upgrading equipment, scaling production and coming up with ways to, uh, you know, what temperature are best, incubates these cricket eggs, what Diet Best, uh, uh, creates a nutrition profile that's appealing for different types of products. Um, all, all of these things. So it's a pretty, uh, there's just so many opportunities given the stage that the industry is at. We're getting really bright minds in right now. And, uh, as we get more outside expertise into this space, uh, that measures, it's incredibly exciting to see we're getting big players that are coming in now instead of just your typical pioneer, uh, who is passionate about the strange and wants to become an entrepreneur. So that should, there'll be incredible to see.
Speaker 3:
15:08
Okay. So back in September when we were speaking with Josh, the idea was a, an insect related company. Now you have launched a fund and tell us why a fund versus a company?
Speaker 4:
15:28
Yeah, so I think a lot of my friends have been asking me that too, which is a fun question. I think for both Josh and I as subject matter experts and players in the space, the expectation would be just use the knowledge we've gained to create a brand or to identify the most lucrative vertical and expand in that space. But what we have found in our years has been that uh, you know, there's so much value to capture, uh, there it would almost be a missed opportunity to focus in on one space and there is, it could not be better timing. We're at a point where the insect industry today is nascent, under capitalized. Most companies are 10 years in development and only recently entering into a big commercialization phase. The cost of capital is pretty high because in house expertise is needed to properly evaluate and source opportunities.
Speaker 4:
16:25
I know when deal or when venture capitalists say they have proprietary deal flow doesn't mean much after the advent of the Internet. But in this case, it actually does given the, the just massively scattered, uh, and, and pretty quiet nature of a lot of these companies. Uh, most of the challenges that the space is facing right now, like public market education, um, infant technology, a lack of scaling precedents and then still a pretty unsophisticated supply chain. Those are all being worked on and had been worked on for awhile. And we're at, we're seeing a inflection points in those, uh, and most of the challenges can also be solved with capital and strategic advisor expertise and some consolidations. So vertical or horizontal within the, within the industry. And, uh, that's the one that I'm most excited about. We've seen what acquisition occur already, where the biggest farm in the u s aspire out of Austin, Texas, purchase a CPG brand. Um, and we expect that within our portfolio we will see a lot of vertical or horizontal consolidations to broaden distribution or type costs and standardizing control inputs and which will lead to, uh, you know, we will select who we think will be category leaders and then we'll solidify those thoughts by providing them with not just capital, but shared resources to give them an edge that will be pretty significant.
Speaker 3:
17:53
Gotcha. So you have actually described a very broad industry. Uh, it, it's ironic because in my mind it seemed, it seemed rather small, but it is clear that the world is blowing up with, um, crickets and other insects, uh, as a food source. You within this large industry, what criteria have you and your team identified that will define what types of companies that funded best sin?
Speaker 4:
18:32
Yeah, and I liked that you pointed that out as well. We're working on an Faq sheet because we've been getting pretty consistent early questions from folks once they hear bug fund. Uh, and, and the top question is, isn't that a little bit narrow? Is there enough room for, uh, you know, proper ranking of deals. And our responses might be too broad. You know, we have at our mandate, flexibility to invest in a variety of industry companies in different verticals. But at the end of the day, this space is absolutely massive and we'll play into a lot. The future of food is big. The future of farming, Texas big insects can play a role at pretty much every level of that. We haven't even talked about nutrient upcycling or waste management yet, but, uh, it's broad. And in order to properly evaluate them, uh, that requires a lot of insight into cricket farming, meal, warm farming, black soldier, fly larva, uh, and also just the general industry as a whole and the relationships and dynamics between different companies and, uh, you know, between companies and other growing agricultural industries at large.
Speaker 4:
19:42
So what we've done is we have a pretty awesome team aware none. We have the financial expertise coming in from Marvin and crown financial. We have Josh and myself who have over six years each of relationships with a lot of companies in the space and also pretty neutral positions in the industry. And so we're able to, uh, hear input and insight from a variety of companies and teams and get a pretty good pulse on the industry. We've also brought on as our informal advisors, uh, Kevin Bachi Burger, Jeff Tomberlin, Michael Lacasia, them and Arnold when police, uh, bird Tomberlin and [inaudible] are the foremost fathers of the industry. Kevin Vacuum, we're actually, uh, created the U S is first FDA inspected human grade cricket farm. So he was the one that marched in and said, we actually need certification protocol for this because if we have grants that are human grade, not just pet grade, they, they need a way to get that stamp.
