Venture Capital and Food Tech with VP, Abby Lyall  

by Rob Napoli

Episode Summary

On this episode of TBNE, Rob features Abby Lyall who is the VP of Special Projects at Big Idea Ventures (BIV) , a global food tech innovation accelerator. She shares what VCs look for in evaluating startups and how it carries a ton of risk as only a very small subset of companies are qualified to even take VC money.

For instance, there are ways for a company to be mission-driven but only those that prioritize growth above all other metrics, including profit, should consider venture capital investment. On the VC side, they are on the lookout for companies which have the potential to become multi-billion dollar companies.

As for the future of food tech, Abby observes that there is a large influx of investment into brands but a lack of investment in infrastructure. She sees a near future where more infrastructure to support the growing industry is created and a larger focus on regenerative agriculture to bring humans back in alignment with nature.

Episode Notes


04:09 Abby's professional journey and spearheading innovation at BIV

09:17 Only companies which prioritize growth above all else should take VC money 

16:54 Investing in consumer product innovations and intellectual properties 

22:16 Future of food tech: A larger focus on infrastructure and regenerative agri

28:06 Brutal honesty is Abby's superpower

29:53 Book recommendation: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz 

31:32 Tips for entrepreneurs: Raising money is about creating relationships

34:33 Connect with Abby


09:50 Abby: "Venture capital investing is this super, super, super high risk, very niche investment strategy that it's really only appropriate for a very small subset of companies. And those are the companies that want to grow really, really quickly, prioritize growth above all else."

15:00 Abby: "A big fund raise, by the way, is not necessarily a big business win. There are so many companies that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital and never build a sustainable profitable business. And we've seen a lot of those very high profile failures lately."

25:01 Abby: "I'm a huge fan of regenerative agriculture. I think that's something that is really mission critical to helping us combat global climate change as it relates to the food space."

26:11 Abby: "Whole ecosystems and thinking about our place in the ecosystem as a consumer is really important. And you don't get that just by going vegan if you're eating corn and soy products because the amount of deforestation and land use and water use and nutrient depletion and everything that's involved with growing those crops is not that much better for the environment."

32:12 Abby: "The process of raising money is all about relationships. Investors want to invest in people that they know, that they trust, and that they like, and that they want to work with, and that they think they can have a really good professional relationship with back to the seven to 10 year long marriage."

You can learn more about Abby in the links below.

  • LinkedIn -
  • Email -

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