PeakBridge CTO Dr. Gali Artzi has a background that’s hard to come by: a rare combination of scientific knowledge, innovation leadership in both corporates and startups, and business experience in food ingredients and nutrition. From Enzymotec, to Frutarom and IFF, she’s held senior leadership roles – scouting technologies, guiding product development, managing innovation and commercialization, driving growth – and a whole lot more. We sat down with her on why she chose FoodTech in the first place, how to turn vision into reality, and her audio obsessions.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IN FOODTECH? WHAT DROVE YOU TO CHOOSE THIS CAREER?
Food is at the heart of every culture, every family, every memory. Working in FoodTech allows me to connect with people on a deeper level – to be part of something bigger than myself. I believe FoodTech can bridge the gap between personal well-being and global challenges. That’s why I’m drawn to this field. A vibrant ecosystem of passionate changemakers, from nimble startups to established players, all shaping the future of food. It’s not just about trendy gadgets; it’s about tackling food waste, feeding a growing population, and ensuring everyone has access to nutritious, sustainable food choices. It’s about rewriting the narrative of food and building a future where great taste doesn’t come at the cost of the planet or our health. In this revolution, I see not just the potential for disruption and growth, but a chance to create a more equitable and sustainable world, one bite at a time.
WHAT ARE THE MOST CRUCIAL THINGS YOU LOOK FOR WHEN SCOUTING A NEW TECHNOLOGY?
To evaluate a new technology’s potential, I delve into five key areas and ask myself crucial questions about each. Here’s a glimpse:
1) Problem-solving fit: Does it address a significant pain point or need? Is it solving a real problem?
2) Technical feasibility: Is it based on sound technical/scientific principles, and achievable with current or near-future resources? Are there well-defined steps for taking it from concept to market?
3) Market viability: Is there a clear target market for the technology? Who would be willing to pay for it? Is there existing competition, and how does this technology compare? Can it generate enough revenue to justify its development and deployment?
4) Impact: What are the potential benefits and risks of the technology? Is it environmentally sustainable, inclusive, and accessible?
5) Team: Is the team behind the technology credible and experienced? Do they have the relevant expertise to bring it to market?
YOU’VE LED LARGE-SCALE INNOVATION PROCESSES, LIKE AT GLOBAL FLAVOR AND FRAGRANCE HOUSE IFF. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR TAKEAWAYS ON HOW TO TURN INNOVATION FROM VISION INTO PRACTICAL REALITY?
At IFF we worked on transforming bold ideas into tangible products that impact millions. From that experience, I’d say these are five crucial takeaways on turning innovation from vision to reality:
1. Early Engagement: Involve relevant stakeholders from the get-go. Don’t just present a finished product; invite them into the ideation process. Their perspectives refine the concept, anticipate challenges, and generate excitement and buy-in.
2. Collaboration: Innovation isn’t a solo act, it’s an orchestra. Gather brilliant minds from diverse backgrounds – scientists, engineers, marketers – and let them harmonize their expertise.
3. Transparency: Keep everyone in the loop, from investors to potential customers. Share progress, openly discuss challenges, and frame them as opportunities for learning and improvement. This transparency builds trust and ensures everyone is growing in the same direction.
4. Vetting Through Development: Innovation isn’t a linear leap – it’s a gradual climb. Structure the development process into manageable phases, each with built-in checkpoints for vetting and feedback.
5. The Voice of the Customer Drives Direction: Don’t wait until launch to hear from consumers. Gather feedback throughout the development journey. Early prototypes, user testing, and focus groups offer invaluable insights to hone your offering and ensure it resonates with your market.
These are just a few guiding principles. The key takeaway is that innovation is a journey, not a destination. You have to embrace the process, celebrate diverse voices, and trust that it will happen by building a culture of collaboration, transparency, and iterative learning.
WHAT‘S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING WITH STARTUPS?
Working with startups is like getting a front-row seat to innovation fueled by agility and creativity. Startups move fast, must adapt fast, and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. I get to be a part of that whirlwind, brainstorming out-of-the-box solutions. But it’s not just about the thrill ride. What truly drives me is the shared mission. These founders aren’t just chasing profits; they’re driven by a passion to make a real difference in the world. I get to be a part of that journey, and it’s fulfilling to know my experience, support and guidance play a role in their success.
WHAT MIGHT PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am an audio junkie! Podcasts fuel my cooking, audiobooks lull me to sleep, and the topics? A wild cocktail of tech, science, history, and even the occasional true crime binge. The algorithms get flustered by my eclectic appetite 😊, but I wouldn’t trade it for a predictable playlist.