Food Startup Hampton Creek Nabs Ali Partovi to Run Strategy
Hampton Creek, the food tech company in San Francisco, has just tapped one of its investors, longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ali Partovi, as its new chief strategy officer.
In an interview, Partovi said he will have a wide range of duties with the role, including working on partnerships and marketing. He’ll report to CEO Josh Tetrick.
The company also recently hired Dan Zigmond, who had headed Google Maps, to run its data operations.
Partovi has not had a full-time job in many years, but has been actively investing. He is best known for co-founding two companies with his twin brother, Hadi: LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998; and iLike, which was purchased by Myspace for, well, not so much in 2009. Besides Hampton Creek, his recent interest in sustainable food includes investments in Farmigo and BrightFarms.
“Hampton Creek falls perfectly at the intersection of my passions: Technology, sustainable food and consumer marketing,” he said in an interview last night. “Reimagining food is necessary for this planet, but people still have a need to be reassured about different ingredients before putting something in their mouths.”
So far, it seems to be working, with Hampton Creek’s eggless mayonnaise — it’s made from plants — getting distribution in big retailers like Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway and Kroger.
As James Temple noted:
Hampton Creek has created egg alternatives from plants that are healthier, less expensive and more environmentally friendly than the natural variety.
But the company also has a pitch for customers whose primary concerns aren’t animal rights or the environment: It says the products are also cheaper and healthier than the standard variety. And critically, unlike the bland egg alternatives of the past, they also taste good — as I can attest, having sampled the mayos and Just the Dough, a chocolate chip cookie dough designed to be eaten raw or baked, which will launch in the coming months.
Hampton Creek employs a team of food scientists and chefs to find the right combination of plant proteins to closely mimic the emulsifying, binding, aerating and other properties of real eggs.
To get their message out, Hampton Creek has raised a nice funding kitty of about $30 million from investors such as Asian magnate Li Ka-shing.