Final June, Rose Marcario shocked many when she stepped down after six years as CEO of Patagonia. Her tenure there, 12 years in complete, included enhancing its provide chains and streamlining manufacturing, creating new materials applied sciences, increasing its Free Commerce licensed requirements, and investing in regenerative agriculture. She established the corporate’s sustainable meals offshoot Patagonia Provisions, in addition to Worn Put on, the corporate’s e-commerce marketplace for used items, specializing in lowering waste and increasing the lifetime of its gear. And in 2018, the modern firm launched Motion Works, a digital platform that’s half social community, half recruiting instrument aimed toward connecting its prospects with grassroots environmental organizations.
Since Marcario’s departure from Patagonia, many within the enterprise world—notably within the extra socially acutely aware wing—have puzzled: What’s subsequent? Now we now have the start of that reply, as final month, Marcario formally joined the board of the plant-based meat startup Meati.
“All of us need to have a world the place individuals be ok with the work they do each day, and so they really feel like they’re serving to the planet and society as an alternative of injuring it,” says Marcario. “I consider we are able to create an financial system like that, and we needs to be working in direction of creating that financial system. The meals system is among the most damaged programs we now have, so it looks like an vital place to be and put my power into.”
Began in 2014 by a gaggle of College of Colorado doctoral college students, Meati makes use of mycelium—the root-like a part of mushrooms—to create fungi variations of steak and rooster breasts that look and style like the true factor. CEO and cofounder Tyler Huggins says that touchdown Marcario on the corporate’s board is a dream come true, and that her work has long-been an inspiration. “As we developed this firm, we at all times had Patagonia as our North Star, and the gold normal of what firms may be, and what they need to be trying to the long run,” says Huggins. “Not solely in offering high-quality, uncompromising merchandise, but additionally standing for one thing and making an attempt to drive cultural change for the advantage of individuals and the setting.”
In October 2020, Meati raised a $28 million Sequence A spherical led by Acre Enterprise Companions, together with investments from former Annie’s CEO John Foraker (at the moment cofounder and CEO of the baby-food model Once Upon A Farm), in addition to two of the Sweetgreen cofounders, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman.
Marcario and Huggins had been launched by Foraker. Huggins then arrange a private tasting final 12 months with Marcario at Chef Evan Funke’s Felix Trattoria in Los Angeles. After the four-course, socially-distanced Meati meal on the Felix patio, Marcario was bought. “It simply completely blew me away,” she says. “I’ve checked out plenty of merchandise, in my function serving to to start out Patagonia Provisions, and I do know what’s on the market, and that is one thing completely completely different.”
The worth Marcario sees herself providing Meati is a stability between the practicalities of scaling manufacturing to fulfill demand, and dealing with governmental businesses and commerce associations, but additionally in instilling confidence of their imaginative and prescient. “The place that I at all times felt was vital with our meals at Patagonia was to not compromise,” she says. “You see plenty of compromise within the present providing of meals on the market. GMO merchandise, chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides and herbicides. That to me is a big compromise, and it’s not one thing I’d ever join. I feel being useful to the group there, by way of having them belief their instincts to create this product as responsibly as attainable. Constructing a accountable (meals) model to the size I did at Patagonia, that brings with it expertise that I feel can be priceless to Tyler and his group in Boulder.”
Huggins says that having Marcario on the board won’t solely assist them construction creating high quality merchandise in the correct approach inside the firm, but additionally to make them accountable to that excellent and people values. “One factor she’s helped us with already is to turn out to be a public profit corp (B Corp), which implies this philosophy and values are embedded into our company paperwork,” says Huggins. “So I feel she’s an awesome guiding mild, but additionally a voice inside the firm to carry us to those commitments.”
Marcario lately told The New York Times that she felt comfy shifting into the advisor and trainer part of her life and profession. Meati marks simply her second board function, the opposite being with electrical car firm Rivian. “I’m actually enthusiastic about it,” says Marcario. “Tyler may be very considerate entrepreneur and he’s approached this with a clean sheet of paper. I really feel like, on this subsequent decade and century, we’d like extra entrepreneurs to say this outdated system doesn’t work, hasn’t served humanity or the planet, [so] let’s begin with a clean sheet of paper and do it higher. To make a greater world.”