Investing in the Future of Food: Who you know is fundamental to succeeding as a startup

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investing in the Future of Food Food-X

The old adage that it isn’t just what you know, but who you know could not be truer than for company founders in the highly competitive food and beverage industry, according to the serial entrepreneur behind the seed-stage company Farma Genetix.

Sung Park explains that before launching his nascent food-as-medicines company he learned a lot about building successful businesses by cutting his teeth as the founder of the Custom Clothing Technology Corp, which created and sold to Levi Strauss the technology for custom-fit jeans. He also founded Equality Cosmetics, Greater Good and Umaginaion Labs – where he learned time after time the importance of having a strong team and far-reaching, well-connected network.

Based on this experience, he knew that when he started Farma Genetix he would need help to succeed and he would need it early in the process – which is why he joined SOSV’s Food-X accelerator’s 10th​ cohort.

“There is so much to learn in starting a business – you can’t be an expert in everything. So, building a good team is important,”​ Park said.

He added that one way to find and develop a good team is through accelerators, such as Food-X, which he says, “are particularly valuable if you are either a first-time entrepreneur or you are an entrepreneur like myself where you jump from space to space.”

He explained that working with Food-X “has been absolutely fantastic,”​ especially in finding a trustworthy co-packer and potential investors for his upcoming seed round.

Creating ‘genetically tuned’ solutions for chronic diseases

SOSV is not Farma Genetix’s only powerful partner – the young company also has teamed with Harvard Medical School genomics researchers, with whom it has developed “genetically tuned”​ nutritional supplements to help manage diet-related chronic diseases.

“We are using food as medicine to cure chronic disease”​ in the form of “genetically tuned nutritional supplements that have been developed by Harvard Medical School genomics professors who allowed us to target specific diseases by their gene types,”​ Park said.

Park added that Farma Genetix’s first target market is heart disease, which includes 100 million people with high blood pressure and 90 million people with high cholesterol – all of whom he says can benefit from his supplement shots that combine hibiscus tea, red yeast rice and other ingredients.

From there, he plans to tackle other chronic diseases, including diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome, by creating multi-faceted solutions that go beyond supplements to include a software platform that will take into account consumers’ overall diet and offer a gamified behavior modification platform.

Raising seed funds

While Park continues to create new ways for consumers to invest in their health, he also is looking for partners to invest in Farma Genetix's seed fund round – and as he does so, he says, he will practice what he preaches by keeping at the forefront of his mind the lessons he has learned about cultivating a strong, well-connected network.

“As soon as we get the product done and the brand finished, we will be ready to start talking to investors,”​ who he says, “should believe in what we believe,”​ which is that food as medicine is the future for the nation’s long-term health.

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