Speaker 4:
20:50
Just Tomberlin is the leading world expert in black soldier fly research. Uh, he coauthored the industry standard guide for insect farming and Benefalese actually wrote the report that I mentioned earlier that came out in 2013, uh, with the FAO in the UN that said by 2050, we'll have 9.5 billion people on the planet. We need a better and more sustainable way to nutritiously feed them. First. They didn't say bugs, we're the only solution. They said it's part of it, but media love that headline. Um, but as, as the man really behind that, uh, he works at a Viking Hagan University, which I can't pronounce properly and I'm so sorry for that. But in the Netherlands and is, is brilliant. So together with them and our outside adviser from Vasf, which is a large chemical company, uh, we put together a checklist that I believe is pretty unique that contains every single red flag. Uh, every single indicator for success. Uh, you know, puts, takes input from Kevin's consulting over the years of, with a variety of farms and will help us properly identify, um, you know, at the very least we know what the farms need to be successful and after company passes through that evaluation criteria, it comes down to just how is the management team, who are these people running it and pretty, pretty standard stuff.
Speaker 3:
22:11
So your, your team is actually well-equipped to, uh, to oversee that basically for everything you've said to me from start to finish. So I appreciate hearing that. I think our listeners will as well as well because you have, you've stepped into something that is quite new in many regards and it's the world is your oyster for how you choose what companies that you invest in. So I certainly appreciate as an investor, um, I appreciate that, that you have established your criteria and like you said, your checklist. I think it's more than a checklist of what will qualify or disqualify companies. And you know, this is early in the existence of the funds, so I'm sure that will continue to develop further a alley. Tell us what, what can you or what can you and what can the insect industry learn from some other more recent, uh, new starts. Cannabis is the, the one that comes to mind first and then also solar as a, as a second one. We've seen solar rise and fall and cannabis is, it's still still rising. Uh, what can you, what are you learning from those, uh, industries that will be beneficial to you all?
Speaker 4:
23:33
Absolutely. So we dabble in kind of how to frame the narrative around cannabis in particular. Because for some people it's a light bulb moment. Like, oh, okay, that sense. Yeah, we missed, we missed the boat on cannabis. And, uh, it's a pretty similar industry story where, you know, there is a lot of companies that aren't immediately obvious to the public. Uh, it's pretty clear the space is going to expand, but there's some gray zones and regulation and um, there is early investment but by celebrity or people who somehow have a connection to the space, leaving others a little bit add on loop until it becomes more mainstream. But at that point the cost of capital is a little bit lower and the opportunity size smaller, um, it does a great job of helping illustrate what the future of this space can look like and in terms of opportunity.
Speaker 4:
24:27
But, uh, thankfully bugs are a little bit less contested I think in terms of are they, are they good for the people who are not, uh, solar is also great in terms of mapping out, uh, how we can mitigate risks in the industry. Um, I think on the, on the whole, we have a couple main takeaways. A one is you want to mitigate feed volatility, volatility for farmers. Um, and anything that is volatile, that is a critical input for your industry that can sync some companies or, uh, certain verticals. So we've noticed that, uh, we have feed price volatility for the sub strait, but some of the bugs are being fed. If we can lock that in, which we will through the sophistication of the supply chain, whether it's kind of commoditized or standardized, and in another way, whether it's through a merger or an acquisition, um, that's a big one.
Speaker 4:
25:30
It's pretty low hanging fruit. Uh, we want to make sure that we have alternative financing available, uh, to companies, especially those in our portfolio. But in the industry at large, uh, we need to finance for the longterm. So, uh, we'll need a hybrid financing available, uh, project based sometimes and we have partners that are willing to come in at that level. And so we're excited about that. Um, so let's see. We also, we also think that a big one is going to be workplace safety and automation. So if we can make sure that we have just the basics nailed down, we lock in prices of inputs, we have hybrid financing available. Uh, we have things like workplace safety and automation, top of mind. Uh, we are checking the boxes on a lot of, uh, seemingly obvious but, uh, vertical jeopardizing things.
Speaker 3:
26:28
Very well stated. All right. Super. Allie, thank you very much. Um, so we've got the fund. You've got the fund established, you have partners in place, you are in the raising of the fund. Uh, you've given some good confidence to your investors and partners thus far that you and your team, uh, really have a good handle on how to create this new Mar. Enter, sorry, not create but enter into this new market, but to, to create something new with a fund. Uh, tell us about the challenges, uh, that you are, you see yourselves facing, uh, in this new and emerging market.
