Episode 123
September 13, 2022

From Meetups to Meatless Jerky

with Matt Feldman, Founder and CEO of Moku Foods

About this episode

Joining the show today is Matt Feldman, the Founder and CEO of Moku Foods, a mushroom-based jerky. Matt shares about how he partnered with a Michelin Chef to turn king oyster mushrooms into a delicious alternative beef jerky. In this episode, Matt talks about his childhood growing up in Hawaii, why he joined a vegan meetup in San Francisco, how he earned over 1 million views on YouTube, and how he's raised over $4 million for Moku foods.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (2:05) More about what Moku Foods is, a mushroom-based jerky, made out of king oyster mushrooms into a delicious tender jerky that looks and tastes like beef
  • (3:50) What it was like growing up in Hawaii, with a lot of outdoor activities, and having a passion for sustainability from a very young age
  • (6:30) How he always had the entrepreneurial spirit in him and brought his entrepreneurial bug throughout life, starting as early as high school
  • (8:10) Why he became vegan in 2018 and started a vegan meet-up to learn more about it and connect with others
  • (9:03) How bringing a vegan snack to the meet-ups sparked the idea for mushroom jerky 
  • (12:00) The steps he took to get Moku up and running, from product development to finding Michelin star chefs
  • (16:00) How his journey to Moku was really fast, and a go-with-the-flow move that he knew he had to pursue
  • (16:30) What he was learning about mushrooms from going to mushroom farms, and how sustainable they are
  • (18:00) The process of making Moku, and figuring out how to make it at scale, and the tragic story of how they had to call off launch a week before due to the manufacturer making bad product
  • (27:00) What it was like raising funds and the advice he has for other entrepreneurs
  • (41:30) The early signs he took to empower him to keep going, getting over 1 million views on Entrepreneur.com’s Youtube, and landing on Forbes 30 under 30
  • (44:40) The advice he has for finding the right partner, the key factor is just spending time with them 

To Find Out More:

https://mokufoods.com/ 

Quotes:

“We have a lot of customers who do not eat any mushrooms and they despise mushrooms, but they've tried Moku and it's the only mushroom they’ll eat because it really does not taste anything like mushrooms.”

“Knowing that I couldn't bring beef jerky, I thought I might as well try and make some mushroom jerky.”

“I've always loved mushrooms, and I knew that if you cook them in the right way, they can taste very meaty.”

“This was one of those weird things where I don't even remember making the decision to quit my job and do Moku. It was so natural and go with the flow that it was almost like I woke up and chose mushroom jerky. Like I have to do this.”

“I didn’t want to use any of those fake meats or chemicals or anything highly saturated, I wanted something whole, and mushrooms were the perfect fit.”

“​​Running a new company from Hawaii is a little isolating and lonely because there are not many other entrepreneurs doing similar things.”

“In fundraising, it's almost like you're swinging for a home run every time, but you know that you're probably not gonna hit it.”

“VCs all take the early stage meetings because they want to plant the seed, get to know the founders, stay in touch with you, and then invest a year later.”

“When you hit roadblocks, it's very lonely. No one really understands what you're going through. I would highly recommend people to be very careful about who they bring on, but bring someone on that's complimentary that you really know is gonna be with you when it gets tough, because you need that person to put in the same amount of energy as you, or else it won't work.”

“Go with your gut and go with your instinct.” 

Read the transcript

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