Wild Earth is a biotech startup developing clean high-protein dog food and treats made from koji (Aspergillus oryzae), a fungi superfood that’s eco-friendly and renewably sourced. The founder of Wild Earth, Ryan Bethencourt of Berkeley, California, pitches his sustainable vegan pet food on Shark Tank on March 17. Bethencourt has already courted investors including Felicis Ventures, Blue Horizon, Mars Petcare, VegInvest, Macro Ventures, Stray Dog Capital, Founders Fund, and Thiel Capital.
According to The Wall Street Journal, in July 2018, Thiel Capital invested $450,000 in Wild Earth, and Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund invested $100,000. Billionaire Peter Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal and was one of the first outside investors in Facebook. Bethencourt said of Thiel’s involvement: “The pet food industry is a key driver of environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture, and Peter’s commitment to Wild Earth shows he is thinking long-term about global trends and the planet’s future.”
Note: Fellow billionaire Mark Cuban of Shark Tank did not support the same presidential candidate in 2016 as Thiel. When Thiel said the media and others needed to take Trump seriously but not literally for some of his statements, Cuban said that kind of thinking was “craziness.” Does one outspoken tech billionaire already in at Wild Earth mean Cuban will pass?* New episodes of Shark Tank air Sundays at 10 pm on ABC, right after American Idol. [Related: 27 Favorite ‘Shark Tank’ Products at Amazon — New List]
*update: Nope! Mark Cuban and Peter Thiel, it turns out, also agree on some things. Cuban invested $550,000 in Wild Earth during the Shark Tank program, getting 10 percent equity in the company.
How wrong was @peterthiel with his “take him seriously, not literally ” ?
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 29, 2017