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Encourage out-of-the-box thinking

Wanda Fish tasty and nutritious fish fillets without harming fish life

Please introduce yourself and your startup Wanda Fish Technologies, to our readers!

My name is Daphna Heffetz, and I am the co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish. I have over 20 years proven track record in establishing and growing Biotechnology companies, raising substantial, funds and developing significant international partnerships. I hold a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in molecular biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.

In 2021, I co-founded Wanda Fish together with Strauss Group and The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. Wanda Fish is establishing a proprietary, GMO-free platform for producing cell-cultivated fish fillets of varying species without burdening the ocean and its lifeforce. I am highly privileged to joinin the efforts to reverse the deteriorating condition of life under the water and to get the opportunity to grow fish fillets outside the body that are good for you and the planet, tasty, and closer to nature.  

How did you get the idea of Wanda Fish Technologies?

The Kitchen Foodtech Hub managers that harnessed more than 20 food tech innovative start-ups, including AlepFarms, a rising cultivating meat company, were behind the initial idea.They approached me, and I fell in love with this idea and together we developed the concept of how to create real, sustainable fish  that we could propel to the market.

Why did you decide to start with Wanda Fish Technologies?

After doing in-depth research, I realized how urgent is the need to let the oceans recover.  With the ever-increasing ocean warming, acidification and pollution, and the growing global population, wild fish sources are dwindling. The need to promote healthier fish while rehabilitating the oceans has never been more urgent.

The fact there are ways to grow delicious fish meat without harming the ocean ecosystem was very uplifting.  I felt that I could bring the exact cultivated fish fillets to consumers with my skills and enthusiasm.

What is the vision behind Wanda Fish Technologies?

The welfare of people and the environment is our primary goal. We are focused on growing fish fillets in a harmless, hygienic, and transparent way. We envision a whole range of affordable, tasty, and nutritious fish fillets offered to people wherever they are while contributing to the sustainability of the environment for future generations.

How difficult was the start, and which challenges you had to overcome?

The founding of a start-up is always exciting but complex. You rise instantly from 0 to 100%. You need to decide what to focus on first. I had no doubt that I should ignore all back noises and firstly bring along a capable, initial R&D team, establish the required infrastructure, and build an ambitious R&D plan taking place both at Wanda Fish and with Tufts University researcher Prof. David Kaplan, a leader in the field of cellular agriculture. We have two-year sponsored research agreement with the university that support Kaplan’s research into cellular agriculture-based production of fish  fillet. Taken together, the moves will significantly propel Wanda Fish’s strategies for producing sustainable, tasty, cultivated fish fillets. Once this is in place and running, I could become available to other no less important needs, first and foremost marketing activities.

Who is your target audience?

In the long run, our target audience is B2C: consumers in various segments including vegetarians and omnivores that strive to eat tasty and nutritious fish while protecting our environment, oceans, and the life below water. Our current audiences are mainly B2B: impact investors and potential partners such as influential fish and meat companies that move forward the various elements of the entire seafood supply chain. 

What is the USP of your startup?

Wanda USP is its fish fillet product. We commit to producing high-quality fish fillets – without harming fish life, allowing the ocean ecosystem to heal. Our production process will be transparent, using only non-GMO processes, animal-free growing medium, nutritious ingredients, and environmentally friendly methods. With the 2 new agreements and patents, we are on the highway to move quickly forward.  

Can you describe your typical workday?

After establishing start-up companies for over 20 years, I am excited to initiate and grow Wanda Fish as if it’s my first start-up company or even closer to a new baby. 

I don’t think I have a typical workday, and this is the nature of leading a start-up. I am involved with a broad array of Wanda related projects . Some are urgent, significant, and others are small logistic related. I do take quality breaks from the everyday matters to read and think, to conduct brainstorming discussions with the teams, Board members, and consultants. I find it   worthwhile for all parties. !

Where do you see yourself and your startup, Wanda Fish Technologies, in five years?

I am looking forward to selling globally the exact high-quality, sustainable products we have wished for in our vision.

Concurrently I  constantly work on improving our production methods to make affordable fish fillets without compromising their quality and taste.

What 3 tips would you give to founders?

Raise money when you can. You will need it.

Encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Don’t be afraid of failure. 

Teamwork: insist on teamwork. Encourage your colleagues to express their opinions, listen and learn from them.

More information you will find here

Thank you Daphna Heffetz for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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