Founding Student Name(s): Kelly Pan, BS 22, (Haas); Adrian Miranda, BA 21 (molecular cell biology); and double-bear Stephanie Claudino Daffara, BA 18, (computer science), MS 20, (electrical engineering & computer science).
Brief Description of Solution: Impact Food is a food technology startup that harnesses the power of plants to create delicious plant-based seafood that provides nutrition without extinction.
What led you to launch this venture? I love food and I believe we can combat climate change and restore the health of our global ecosystem by rethinking what and how we eat. Our current animal-based food system is not sustainable for the environment, animals, or humans. There’s a lot of contamination in our industrial systems—heavy metals found in wild-caught fish and farm-raised fish often contain antibiotics and contaminants. Approximately 90% of fish are also at risk of becoming extinct and less than 3% of the Bluefin tuna population are left in our oceans. We realized that we had to take action to make a positive impact on our food systems.
My co-founders and I met in a product design-based entrepreneurship class at UC Berkeley, where we bonded over our shared passion for creating innovative solutions for a more sustainable food system.
We researched alternative meats and found a few plant-based alternatives like the Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat, and Just Egg, but there weren’t many options in the seafood space. So, we focused our efforts on seafood.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Creating an entirely new food item – Impact Tuna (plant-based raw sushi-grade tuna) – has been our biggest and most exciting accomplishment thus far and it has been great to have consumers with varying dietary preferences taste and provide feedback on our product.
How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? My major in Business Administration provides me with interdisciplinary skill sets and knowledge (e.g. accounting, leadership, finance, etc.) to build our startup venture from ideation to execution, and apply the concepts I learn in the classroom to tackle the many challenges we face along our venture journey.
Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? My Creativity Lab class has been most valuable as I learned to explore creative thinking in a variety of business settings. I learned so many lessons in this class, but the biggest one was that anyone can channel their creativity by seeing and thinking about things in new ways. This is something that we apply to our startup every day, as we’re creating plant-based food products.
What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Dr. Ricardo San Martin from the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET) provided the space for my co-founders and I to connect and use science to drive the future of food. He continues to support us as we grow our company.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? We envision that the future of food is plant-based and our goal is to provide a way for consumers to eat more consciously and sustainably, starting with plant-based seafood. We want to make our food accessible and available to people around the world so they can all choose their impact.