Foodtech startup Next Gen Foods shares the secret behind their successful expansion, fundraising
The Founder on Founder Podcast series is a weekly podcast hosted by Olivier Raussin, managing partner at FEBE Ventures, an early stage Venture Capital fund supporting outstanding entrepreneurs in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It features tech entrepreneurs with a focus on Southeast Asia’s innovation business and tech landscape.
The podcast uncovers stories from outstanding entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia on their journey, insights and advice on running a tech company.
Featured in this episode is Andre Menezes, co-founder of Next Gen Foods, who will share his story from being an engineer to an entrepreneur and his insight on starting a business in the midst of the pandemic.
Find your career passion
Next Gen Foods is a foodtech company based in Singapore. The startup has recently raised US$10 million in seed funding, the largest seed funding round in the region, from investors including Temasek.
Andre Menezes was originally an engineer from Brazil who, growing up, has always had an entrepreneurial passion. He said, “Despite the fact that I was studying engineering, I was always more passionate about doing business.”
Holding various positions within the corporate world, Menezes started his career journey at Siemens in Germany before moving to BRF, one of the leading food producers and exporters. He later worked at Country Foods as a consultant and a general manager before joining Next Gen Foods.
At every step along the way, he shared, “I have been very fortunate to learn a lot about the big industry, about the business, about all the things corporation stand for, what’s good, what’s not, what works, what doesn’t, what works at scale, what only works with startup …”
Bringing innovation into the food industry
Next Gen Foods’ founding team is driven by the thought that we cannot accept the fact that in order to have a great food experience, we need to utilise the same technology that we have been using for the past 3,000 years. They set themselves an mission to produce delicious food products that will make consumers forget why animals were ever used for food.
Founded in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business became completely digital. This has enabled Next Gen Foods to scale globally and quickly as long as their partners are already set in and out.
Following the first launch of the TiNDLE product in Singapore on March 18, Next Gen Foods has already prepared for the expansion into other main markets including the US, Europe, China and Brazil.
Some insights Menezes would like to give entrepreneurs who are on the same journey:
- Work with and where you can add a lot of value. Eventually, you could do better and scale faster depending on what you focus your efforts on.
- One of the great characteristics of building a strong company culture is not taking paradigms as rules. Do everything in a bold and ambitious move, be motivated and follow an honest purpose and vision. Keep your own drive in the company by making sure that it is driven by the purpose and the mission of what you do.
- On fundraising, it is crucial to understand what investors are looking for, especially in how a company puts everything together. A combination of a good team, product and services, and how the company communicates and delivers defines the overall objectives that investors are looking for.