09. Bill Birgen, SAVRpak

A former rocket scientist and lifelong inventor, Bill Birgen is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer at SAVRpak. Fed up with soggy lunches, Bill developed a pocket-size thermodynamic solution that created the perfect atmosphere inside his lunchbox, keeping his salads and sandwiches fresh and crisp. This technology evolved into SAVRpak’s Drop-In solution, which eradicates condensation - the number one cause of premature molding, wilting and spoilage of packaged produce like berries and leafy greens. On this episode of “Food Lab Talk,” Michiel hears from Bill about the tools that helped him accelerate SAVRpak’s growth; his reflections on pivoting from a “9-5” into entrepreneurship; and why validation was the key to unlocking SAVRpak’s success. 
Bill Birgen: “In the U.S., people throw away almost $2,000 worth of food per family and educating the consumer is the most difficult. Selling B2B and going to an executive, saying ‘your farm can be more profitable if you’re not throwing away as much’ is an easier conversation. We’re having that adoption now, but long term there is a huge opportunity for families and a consumer solution.”  
01:51 Intro to Bill Birgen 
04:08 From rocket science to reducing soggy lunches 
05:47 The origins of SAVRpak 
07:50 The state of SAVRpak today 
08:11 SAVRpak’s Drop-In solution 
10:20 Communicating a seemingly simple, yet nuanced and complex solution 
12:14 Winning over the skeptics 
13:45 The steps to scale from a prototype 
14:35 Pivoting to become an entrepreneur 
15:28 Reflecting on lessons learned from launching a new technology 
16:02 How to find the right stakeholders to validate and adopt your solution 
18:54 Top takeaways for changemakers 
21:19 Using your network to build a team 
22:33 Long-term opportunities for reducing food waste 
24:15 Accelerators and blockers for shifting consumer behavior 
25:31 What’s next for SAVRpak 
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*The views expressed by the guests in this podcast don't necessarily represent the host’s views, nor those of his employer. 
09. Bill Birgen, SAVRpak
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