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Expert Voices: Mayfield's Arvind Gupta

Megan Hernbroth
Sep 15, 2022
Photo illustration of Arvind Gupta with microscopes and abstract shapes.
Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Alanna Hale for Mayfield

Today we're talking with Arvind Gupta, the co-lead of Mayfield's human and planetary health investing practice.

Why he matters: Gupta is also the founder and adviser at IndieBio, one of the most notable biotech accelerators in the U.S. Combined with his time at Mayfield, Gupta has invested in biotech-based agriculture and climate companies such as Memphis Meats, New Culture and Prime Roots.

The below has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What in your view was the big story this week?

  • Well, I am biased, but I think it was the announcement of Prolific Machines coming out of stealth with $42 million raised to create an assembly line for biology, starting with lowering the cost of cell-based foods.

What would you add to the narrative?

  • Really that the long-term growth horizon of the food revolution is huge, over 98% growth. But the opportunity extends far beyond food to medicines and more. We are just finishing the innovation wave of the revolution and starting the consolidation wave where cost of production is the focus. Prolific Machines has a unique approach to remove the need for growth factors in cell culture and to program biology.

By contrast, what’s being underreported or under-covered?

  • The amounts of funding are over-reported because it is easy to write about and understand. Bigger is perceived to be better. But really, there is still an appetite for top-tier investors to back real innovation in supply chain reinvention. Sustainable supply chains are a national security issue as well as a climate issue. This shift over the next half century is one of the greatest entrepreneurial opportunities in history. But it is super hard.

In three words, what one change would you make to accelerate investment in climate tech?

  • More government support
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