Matias Muchnick of NotCo and Michael Natale of Ingredion

The Plantbased Business Hour

Matias Muchnick of NotCo and Michael Natale of Ingredion join me on The Plantbased Business Hour to discuss the success of their unlikely partnership, each company’s path towards furthering plant-based innovation and their vision for the future. And, of course, we chat about AI platform/program, Guiseppe!

Specifically, we discuss:

  1. NotCo’s Guiseppe and their incredible growth.
  2. Ingredion’s vision for plant-based protein.
  3. The unlikely partnership between Ingredion and NotCo and the incredible scaling that has come from same.
  4. The benefits of partnering and tips for young start-ups in choosing partners.

Below is a clip from our long-form conversation on unlikely partnerships and a transcript of same.

Elysabeth: As you give tips to small businesses, I’m wondering if you could share what you would tell them from your journey of the last five years.

Matias Muchnick: What has been very successful is not only having, but relying on partners that are in sickness and in health. This is a marriage, right? So, you need to trust who you have at your side and one of the things that is most important, and it may be cheesy to say, but it’s trust. If you don’t trust someone else, if you don’t share the formulations, if you don’t allow them to look inside your company to understand what is the necessity or the need, then you spend too much time distrusting each other. And that kind of life ruins value, right?

Our guys have worked with the biggest companies out there with the most well kept secrets, so one of the things for us is to open up and that’s where value is created. Otherwise ,you’re going to waste a lot of time distrusting each other and having a lot of problems in communication. And trust is one of the things we have based our ways of working with partners and that has worked very, very well. It’s not very common. There’s a lot of jealousy because they’re like “Oh, we’re going to protect this”, but no. The value of an idea is created in the execution. It is not created in the idea. The idea is worth zero.  If you don’t execute that, if you don’t have the right partner, if you don’t have the ingredients and if you don’t have the people, then that idea is worth zero.

Elysabeth: Yes, I love what you say. Really focusing on being light in so many ways. We talked about being asset light, so not investing in big factories and plants, but you’re mentally light if I can say that. You’re not carrying that baggage of checking on my competition and the jealousy or “let’s protect.” You’re remaining ‘in-flight.’  Mike, I’m wondering if you can riff off of this and share what tips you might have.

Mike Natale: You know, the only thing I think I would just add is having unique ideas, looking at a business model or like they’ve looked at it from a different angle is very important. But no doubt, let’s just call it fifty percent of the equation, if you can’t execute on it, then it doesn’t matter and I think that’s where Matias was spot on. Having the right partners on your execution is absolutely critical and that’s where Ingredion really can help.

We can help from that perspective of what historically gets to market. You know, the regulatory, the quality levels, all of these aspects. I think there are some really good things that inherently we can deliver and so my point is that for the start-ups that are out there that are listening to this or are just looking at their execution model, these ideas that many start-ups are having are fundamentally outstanding and are going to change the industry. But the execution part is where there needs to be a lot of help and it’s not just Ingredion.

There’s an ecosystem there. Whether it’s packaging, whether it’s regulatory, supply, and the whole retail part or distribution. It’s not an easy feat in the world and definitely not an easy equation but I think the execution part is where people get really hung up and it’s not that easy. But we’re a company that definitely wants to help and make life better and we see a tremendous amount of value in that start-up and the idea generation from it.

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