Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Perfect Day, joined Yahoo Finance Live to disucss the company's new sustainabilty and health advisory council and what's next for the company.
SEANA SMITH: Well, it's time for our small business spotlight. And since it's Earth week, we're putting the spotlight on one company that's focused on sustainability. And for that, we want to bring in Ryan Pandya. He's the co-founder of Perfect Day. It's an animal-free dairy protein startup. And they're ushering in what they're saying-- they're pioneering, I should say, a new era in animal-free dairy products.
So Ryan, it's great to have you on the show. And I was going through the big names that are involved in your company. You have Leonardo DiCaprio on board. You have Bob Iger as part of your board right now. Talk to us just about the growth that you've seen since starting this business and exactly what your company is looking to do.
RYAN PANDYA: Well, thank you, first of all, for having me here. It's a pleasure to share a little more about our story. It's been phenomenal over the last-- we've been around for just over seven years. And we're creating an animal-free way of producing animal proteins. In particular, we've created a-- the world's first animal-free milk protein. And in fact, we've raised just over $400 million today, which is a little bit over half of the total funding that's come into this, the emerging space over the last seven, eight years.
There's a huge amount of interest in creating more sustainable, kinder, greener animal-free ways of producing the nutrition and the food that really excites people all over the world. And I think this announcement comes at a good time in terms of finally putting numbers, ISO compliant numbers on just how much more sustainable it is to produce the same exact protein and the same products we've loved for 10,000 years using fermentation instead of animals.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Isn't there going to be a necessity to shift to this kind of protein, given the fact that the global population continues to grow? And how much more livestock can we continue to raise? Because it takes up so much natural resource.
RYAN PANDYA: That's exactly right, thank you. I mean, essentially, people have known this for a number of years. And that's why there's such a huge amount of momentum around moving towards plant-based, or in general, away from animal products. But our view is, I love animal products. I'm sure you all do, too.
And the reality is, we need to move faster than we're going to be able to, convincing every single person to give up the favorite foods we've had for generations. And so we decided to come at it from a different angle. And instead of saying, we're all going to eat soybeans every day, we're actually going to find a way to make the foods that you and I love, dairy products that are identical to the products that cow's make, just made in a kinder and greener way.
SEANA SMITH: Ryan, I mentioned some of those big names that are involved-- Bob Iger, Leonardo DiCaprio. How do you get those types of people who have such extensive profiles, that, obviously, they are household names, a lot of them-- at least, Leonardo DiCaprio is. Bob Iger is in a business sense. But how do you get them on board with your company?
RYAN PANDYA: Well, these folks, I mean-- and more-- have been talking about and passionate about making a cleaner, better world for longer than Perfect Day has even been around. And I think now we're finally starting to see real opportunities to make the vision that Bob and Leo have shared publicly actually come true.
And so from our perspective, it's really not all that hard to convince them when we show them what we're up to and that we have product now in more than 6,000 stores across the country. This is really happening. We've been able to create products that they have tasted, that they know really are delivering on the texture, the delight of animal products and dairy in a way that's now truly future-proof and working towards the kind of planet that we know they're passionate about building for the next generation.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Any, you know, beyond just the dairy types of products, the next phase of this?
RYAN PANDYA: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for asking. Essentially, what we've built here is a way to make protein using fermentation. And right now, we're focused on making the proteins that are the most impactful in terms of bringing the nutrition and the delight of dairy to the world. But to your point, there's no reason we have to stop there. And in fact, we can use fermentation to make most any protein people want, including proteins that are even better than you'd find in nature. Of course, all of that will come down the road. For now, we're just excited to help people make their lives and their impact a little bit better.
ADAM SHAPIRO: We want to thank you so much for joining us, Ryan.