S02 E08: Conquering the Valley of Death

Feeding 10 Billion

11-08-2020 • 47 mins

What seemed like science fiction just a few decades back, is increasingly becoming a reality. Early research pioneered by NASA on how to feed astronauts in long haul missions to planets like Mars brought closed loop systems and fermented ingredients to the spotlight. These systems don’t rely on limited natural resources, and could potentially be key to feeding 10 billion sustainably by 2050. And those fermentation machines? They’re none other than microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and microalgae, which can make nutritious protein from little more than air, CO2, and water! Our guests this week are both accomplished PhD’s - one is from the investment side of the equation while the other is a biotech scientist who has turned entrepreneur. Ritu Verma is co-founder and managing partner at Ankur Capital, a firm that is funding ideas for the next billion, while Ezhil Subbian is CEO and Co-Founder of String, a synthetic biology company which makes microbial protein from methane. Ritu has backed Ezhil’s vision with the catalytic capital we keep talking about on this show. In developed startup ecosystems like Silicon Valley, academia partners with investors and entrepreneurs to leverage technology transfer and fuel innovation. In India, those pathways are still being built out - but before that happens, we need focussed intervention in the form of grants, funding and other incentives from the government to create those cradles of scientific enterprise within universities and other players. Ezhil and Ritu are the perfect guests to tell us more. Listen to find out what it really takes to scale biotech innovation in emerging markets.


Companies Mentioned:

Ankur Capital

String Bio

Air Protein

Solar Foods





The Bio Revolution: Innovations transforming economies, societies, and our lives, McKinsey

Why Software is Eating the World, Marc Andresssen, Wall Street Journal

FSSAI manpower shortage: Govt sanctions nearly 500 additional posts for food regulator, FirstPost

For Further Reading:

Bridging the Valley of Death between Innovation Funding and Market Adoption: Forbes

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

You Might Like

All Things Policy
All Things Policy
IVM Podcasts
The Ranveer Show हिंदी
The Ranveer Show हिंदी
BeerBiceps aka Ranveer Allahbadia
Grand Tamasha
Grand Tamasha
Hindustan Times - HT Smartcast
3 Things
3 Things
Express Audio