Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Future Fields
While waiting in a Tim Hortons lineup, Jalene Anderson-Baron and her husband, Matthew, discussed a problem they had with their new company, Future Fields. They wanted to sell chicken products from cell culture. But, the high cost of the growth media — the food for the cells — made for an unrealistic price point.
Matthew was working on a PhD in cell biology while Jalene was a project coordinator for the Canadian Harm Reduction Policy Project, along with her role as a policy and research analyst at Capital Region Housing.
She knew little of the science, but wondered if a specific fruit fly her husband had used to study diseases could also be used to produce growth factors.
“That idea translated into EntoEngine, which is our entire platform technology,” says Anderson-Baron. It’s the first insect-based expression system of its kind in the world. It has helped drive down the cost of production in the entire industry.
Anderson-Baron left her social justice work to focus full-time on an industry she believes has the potential to dramatically improve food security while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Future Fields was then accepted into Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator, the Harvard of accelerator programs used to launch companies such as Airbnb and DoorDash. Future Fields raised a seed round of $2.2 million US, added 16 employees and built its own lab in Edmonton.
Despite several offers trying to entice the group away from the city, Anderson-Baron says she want to see their daughter, their business, and the industry continue to grow here.