Saving the f#$%ing rainforests with Shara Ticku of C16 Biosciences

Palm oil is a wonder ingredient, used in almost everything from toothpaste and oat milk to biodiesel and laundry detergent. But to keep pace with rising global demand, producers have burned down millions of acres of rainforests to create more palm oil plantations, worsening climate change and making the air hazardous for entire countries in the process. 

C16 Biosciences has a plan to save those rainforests – and to shake up the behemoth palm oil industry while doing it. Since founding the company in 2018, Shara Ticku and her co-founders have cracked the code on its first beauty product made with lab-generated palm oil. And once they brought it to market? It sold out immediately!

This week on How I Built This Lab, Shara talks to Guy about how introducing C16’s initial product to a secondary market laid the foundation for even greater commercial success. Plus, Shara shares how a tight budget, scrappy science, and home-brewed beer were the keys to unlocking substantial funding.

This episode was produced by Carla Esteves and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Katherine Silva.

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