Stray Dog Capital’s Lisa Feria on Investing in Food for Climate

electric car You might get the headlines, but animal farming generates more emissions than global transportation, by some measures. That’s part of what drives Lisa Feria, Managing Partner and CEO of Stray Dog Capital.

Why is it important: The Kansas-based venture capital firm invests in the early-stage food, beverage and biotech sectors. It has about $90 million in assets under management.

  • Among Stray Dog’s portfolio companies: Upside Foods, a Berkeley-based rhino that develops farm-raised chicken meat.
  • Feria says she’s incorporating a fungus-grown bacon substitute into her Thanksgiving table this year. We spoke with her about this week’s expert votes.

This interview has been lightly edited for length.

What has been the big story in clean energy/climate technology in the past two weeks?

  • Last week, Upside Foods issued a “no questions asked” letter from the FDA, which indicates that regulators have found nothing unsafe about the cell-farmed chicken that the company makes. This is the first regulatory approval for any meat grown in the United States

What do you add to the narrative?

  • We’re still at the very beginning of cultured meat technology, and this kind of innovation will be key to helping the United States meet its climate goals.
  • We cannot reach our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions without shifting the food system away from animal farming.

By contrast, what happens unnoticed?

  • The very important role played by improving the diet, especially in moving away from highly polluting animal agriculture, is in reducing the impact of humans on the climate.
  • Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than global transportation. But alternative proteins are generating much less interest and investment than climate solutions in the transportation sector such as electric cars.

In three words, what changes can you make to clean energy/climate technology investing?

  • More investment in food technology.

Three fun things:

First job: Co-op at a Navy consulting firm. My first boss asked me what my favorite kind of war was. I quickly realized I was in the wrong industry.

👑 A proud investment: A company with a significant competitive advantage but very little market traction. They are still thriving and growing today.

The product you regret: A commodity product with a great brand but not a solid food tech background or strong enough IP. They’ve had a hard time carving a market place, growing aggressively, or maintaining gross profit margins.

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