Vegan Investments – Interview with Willem Blom

Companies and investors have long used so-called “green investments” to invest in renewable energy and clean environmental solutions. Now, some investors are going one step further and specialising – for ethical or economic reasons – in the rapidly growing vegan sector. Willem Blom – entrepreneur & investor – only makes vegan investments with his capital. In this interview, he talks more about this new type of investment.

How did you come up with the idea of “vegan investments”?
I’ve been interested in a vegan lifestyle since practicing Sunmudo martial arts in a monastery in Korea. The monks who lived there were the fittest and healthiest I’ve met in my life. The Korean temple food I ate was strictly vegan, cooked with only natural ingredients, and lacked nothing in nutrition.

Learning more about the negative effects of animal products on the environment and the lack of animal ethics in factory farming gave me the final push to look for vegan investment opportunities.

What is your investment strategy?
I want to fund companies which develop products that speed up the shift from animal agriculture to a vegan lifestyle. I’m looking for entrepreneurs who dream big and have a clear strategy to realise their dream, with founders that have a complementary skill set.

What sectors are you focusing on?
Plant-based alternatives to meat, fish & dairy, restaurants, food delivery and apps.

How will veganism influence traditional markets, in your opinion?
Veganism influences public opinion about animal products in a big way. Reduction of meat and dairy intake in western diets is becoming more popular, especially among millennials. Initiatives such as meat-free Monday and 30-day meatless challenge are encouraging the broader public to try a plant-based lifestyle. Meat and dairy companies like Danone, Cargill and Tyson Foods are all investing in vegan products. And food distributors like Domino’s Pizza, Tesco, Pret-a-Manger and Hello Fresh now offer vegan alternatives.

What are your highest potential investments at the moment?
I am very enthusiastic about a new vegan fast food chain starting up in Holland this month, and a vegan restaurant review app from Germany.

Do you have any investment tips for all the people out there?
Hearing Uma Valeti, CEO and co-founder of Memphis Meats, talk about lab-grown protein, has really shifted my opinion on clean meat. For people who do want to continue eating animals, clean meat will offer a very good alternative, without all the negative impacts associated with factory farming. With production costs lowering rapidly, strong VC backing and founders with a clear vision, I believe Memphis Meats has the potential to disrupt the meat industry.

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