Rose Wang: Founder & CEO, Six Foods

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Bio:

Rose is the co-founder and CEO of Six Foods, a company that makes healthy, delicious, and sustainable foods with insects. She is a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur, ELLE USA Impact Award winner, Echoing Green climate fellow, MassChallenge Gold Winner, Harvard Dean's Design Challenge winner, and TEDx speaker. Rose worked in strategy and marketing at Abercrombie and Microsoft. In college, Rose managed HSA Cleaners and The Harvard Shop through Harvard Student Agencies, managing an annual budget of $1.5M. She also has a passion for education and sits on the board of an education non-profit, Wema Inc., in Kenya. Rose is a graduate of Harvard College and plans to matriculate to Harvard Business School in 2018 as a part of the 2+2 program.

How did you get into the industry?

My co-founder Laura ate a fried caterpillar when she studied abroad in Tanzania and it was love at first bite! When she came back to the US, she started researching why people were eating insects in Tanzania and not in the US. That's when we discovered that insects are one of the most sustainable protein sources available. For example, it takes 2000 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of beef, but it only takes 1 gallon of water to make 1 lb of crickets. Plus, crickets have more protein and 33% less fat than beef! That's when we started our mission to get Americans excited about eating bugs!

Any emerging industry trends?

Since, we are one of the first foods made from bugs, we get to help set industry trends! One of the biggest industry trends is replacing whey protein with cricket protein. There are cricket protein bars, cricket cookies, and our own cricket chips.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Our biggest challenge is pioneering the industry and getting people over their fears of eating bugs! However, that's also the opportunity. Industry reports show that 33%-50% of Americans want to eat bugs, and we are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

We want to be THE bug food company that paves way for a number of insect food products to show people the possibilities! Noma, the best restaurant in the world, has been experimenting with ants for the last seven years. We are barely skimming the surface with insects in the culinary world, and chefs and food producers alike are so excited that there are over 2,000 varieties of edible insects to play with.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We have more products coming out soon :)

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

You can try the world's first ever cricket chip by going here or here or checking our store locator to see if we're right next door!

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

In the first year, every one told us that we were crazy! No investor wanted to invest in us, no manufacturer wanted to make cricket chips, and even the health department wouldn't let us use crickets as a food. Two years later, we were on Shark Tank, got an investment from Mark Cuban, Forbes 30 under 30 for social entrepreneurship, Echoing Green fellows, and we can't keep up with demand. In the end, listen to your market. Despite our difficulties in the beginning, we were one of the most funded food Kickstarters and consumers were so excited about Chirps. We pushed through the naysayers because we believed we were onto something revolutionary.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Under promise and over deliver!

How do you motivate others?

People just want to be seen and heard, and I do my best to see and hear them.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Grow strategically and be smart with your money.