Wildtype food for thought #3

Winter edition, part 3 of 5: talent

Who are the people behind today’s cell-based meat and fish companies? What are their educational backgrounds? How might the talent landscape evolve over the next five years? We dig into these questions and more in today’s post on jobs in cellular agriculture.

The chart below provides a snapshot of today’s jobs in cell-based meat. We pulled the underlying data from LinkedIn and company websites in September, and classified each role based on the person’s training and educational background. Unlike the data that we presented in our last post, this chart includes all 26 companies that are developing cell-based meat and fish.

Job options in cultivated meat

Sources: LinkedIn (Sept. 2018), company websites, Wildtype analysis

A few things caught our attention as we sifted through the data.

First, this is still a very small field. There are fewer than 130 people working full-time on developing cell-based meat and fish products.

Second, many of the jobs today are scientific roles. When we exclude founders from the mix — many of them often spend significant time on R&D — scientists represent about 80% of today’s jobs in cell-based meat.

Third, if you are a cell biologist, materials scientist, or biomedical engineer, please consider a career in cellular agriculture. We need you!

But, how might this talent landscape evolve in five years?

Because none of us are producing and selling cell-based meat at scale, we can look to parallel industries for a sense of how talent demand might evolve as the industry continues to mature.

Let’s start with Impossible Foods. Today, the company employs almost 300 people, which is twice as large as the entire cell-based meat field combined. How do they deploy their talent? The chart below shows a fairly balanced distribution of scientific and non-scientific roles.

Personnel distribution for plant based meat companies

Source: LinkedIn (September 2018)

We then compared this distribution to Beyond Meat to triangulate. We see a similar profile, albeit with a lower headcount allocation to research.

We used these distributions along with some of our own estimates to model what talent might be needed to support our field by 2024.

Let’s assume that there will be about 650 people working in cell-based meat in five years, or about one and a half the number of people currently employed by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

The chart below extrapolates the distributions we just saw with Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat to the cell based meat field. The grey bars are today’s numbers by job function (on the x axis) and the blue bars represent projected talent demand in five years.

Bar graph showing projected talent needs in cultivated meat companies

Sources: LinkedIn, Wildtype analysis, assumption: 650 jobs in cell-based meat and fish

There is good news for everyone.

First, we will need more than a hundred additional highly trained scientists and technicians.

Second, more than half of these new jobs will likely flow to non-scientific disciplines such as operations, sales, business development, marketing, communications, and product management.

We hope this post convinced you that there are multiple opportunities to get involved in this emerging field. If you’re still on the fence about whether now is the right time to join the movement, let’s talk.

In our next post, we’ll explore several entrepreneurial opportunities for those of you who may be interested in starting your own company. If you missed our last two posts, you can find them here and here. As always, we would welcome any thoughts or reactions to anything we presented here.

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