Speaker 4:
27:17
Incredibly exciting to slowly kind of lift the veil and begin reaching out more and more, uh, to potential lps now and getting through the set up period. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I expect that trend to continue. I did not know how open people would be or how much they knew already about the space. So that's great. I think a lot of the challenges are there, there are unavoidable but there things that are not to be too happy camper about it, but there are really opportunities. Um, there's definitely many gray zones that exist in regulation still. Uh, that will be a complexity that will need the support of trade organizations and a lot of existing advocates in the space to just navigate through. Uh, we have the complexity also in our fund of being global, which we've thought about, you know, why not do North America or Asia, but the industry is just so global in nature and there's a lot of crossover that can just be super beneficial.
Speaker 4:
28:25
You know, while cricket farming is new in the states and the manner that we're pursuing it, it's been done for thousands of years in Asia and certain regions and there are techniques that are wonderful and not, we're not communicating as much as we could. And so we're going to force our companies to play Nice, not forced there. They're excited for this. Um, but I think that the complexities of, of a lot of that, of the global nature of the regulatory gray zones, uh, and just like the infant stage, those are going to be the major challenges. I think the other thing we have to be very careful about is this industry in particular is so sensitive to brand messaging and a narrative that we will need to be hyper diligent about steering that narrative throughout our entire process. You know, from just a bubble standpoint, something that our industry has been concerned with.
Speaker 4:
29:19
Uh, I, I sit on our North American organizations media team and we are constantly discussing, you know, what is our crisis control plan? What happens if somebody tries to have a cockroach eating competition and chokes on a live cockroach, which happened I think 10 years ago, pre the space outside of it, something super, the guy died. And people will still bring that up and ask it. And it's like, if you're gonna try to eat live cockroaches as quickly as you can, one, we would never ask you to do that in two. That's just dumb. Um, so we're going to have to make sure that we avoid anything at all though that could be considered scandalous in this space because food is emotional, food systems are complex and anything related to insects has the potential to fall into the phobic category. And so we just need to be very, very diligent about who we're associating with, how we're, how we're telling this story. Um, uh, all of those good things.
Speaker 3:
30:20
When did you start
Speaker 4:
30:24
fuckable was a blog from 2012 to 20. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
30:29
So you personally, Alli, have been addressing the raised eyebrows and the, uh, the concerns and cautions and the fears for nine years now.
Speaker 4:
30:43
Gosh, has it been that long? Yeah, I mean, I've been in around seven, you know,
Speaker 3:
30:47
and,
Speaker 4:
30:51
um, yeah. Yeah. So it's been, it's been fun to even see that evolution in my own community though. You know, my friends have no hesitation grabbing a bag and meal worms and sitting down in front of the Netflix show.
Speaker 3:
31:02
Right. So what about more general audience? What, how are you seeing people switched from raised eyebrows too bright eyes, seeing the, seeing the potential and I, I'd like you to respond to that from two angles. One would be industry wise and then to a consumer wise for someone who might be eating bugs.
Speaker 4:
31:26
Yeah, so I think, uh, I mean one, this is my favorite topic. I think it's just really fun marketing case study. Uh, we know that consumer preferences can change and there are different, I call them magic words for uh, different people. And this applies I think to both industry and consumer. Some people make decisions based on logic and if you take them down the typical white bugs path, well, you know, they're sustainable, nutritious, and can be delicious if you know what you're doing. The facts are pretty astounding where there is a lot depending on how you raise livestock of course, but somewhere between 1500 and 2000 gallons of water are needed per pound of beef. Now around one down of water as needed per pound of crickets. Um, they take less space. They are, um, they're cold blooded. So their feed to body mass conversion ratio is much better.
Speaker 4:
32:26
They're just more efficient as a whole release less greenhouse gases are very easy to put into vertical farms. That could be the future of space food. You know, what do you think the first thing we eat on Mars is going to be, it's not going to be a cow. It's going to probably, you know, cricket and those, those points work for some and others are very interested in the nutrition potential and uh, beyond protein. Just how have dense these printers are from the Omega threes to magnesium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, uh, tons of [inaudible] 12. So that bodes very well to a, on a social entrepreneurship side, there's lots of projects going on that, uh, we don't even discuss that much within the context of the fund because we want to appear, uh, focused as we are on the finances. But this can do a lot of good.
