LA Venture Podcast


Brian Frank — FTW Ventures

October 4, 2023


Brian Frank talks about how everything in the food system can be improved, and how VCs are investing with a technology lens instead of a problem solving perspective. Tune in to learn more about:

*Biggest opportunities ahead in the food system

*Evolution of replacing animal protein, including synthetic biology

*How Brian is perfectly positioned to help the next generation of founders in the industry

Full transcript

Today, I'm in Pasadena, actually at Caltech with Brian Frank. Brian is an expert in food and founding general partner at FTW Ventures, where he is focused on improving the worldwide food system.

As I understand it, he's studying everything from biotech and brain health to our inadequate supply chain. Brian has led three startups to successful exits, and he's been a food tech advisor up and down Sand Hill Road. Brian, thanks for coming on the pod today.

So, I warned you, I want to do a quick introduction of FTW and then perhaps play a game.

Sounds great.

I actually didn't warn you about playing a game. But start us with like the basics of FTW.

Yeah, so FTW is a traditional venture fund thematically focused on a sustainable food system. So, we're looking to apply capital, knowledge, and network to the 12 trillion food system that's going to need to change the way that it operates in the future.
The key problems we're trying to solve, since we're a problem focused fund rather than a technology focused fund, is the climate is changing, it's
real, the food and agricultural system contributes to that.

Second, we look at the messiness of the supply chain. You only have to go back a couple years to COVID to see how a major, massive, you know, global phenomenon changed how we think about how we're going to distribute and manage food, Obviously, there's a big human health concern around what we're doing in the food system. We're feeding people calories and not nutrition, and so how do we put the nutrition back into our food and give people the things that they need when they need it. Those are just some of the problems that we're trying to solve but kind of stop there and say, we want to do it in all the technology areas possible.

I like to say we're technology agnostic.