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Climate progress, one meal at a time

Photo illustration of Lisa Feria, CEO and managing partner of Stray Dog Capital, next to a scientist growing plants

Pictured: Lisa Feria. Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Courtesy Stray Dog Capital

Electric vehicles may get the headlines, but animal agriculture generates more emissions than global transportation, by some measures. That's part of what drives Lisa Feria, managing partner and CEO of Stray Dog Capital.

Why she matters: The Kansas-based VC firm invests in early-stage food, beverage, and biotechnology sectors. It has about $90 million AUM.

  • Among Stray Dog's portfolio companies: Upside Foods, the Berkeley-based unicorn that's developing cultivated chicken meat.
  • Feria says she's incorporating a bacon alternative grown from fungus at her Thanksgiving table this year. We talked with her for this week's Expert Voices.

This interview was lightly edited for length.

What was the big story in clean energy/climate-tech in the past couple weeks?

  • Last week, Upside Foods was issued a “no questions” letter from the FDA, which indicates regulators have found nothing unsafe about the cell cultured chicken the company makes. This is the first regulatory approval for any cultivated meat in the U.S. 

What would you add to the narrative?

  • We are still at the very start of cultivated meat technology, and this type of innovation will be key for helping the U.S. to achieve climate goals.
  • We cannot reach our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals without transitioning the food system away from animal agriculture.

By contrast, what's going under-noticed?

  • The critically important role that improving the food system, specifically in transitioning away from high-polluting animal agriculture, plays in reducing the impact that humans have on the climate.
  • Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than global transportation. But alternative proteins generate significantly less attention and investment than climate solutions in the transportation sector like electric cars.  

In three-ish words, what changes would you make to clean energy/climate-tech investing?

  • More investment in food-tech.

Three fun things:

💼 First job: Co-op in a consulting company for the Navy. My first manager asked me what my favorite type of warfare was. I quickly realized I was in the wrong industry.

👑 Proudest investment: A company that had a great competitive advantage but very little traction in the market. They are still thriving and growing today.

🤦 The one you regret: A commodity product with great branding but not a strong food-tech background or robust enough IP. They had a hard time carving a place in the market, growing aggressively, or maintaining gross margins.

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