Vegan Food Biotech Backed by NASA Recruits Big Food Executives

Sustainable Bioproducts
©Sustainable Bioproducts

Yesterday, Sustainable Bioproducts (SBP), a food company seeking to revolutionize the alternative protein market with breakthrough biotechnology, announces it is bolstering its leadership team with leading food and biotech executives, including the former CEO of one of the largest Big Food companies in the world.

Born out of research conducted for NASA on volcanic microbes in Yellowstone National Park, SBP raised $33 million in Series A funding last year, led by global venture firm 1955 Capital and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, with additional funding from ADM Ventures, the venture arm of Archer Daniels Midland Company, and Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture arm of global food and beverage company Danone.

“The most recent UN report on climate change and food reinforces the urgency to drastically rethink our current protein supply chain,” said co-founder and CEO Thomas Jonas. “The good news is that we’ve discovered in nature a solution to this challenge and have developed a breakthrough fermentation technology to scale it. Today, we’re accelerating our efforts by assembling a team of top executives with experience running some of the world’s most successful food and biotech companies. These thought partners will be invaluable as we continue on our mission to create delicious, innovative foods that are just as good for you as they are for our planet.”

Former Kraft Foods CEO Tony Vernon has joined SBP’s Board of Directors. In his tenure as CEO, Mr. Vernon oversaw Kraft Foods Group’s spin-off from the company now known as Mondelēz International. He also served on the board of WhiteWave Foods – the company behind household alternative protein brands Silk and So Delicious. WhiteWave was acquired by Danone, an SBP investor, in 2017.

LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren has also joined SBP’s Board of Directors. Dr. Holmgren brings deep expertise in the development and commercialization of renewable technologies and biotech. This year, on the heels of a successful global commercialization effort with partners in China, Fast Company named LanzaTech among the World’s Most Innovative Companies for its carbon recycling technology.

Karuna Rawal has joined SBP as Chief Marketing Officer. Previously President, Groupe Client Lead at Leo Burnett/Publicis Groupe, Ms. Rawal was the lead strategist for Procter & Gamble’s Emmy Award-winning “#LikeAGirl” campaign. A seasoned storyteller with more than 25 years of experience building iconic food brands at P&G and at Leo Burnett, she will launch and market new alternative protein lines for SBP.

Jim Millis has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer. An industrial biotech veteran, Mr. Millis has served as CTO of BioAmber and, earlier, Technical Director of Industrial Bioproducts at Cargill. With a proven track record in bringing first-of-its-kind technologies to industrial scale, Mr. Millis oversees SBP’s R&D, engineering, and manufacturing efforts.