Michiel van Deursen is a former entrepreneur in the tech industry, founder of Capital V that aims to invest in plant based startups and ventures in order to help them raise the bar for a greener future.
His portfolio range is impressive, including the most famous vegan meats in the world (Impossible Foods, Heura Foods, The Vegetarian Butcher, This ….) except for Beyond Meat that is a public company and every one can invest everyday thanks to the stock exchange.
We connected with Michiel a few months ago via Linkedin and started copying his investments like pros, so we have allplants, This and Livia’s in common, hoping to discover more and more interesting ventures to join.
PB: First question we used to ask all our plant based guests is a classic, when did you decide to go plant based?
MVD: I was already vegetarian for a long time, because I don’t understand why we make a difference between animals. Why is a dog a family member and a pig food? I watched Cowspiracy when it came out and went plant based from that moment. Going plant based really does solve so many major issues the world is facing. What’s better, is we can actually all do it easily, we can make that difference, just one meal at a time.
PB: And then talking about changes, what made you decide to leave the tech industry for the plant based business?
MVD: When I started in tech it was all about creating better ways to do things with the new technology we had. When I left, the tech industry was mature, it had lost it’s excitement to change the world for the better and was mostly about making money. I like to pioneer and found the same passion in the plant based space. People want to make the world a better place doing something that makes a difference. There is so much to do, and the momentum is there, the change is really going fast now.
PB: The plant based food industry catches a lot of attention, but you also invest in other plant based industries right?
MVD: Yes, plant based is not only food. I also invest in other industries that try to reduce the amount of animals in production. That is my main aim. An example is a sustainable leather alternative made from pineapples, Piñatex.
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Animal products are everywhere around us and if we offer alternatives the industry will disappear faster than we can imagine. Another example is Lighter, the company that explores the food as medicine concept and is behind the vegan mealplanner and work with the likes of Beyonce and Rich Roll. It makes people healthier and uses plant based food to do so.
PB: Amsterdam and London have such vibrant plant based communities, as well as Madrid or Barcelona but in a different league, what do you think the Spanish plant based ecosystem is missing to play in the same league?
MVD: Spain is missing government support to facilitate the change and the new start-ups. There are some initiatives but they have not made alternative protein a focus point yet. This is sad, because this way Spain will miss out on an entire new industry that would create plenty of jobs.
PB: What’s your favorite Spanish Plant Based restaurant?
MVD: There are so many, Spain is a great country to eat out and try delicious meals. There are so many amazing vegan restaurants!
PB: And finally, what would you advise a young entrepreneur-to-be who wants to start his own company or is looking for a job opportunity in the plant-based world?
MVD: Go for it! There has never been a better moment to start a plant based company or work in this industry. There are many platforms and accelerators that can help. For example The Good Food Institute for resources. And Vevolution.com, a platform we just launched to help start-ups and investors.