The insect entrepreneur series: All Things Bugs LLC’s Aaron t. Dossey
In Insectpreneur series version of this month, we still have another great interviews, and All Things Bugs LLC, Aaron t. Dr Dossey lined up together!
Dr Dossey and his team are on a massive scale creating some of the highest quality fine grinding of whole cricket powder.
So, we might as well interview Dr. Dossey for an interview!
What inspired your interest in insect protein substitutes?
I’ve always been fascinated by insects. I am a lifelong self-taught entomologist (a former usda professional entomologist from 2010 to 2012, although my PhD is in biochemistry and molecular biology). Since high school, I have been collecting insects and raising more than 100 different species. For years, I have had an insect photography hobby. In fact, even in my career in biochemistry, I always want to insects and other invertebrates in my professional work – explore the source of insects as a new natural products, drug discovery and biomedical and agricultural applications.
Around 2010, I’ve been reading about the concept of an effective and potentially sustainable food source for insects. I always thought they were a very diverse source of compounds and knew their miraculous biological diversity and behavioral adaptability. I’ve always referred to them as “low crawl fruit.” So, I already know that they can be a very effective and valuable biological resource.
I began to understand how species of various species around the world ate and even farmed. So I began to take the concept of insects in my research project as a food ingredient (in addition to the source of the new compound), and I have submitted some of the more than 100 applications for teacher posts.
What prompted you to further study cricket?
In 2010, at the American academy of entomology (in my lecture on insect chemistry), I met a group that used to talk about insects as food. In early 2011, the group one of Dr Frank franklin (Dr Frank franklin (Birmingham, Alabama nutritionist) forwarding the bill and Melinda gates foundation funding statement, small insects for food industry. The theme: do something to alleviate the child’s malnutrition.
Dr Franklin thinks this is an insect lane, as a sustainable source of protein. So, I submitted a 2-page anonymous application (this is an ideal format for all authorized applications!). . The gates foundation called later that year and expressed interest in my funding. However, due to the postdoctoral I just to the United States department of agriculture, and America’s postdoctoral usually are not allowed to own/control of funding (even if they write these funds, research), I have applied for my union as an “independent”.
The gates foundation says one of the options for qualifying for funding and doing this project is that I can quickly get a teaching job at a university. The second option is that I can work in a company or other organization that can complete the project.
I asked if it included a new company (I could find it immediately), they said yes.
What is the first step in starting a business?
I now consider myself to be a “resume academic” or “I’m not going to be an entrepreneur”. So, a little bit. I thought I would start some sort of business, but I had planned an academic career.
In 2011, at the urging of the gates foundation, I submitted the document to start the company, but before the process was complete (it took months), they couldn’t agree to give it to me. I had to wait until April 2012 to see if I could get the grant.
Well, it did happen, and I got my new title “All Things Bugs LLC founder and owner”. I now call myself President/founder.
In fact, even in 2011, I have also planted a variety of insects, flies, carnivorous, super earthworms, crickets, beetles, etc.), and experiment in the kitchen, preparing for quickly start the project. In 2012, I got some contract LABS (such as the food processing center of nebraska-university), and I designed experiments based on my preliminary kitchen experiments.
I decided that RUTF based on insects would be an ideal form of insect food for reducing malnutrition in children, and in 60 minutes of American television,
Low water activity
Shelf life is long
Nutrition, heat and protein density
I also have to negotiate the purchase of insects: freezing and sterling. I found that crickets are the most readily available frozen insects, and the cheapest is the pound sterling (which is farmed in America) and the highest protein content. So I started to innovate in the field of cricket processing/powder. After gates foundation funds, I applied for and from the United States department of agriculture SBIR program (the first phase of $100000 and $450000 in the second stage) for extra money, to further develop and evaluate the cricket/insect powder as a kind of feasible safety food ingredients, another $100000 in the SBI phase I recently awarded to explore to improve efficiency, and water and harvest through automation, cheaper and more sustainable mechanization of feed formula of reduce the cost of the cricket breeding).
What early lessons did you learn?
It’s an exciting but steep learning curve. During 2011-2013 (and today), I face several challenges and lessons, while conducting business and conducting my first two major research projects:
The lesson of being a startup entrepreneur
Experience in research and development
Lesson of science
Experience in food science and agriculture, food industry, etc
On the research side, I soon learned that fine powder is the most useful form of “insect food”.
Powders are of low water content, long shelf life and good quality, which can be mixed with other substances without affecting their texture, fluidity, and ability to move on various food equipments. The goal is to incorporate insects into the food, apparently noticing the insects’ components.
I also learned about RUTFs and their usefulness in treating child malnutrition worldwide, as well as the extent of global child malnutrition.
In my life, I have learned to be a better Internet, more outgoing and more patient. I also learned to be more adventurous and less risky.
To start a business that I must live on my own, gave me more of the “do it” mantra. In the lab, I’ve always thought that, but I think it’s more challenging to do these things in life and business.
In business, I learned to jump into fire with my feet and test entrepreneurs.
I’ve learned more resources, and often (but not always), the seemingly impossible is really not a big deal. Just put one foot in front of the other.
For food, agriculture, science, in a nutshell, I already know the needs of these systems, I learned that insects is a very good resource, is bound to change our food and agriculture system!
Tell us about finding your first customer
By the end of 2013, when the I I Gates Foundation and the I phase of the U.S. department of agriculture’s SBIR funding were about to end, I began to determine future research and business. Or, if it has a future.
If I get a second stage grant (someone else has already applied), then I’ll have a couple more years. If not, I’ll either start selling products or doing something else.
I started making some cricket bats. They are pretty good and there is a never eat insects (or any exotic) friends, even in the absence of thinking all the way to eat something, although later I need them comparing with other recipes. I guess they’re good!
However, Chapul and EXO have been listed, and I can say that things are heating up. I have very little money, a very small apartment, no other resources, and it looks like I really can’t afford a commercial kitchen (the law requires us to sell food in the United States). What I had was a fantastic patent application process.
I have invented a way to make the best cricket powder (or any other insect powder) in the most efficient and scalable way.