Speaker 4:
33:15
Um, and big companies we're seeing really do care about that as it's, uh, we're seeing more pressure from consumers on having an ethical, a transparent supply chain and to promote things like farming with integrity. And a premium might not just mean premium, uh, tastewise for your food, but it might mean premium, uh, on, in terms of its impact on the environment as well as your body. So these are all things that that do wonders. Uh, and then, and then just in general, it's just about creating fun opportunities that people are, are still very heavily influenced by peer pressure. So that's why I do things like Bob and wine pairings are bugged dinners, which started off gimmicky but are truly a wonderful way to get people out of their comfort zone. And I have never pressured anyone, but I have yet to meet somebody that I can't convert. And even the plus ones, when I have a room full of people, I know who the plus ones are. They, they are not making eye contact. They like have their phones out and they just want an Instagram picture. But after they see everyone not dying and kind of biting into their first whatever bug, and it's often quite a familiar flavor a day they went in and, uh, once, yeah, once you try it, it's, it's, it becomes a situation where you're filled with more cited curiosity, then nervous anxiety.
Speaker 3:
34:38
Well, I appreciate that you have taken something that you're passionate about and identified that it's not just valuable for an alley, but it's actually valuable to the world and, uh, it's something that you have teamed up with others to, to promote. And also you've given an opportunity to investors to be able to participate in this really a new wave. Uh, and one that is, it's quite timely. Uh, before we wrap up, I would actually like you to delve in a little bit further on the bugs and foods bugs in wines. So maybe share what is your favorite recipe from the past month first, and then tell us about when you're, when you're doing bug and wine pairings that, uh, that's one that I need to get my mind around.
Speaker 4:
35:32
Um, so wearing the bugaboo had again now a bugger and wine pairings in particular have just been so much fun. Uh, I think that it, like everything else started off as a gimmick. It started off as something that was just meant to be, you know, how can I get my mom to try bugs? And, uh, he is my perfect example of a demographic that hypothetically would support this but just cannot emotionally get around, uh, the bug. So liquid courage goes a long way. Um, I called up a couple wine bars in Los Angeles with this idea. I wanted to do some filming with some youtubers to kind of put out a piece of content and was turned down by every place except for one called v Wine Room in West Hollywood. And it was because the owner misheard me. And so when I walked into his bar with a bunch of bugs, he was, he was, he was a little surprised.
Speaker 4:
36:25
And His name is Mikey. And that was three years ago. And we've been working together ever since hosting tons of events because he just like everyone else has that light bulb moment. He's like, wow, okay, this actually is an untapped, you know, culinary opportunity where you have those chefs, they're looking for the next big flavor edge. Uh, maybe it's that secret locally sourced blueberry that grow some more, but maybe its bugs. And there's a treasure trove of explain, uh, of flavors that have been unexplored. And you know, you have the nutty Umami crickets and you have the, um, slightly fishy, nothing offensive, but, uh, kind of like a salmon jerky feel to a scorpion. And then you have black ants, which are totally naturally peppery, lemon flavored, and it's because of the formic acid in there and their defense systems. So this variety of incredible flavors that you can bring out a little bit more and get people to put on their food critic hat instead of there.
Speaker 4:
37:29
Oh my gosh, I'm eating bugs hat, uh, that works wonders. So, uh, with, with that though, we are, everything that we're doing, we're trying to have an application for it. So in this case, um, we are cataloging all of the flavors and using the pallets of Sama liaise and others to, uh, best define what insects tastes like so that they can be used by chefs. Chefs are more likely to consider something for their menu if they have a little guide book, we can see how it works in with, uh, recipes that are considering or, uh, tones of their money that already exist. And so next week, actually I'm doing a cooking class at the international culinary center in New York and my family also laughs at that because I'm admittedly not the best chef, but I do know a lot about bugs and their flavors. And so I work with those that can cook wonderfully to book some magic together. Wow.
Speaker 5:
38:20
Give us a recipe that you've used recently if you could.
Speaker 4:
38:24
Yeah. Um, let's see. So I really, really like, um, I will pan sear up some Scorpion and Tangela and it's pretty simple. It's just, uh, taking a, an the dehydrated partially, um, Scorpion and putting that into the pan olive oil, some lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, and just pan sear it up. I'll put it on top of either some Bruschetta or onto, uh, just a little bit of couscous and that's pretty delicious. Um, if I'm trying to be a little bit more creative, I make a lot of really good mixes with a soaking mealworms or crickets into a sesame oil or soy sauce and letting them marinate for a little bit and then creating a, getting some like fresh ricotta cheese and some things all on time and different herbs and putting in black ants as the pepper lemon element and mixing that together and making that into a little, a little order with a, you know, cracker or nice little ant cheese mixed your sprinkled on top with some savory marinaded mealworms or crickets.
Speaker 3:
39:40
Yeah, that actually sounds delicious.
