What’s the inspiration behind Mootral?
In 2012 we bought a UK Biotech company, with the aim of going after Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in humans. We found a file in their data room with the name “Mootral”, which pertained to a couple of research projects that were focused on finding a solution to combat methane emissions from cattle burps. We concluded that this would be a massive challenge and opportunity—but that the world was not ready for it yet. We kept the name, focused on AMR in animals (which is just as important as climate), and revisited the Mootral story in 2016 to see whether there could be a market. After a lot of research and stakeholder engagement, in 2018 we concluded there was a market and above all an urgent need; so we started the business in earnest.
What do you think is the most important skill founders need to succeed?
Being able to adapt your vision to the realities of the day—without losing sight of what you set out to achieve in the beginning.
How did you meet your co-founders? How do you work together?
Isabelle Botticelli had already joined me after a long and successful career with multinational companies, when I met Chris Kantrowitzthrough a mutual friend—and we discovered that together we could achieve something amazing. We each have our respective strengths, and I work with each of them individually in their field of expertise; or we work as a threesome; or we bring in other members of our amazing team. In whatever constellation, we maintain our collaborative alliances and have each other’s back.
How do you handle risk and competition?
I have a healthy appetite for risk, and view competition as good for this market. It is our job to be aware of our risks and to have the agility, grit, and ingenuity to overcome adversity when it strikes. There is always a solution. We win because we keep “out-innovating” the competition. We win because we always stay relevant, and not dependent on one thing or one technology only.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced while launching your company?
Developing a solution for a problem that no one wanted to acknowledge, pay for, or fund. I had to talk about the future state of a market that did not yet exist, over and over again, to stakeholders that simply did not want to get it. Today that future state is here and no one is laughing anymore; but the things we could have achieved over the past years, if everyone had participated, are now a loss for our planet.
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
I never imagined the lengths I would go to in order to get this project across the line. This is the hardest business I have ever built.
Why did you decide to raise from the crowd via Republic?
We have had some really amazing global publicity over the past year, reaching hundreds of millions of readers and viewers. Many people reached out to us asking how they could participate in Mootral’s story. Republic is the ideal platform to make that happen.
What’s your team culture like?
Open, honest, brave, emotionally safe, collaborative, embracing and leveraging our differences. Everyone is focused on the same goal, and we have a clear understanding of what each team member has to deliver to make that happen. Mootral is a brainpool of amazing people that is supercharged by all those we connect with on our journey. It is a true co-creation. We are motivated every day by the fact that a small team of highly passionate people can create so much momentum towards solving one of the biggest challenges the world is facing.
What is your superpower?
My resilience and ability to come up with solutions for whatever challenge is thrown at me. I will always get up one more time than I am knocked down.
What’s your kryptonite?
Being surrounded by negative toxic people that operate from a scarcity mindset.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
Whenever I arrive in a place that I know, my taste buds immediately compel me to make a mental checklist of my favorite local foods that I absolutely have to eat before I leave.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Prior to being involved in climate, I was a passionate collector of high powered and bespoke cars. This being inconsistent with our mission, I have sold the cars, invested the money in Mootral (literally) and now spend my spare time with my great wife, my three amazing sons (when they are around), and my friends, doing whatever we fancy on the day. Having in part grown up in the Austrian alps, I also love skiing. And I do love good wine, too :-)