YOU BE THE VC COMPANY 6.1 Business Idea: Provide consumers with plant-based protein foods that take...


Business Idea: Provide consumers with plant-based protein foods that take the animal out of meat—without sacrificing the taste, chew, or satisfaction. Pitch: A number of factors motivate people to seek out meat substitutes. Health benefits, animal welfare, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and bad press about the poor conditions under which some animals are raised for slaughter are some of these factors. Many of the most common meat substitutes—tofu, bean burgers, vegetable cutlets, and so on—lack bite, chew, juiciness, and flavor. As a result, people try them for a while and then return to traditional meat products. A parallel problem exists regarding the demand for meat. Global demand for meat has tripled in the last 40 years, driven by population growth and an upward trend in per-capita consumption of meat. Producing meat has significant environmental implications. Animal agriculture is said to be responsible for about 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, more than the transportation sector. All of these factors suggest that there is a huge opportunity for a company that can produce a tasty and affordable plant-based substitute for meat, and can do it in a way that is friendlier to the environment than traditional meat production. Beyond Meat is positioning itself to be that company. On the taste and healthfulness side, the company’s first product line, Chicken-Free Strips, is made with plant-based
proteins that legitimately replicate the sensory experience of eating meat. Because the product is also glutenfree and is free of trans and saturated fat, cholesterol, dairy, eggs, hormones, and antibiotics, it’s better for us than actual chicken. On the cost and environmental side, Beyond Meat’s Chicken-Free Strips require less land and water to raise than real chickens and, when produced at a sufficient scale, cost less to make. Beyond Meat’s products are the result of more than 15 years of research conducted by two scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Fu-Hung Hsieh and Harold Huff. The company’s Chicken-Free Strips have been precisely engineered to look like chicken, taste like chicken, and especially to feel like chicken when you take a bite. The company is presently working on a Beyond Meat substitute for ground beef that can be worked into tacos, lasagna, or any other meal in which beef is included. Beyond Meat’s Chicken-Free Strips are being introduced to the marketplace through Whole Foods Markets and similar health-conscious food stores.


Business Idea: Build a smartphone app that transcribes conversations received through mobile phones’ microphones into text, so people with hearing problems can follow along in a group setting.
Pitch: It is difficult for people who are deaf or hearingimpaired to follow conversations in group settings such as a family dinner, a business meeting, a presentation, or lunch with friends. Even in a setting where every participant knows sign language, picking up an entire conversation is challenging. Sign language relies on people watching each other sign, and in a group setting people often talk that are not directly looking at each other. The only option that people with hearing problems have to fully capture a group conversation is to hire a transcriber or interpreter. That’s an impractical solution, given that transcribers and interpreters charge up to $125 per hour. Hearing aids are available for people who are hearingimpaired, but the cost is often a deterrent and hearing aids have varying levels of effectiveness.
Ava is a smartphone app designed to tackle this problem. Here’s how it works. Ava connects all the smartphones in a room via an app. All a person with hearing difficulties has to do is invite the people in the room to participate, and if they have Ava on their phones, they can accept the invite. Ava will then, through the microphone in each participant’s smartphone, transcribe the conversation in real time and display the transcription on the hearing-impaired person’s phone. Each person’s comments include their name and show up in a different color. Ava’s interface will also show a small photo of each person who is involved with the conversation. So if Jane, who is deaf, invites Ava at the beginning of a family dinner, and all the members of Jane’s family have the Ava app and accept Jane’s invite, Jane can follow the conversation on her smartphone. The transcriptions, which are made possible via the speech recognition technology, are made in less than one second. Ava allows people with hearing difficulties to connect, engage, and enjoy rather than dread group conversations. The value that Ava adds to its users’ lives is very

personal for two of its three founders, Thibault Duchemin and Skinner Cheng. Cheng has been deaf since he was two years old and Duchemin is a coda, meaning he grew up with deaf family members. There are 360 million people in the world who are deaf or hearing-impaired, which is roughly 5 percent of the world’s population. Ava’s mission is to make its solution available to anyone who can benefit from it anywhere, enriching the social engagement of the people who utilize the service.


6-32. Based on the material covered in this chapter, what questions would you ask the firm’s founders before making your funding decision? What answers would satisfy you?

6-33. If you had to make your decision on just the information provided in the pitch and on the company’s website, would you fund this company? Why or why not?

Homework Answers

Answer #1


  Firstly, I would ask whether this product is safe for consumers, although it is based on plants, and I should like to ensure that this is not harmful to the consumer' s health. I would like to know who is our target audience if it proves to me that it is safe for customers and provides other benefits. I 'd also like to see the number of people who answer. Before joining an organization, the Consumer is one of the most critical considerations because all goods and techniques are useless if there is no consumer.I want them to clarify and appreciate that there's a demand – and how big this demand is. I 'm going to inquire if the chance is very big.

I will also question them explicitly details on the following documents for their planned sales and income:

  • Balance Sheet
  • Statement of Profit and Loss
  • Sales Forcast
  • Statement of Cash Flow

Then I ask them also who is going to manage the business. When the government has both skills and zeal and stamina.


  • Sure to me as it advances principles of social marketing. If in this company there is a sure chance of earning as more visitors are able to buy the drug, why not?
  • I will finance the business so long as I can prove that the business plan is very cost-effective and viable.


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