Speaker 4:
39:45
Yeah. So, yeah, this is the part where it's like, we're not asking, I don't know. Pardon? I say we're never not asking everyone to eat bugs. We'd like it if you wanted to. Uh, but you know, there's plenty of other ways that these guys can fit in.
Speaker 3:
40:00
Sure. Well, I've been fortunate to have spent enough time in Asia that is just, it's part of the cuisine in a lot of cooking and so is not even that, you know, thought about it. I remember the first time I tried to a little bowl of crickets done deep fried crickets that were, you know, a bit like if you go into a pub here, uh, you would, uh, you'd have pretzels or beer nuts and, uh, it's just, it's a norm. Um, all right. So Allie, uh, let's, uh, let's think a little bit about, uh, Panama. You will be presenting to us. You'll, you'll actually be pitching us on the [inaudible] Topian Fund and you are going to treat our members and guests to a pairing of bugs and wine. So that leads me to ask the question of where do you start? Well, I'm guessing and hoping that you start with, uh, uh, an entry point that is not, uh, too, too frightening for folks. So, but tell, tell us, where do you typically start with your pairings? What bug you choose and what wine. Okay.
Speaker 4:
41:08
So I, uh, I try to emphasize you're in great hands. Like there's no, I've had I think two adults pride events ever. Uh, but never any kids. So I feel like the adults, uh, had some, had some emotional baggage, there are some phobias. Uh, but we, we kind of start with a, with a gateway bug. Um, one thing that you, I've saved you from Hamas blood gas has been my horrible sense of humor. Uh, but the bug world is filled with bugs funds. So we'll start off with a, I'm holding up here, it says eat bugs and it's a bag of chips, chips, and there is a cricket per chip and you would not even know there is for, gets in there if you weren't told. Uh, but some other buzzwords that work really well in Los Angeles are they're Paleo and they're gluten free and all those good things.
Speaker 4:
41:58
So we'll start off with some chips, um, maybe some chocolates or some other kind of Trojan horsed foods so that people can get used to the idea of eating bugs without seeing the bugs. And since those are, you know, chips and candies, there's not a very elegant pairing. Um, but technically you do pair those types of products with oils with, um, something with bubbles because the bubbles lip the oils and help you get to the flavor itself a little bit more. Um, so we'll do it the party pairing and nice little champagne or bubbly Roseanne with some snacks and then we'll dive right into some of the, the more, uh, whole bugs.
Speaker 3:
42:40
Wow. Wow. Well, I think that, uh, we have something to look forward to by all means. I sir, I certainly do. I, I love wine and I love the, the pairings. I just, I love the magic that happens when the right, the foods with the right composition pairs up with wines and you, you really do create magic in your mouth. And I look forward to it and I'm sure our members and guests are going to look forward to it as well. What I'd like to close with is just giving a little guidance to our listeners that this is a, the, the, the in Topian Fund is something that fits very well with obras and our parent of crown private in terms of the type of companies or funds that we invest in that when we're working in the early stage sectors, we are very particular to choose entities that are going to make money and uh, in a, in a shorter period of time than, than, than not.
Speaker 3:
43:46
We certainly appreciate that you and your team have come together to not just a corner of a particular market or not to corner particular market within the growing insect industry, but you've actually put your talents and experience together to identify how do you actually make money off this and how can we, and our members and investors make money off this. So thank you very much for sharing this with us. And, uh, we will go into much more detail in Panama and are, our members will certainly get a good grasp of how this is going to make them money in the near future. So Allie, thank you much.
Speaker 2:
44:34
This is then a wonderful opportunity. If you're an investor and you were intrigued by my interview with Allie or the other investment topics we cover in the global investor podcast, please consider joining us in Panama. We will be glad to have you as a guest at the event and you'll have the opportunity to meet our remarkable group and to learn from the experts. Our members really are an amazing group of self made and accomplished investors. They come from 15 countries in a wide variety of professions. We share the common pursuits of surrounding ourselves with great people in great places and gaining significant returns in investing. Uh, at the Panama event. We will cover a wide variety of topics that are important to investors today. We will also feast on the sights and sounds of Panama, amazing sunsets from rooftop bars, excursions to the canal, and historic Panama City plus great restaurants, shops in clubs. Bottom line. If you have not been to an overdose event, this could be a game changer for you. You really have to experience over us to fully grasp the value. So join us from July 15th to the 20th. We will be at the Le Meridien Hotel in Panama City. Uh, you can learn more about the event at Obras, invest.com/panama 2019 that's ob, R. I s invest.com/panama 2019, uh, registration is underway. Thank you very much for joining me this week. See you in Panama.
Speaker 1:
46:31
[inaudible].
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