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Why This CEO Is So Excited About the Future of Food Technology

The way we eat is changing quickly as plant-based "meat" goes mainstream, and start-ups are racing to innovate around food in other ways. In this Backstage Pass interview aired on Jan. 5, Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman talks with venture capitalist Khaled bin Alwaleed, CEO and founder of KBW Ventures, about why the food tech space is one of the industries he's most focused on.

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Jeremy Bowman: You've touched on a lot of different technologies going forward, the blockchain you mentioned as well. As we look to the future, maybe five, 10 years, or maybe even further out, what are some trends or innovations you're following that you think will really come to the forefront, or maybe some things that the average investor here might not be fully aware of?

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud: Let me see, so some of the things and I'm really excited about honestly are really, so FoodTech is really important for me. I say that not because I'm plant-based or because I think cellular agriculture should be the solution because of cruelty to animals and everything, but it's just a much more sustainable way of quote-unquote farming for protein, which is in reality of what all the big farmers are all into. Tyson Foods and JVC-that's the cassette thing. I forget, JBR I think the name of the company out of Brazil. But rather we have an issue with feeding 9.7 billion people in year 2050. The way that we're sourcing protein and sourcing food right now is just not sustainable. We have enough food rather to feed 60 billion animals to slaughter every year, but yet 800 million people are starving in the world.

The issue isn't world hunger, the issue is allocation of resources, and that's the thing that I really want to tackle. It just allocation of this resource when it comes to factory farming. We can definitely utilized 95 percent land, that we can use about 92 percent water and have in fact, a glass wall around meat production so that you can see how your protein is produced, it's clean, it's sustainable, soon it'll be sustainable, right now the price parity is not necessarily there, but we're very close to it now.

Really cellular agriculture plays a really near and dear place in my heart. Obviously there's vertical farming, aqua farming and the likes but for me I'm going to leave that specialty to the guys who are really specialize in that. I mean, we've invested in 1.1, which already does that. But the real sustainability issue right now is definitely in cellular agriculture, which is something that is really near and dear to my heart. FinTech for me plays a huge role. I really like Fintech and I've been another believer in FinTech. We've already invested in one FinTech company, but we still want to see a lot more deal flow coming our way. The Middle East is still early in it's infancy to explore FinTech, so that's why I'm really interested in looking at FinTech in this region and seeing where it can flourish. But those are the two sectors that I'm really interested in.

Jeremy Bowman: Right. Yeah. You made some good points there, I mean, I think with the way FinTech has exploded certainly here in the US I imagine the market is pretty ripe in other parts of the world. I'm interested to see as well. You read some of Beyond Meat's materials for instance and it's amazing what they're doing as far as efficiency as you pointed out.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Beyond Meat, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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