Tag: biotech startup

Maricel Saenz, Compound Foods: Saving Coffee from Climate Change, Ep 157


You can now find the full show notes of the Crossing Borders podcast on LatamList.com’s new podcast section. I’ll still post the audio of the podcast on my blog and I’m planning to start writing more again on my blog, like I used to.

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Thanks for listening to Crossing Borders all these years! If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to reach out here, or contact me on social media.

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:06] – The backstory of creating coffee without coffee beans
  • [02:30] – Why is coffee the perfect target?
  • [03:28] – Why does coffee contribute to climate change?
  • [04:10] – Why do we need to brew coffee without coffee beans?
  • [05:10] – Two minute background on Maricel
  • [06:05] – First startup experience
  • [06:40] – Singularity University and meeting her first co-founder in the synthetic biology field
  • [07:10] – From fighting bacteria to fighting climate change
  • [08:03] – Can we do something for climate change now?
  • [08:40] – From climate anxiety to taking action
  • [09:27] – How to take action fighting climate change
  • [12:00] – Opening jobs at Compound Foods
  • [13:05] – What does it take to build a company like Compound?
  • [14:05] – From Costa Rica to the Bay Area
  • [15:33] – Fundraising for a live product
  • [16:25] – Thoughts on fundraising 
  • [17:35] – Why is Compound not a synthetic food company?
  • [19:50] – What does the future look like?
  • [21:05] – What are the next steps for the business?
  • [22:09] – What advice would you give to yourself when you were first getting into tech?

Show notes on Latamlist.com

Ep 56 Emilia Diaz: Learning from Kaitek Labs’ Post Mortem

This podcast with Emilia Diaz, a Chilean entrepreneur who dropped out of university at age 22 to run the biotech startup Kaitek Labs, is one of my favorite podcasts so far. And it’s one of the most necessary.

In the US, we celebrate entrepreneurs who learn lessons from failure. I always knew that I’d be able to get a job if my startups didn’t work. I still know it today.

But in Latin America, people shun failure. And a large company might not see a failed startup on a resume as a plus. Not to mention the social costs of a failed startup in a region where personal pride influences many day to day decisions.

So when Emilia Diaz’s startup, Kaitek Labs, a one time high flying Chilean biotech startup failed, she was not only facing having to grieve for herself, her team and her investors, but also publicly.

She could have stayed out of the spotlight, but she made the courageous decision that pushes ecosystems forward: writing a post-mortem on her personal blog. It’s an inside look on what went wrong. what she learned and what she would have done differently. I think Emilia is too hard on herself, but listen to our conversation and you be the judge.

Emilia continues to play an active role in Chile’s startup ecosystem, consulting and mentoring the newest generation of entrepreneurs. In this episode of Crossing Borders, we discuss Emilia’s decision to start a business, how she won a CORFO grant to grow Kaitek, some of her mistakes, and the famous post-mortem for her startup.

We also discuss what it is like to be a female founder in Latin America vs. other parts of the world and why Emilia thinks every entrepreneur should write post-mortems for their failed startups. Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to hear the rest of Emilia’s story.