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Founder Spotlight: Blair Crichton (Karana)

  Meet Blair CrichtonCompany:KaranaKarana makes deliciously indulgent Asian comfort food from whole-plant ingredients, starting with dumplings and baos….

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This article was originally published by https://www.vegpreneur.org/blog/blair-crichton
  

Meet Blair Crichton

Company:
Karana

Karana makes deliciously indulgent Asian comfort food from whole-plant ingredients, starting with dumplings and baos. We want to prove that eating in a healthier and more sustainable way doesn’t mean sacrificing or compromising on what we know and love. To do this we are taking under-appreciated biodiverse plants and transforming them into meat from whole-plants starting with a whole-plant based meat made from jackfruit

Startup Stage:
Seed

When did you launch the business and where?
2018, Singapore

 

What led you to where you are today?

In 2016 I left banking to go to Business School. Going to business school I knew I wanted to do something addressing climate change. I was initially looking at a broad range of things but I saw all the cool stuff happening in the food and ag space, and as a vegan that really excited me, so I started following those early companies. I ended up going to work for Impossible Foods that really catapulted me into the food tech space. Having grown up in Hong Kong I started to think about the opportunity to do something Asian focused and I was fortunate to meet Dan my co-founder and the rest is history.



What do you wish you knew before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?

So much! It ranges from the more strategic, like how to think about fundraising strategy to the more administrative, like how to set up payroll. One lesson was how time consuming fundraising really is, it took up a huge chunk of my time for the better part of 6 months, and time at a startup is hugely valuable!


What is the most difficult decision you've had to make regarding your business so far?
Whether or not to fully pivot during the height of the lockdown in Singapore. We had been building a food service focused product and business model. We had planned to go to retail but not for at least a year. In the end we took a hybrid approach and accelerated the development of our retail products but also continued with food service development. This has luckily paid off as Singapore has recovered well and restaurants are chocker-block at the moment, we're excited to be launching with some great restaurant partners in Jan 2021.


What can you help the VEGPRENEUR community with?

Knowledge of the Asian market, I have a banking background so can offer advice on what to aspire to for a finance organization as companies scale.


How can the VEGPRENEUR community help you?

Introductions to distributors and buyers as well as advice on scaling both production and sales.

Fun fact about you:

I first became vegetarian when I was 4 when I discovered where meat came from!


Anything else you would like to share?

Imperfect action is better than none at all! Go ahead and be the change you want to see.

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