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Cofounder (CEO/CTO/CSO for Autumn 2021 Cohort)

09 Sep 2021 8:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Title: Cofounder (CEO/CTO/CSO for Autumn 2021 Cohort)

Job Type: Full-time

Deadline to apply: September 24, 2021 


Build a startup that transforms the food system

Learn more & apply:

Are you ready to build a globally impactful company? Join us and create a venture-scale startup that leverages emerging technologies to build a food system that works for all current and future life on earth.

Counterfactual is a venture studio on a mission to help the world's most talented people build venture-scale startups that create a more sustainable, humane, and secure future of food. We synthesize insights across the protein value chain to identify and anticipate high-potential whitespace, then support exceptional scientists, technologists, operators and entrepreneurs (like you?) in building startups around our market and technology bets. CFV’s world-class team brings together diverse R&D, entrepreneurial and talent development expertise, with backgrounds across Founders Forum, Intellectual Ventures, L’Oreal, Microsoft, FoodX, Entrepreneur First, NASA, and Cambridge. 

We offer a maximally supportive environment in which to launch a startup, whether you’re transitioning out of academia, industry or are a repeat founder. Through our programme you’ll:

  • Enter a collaborative process with the venture studio to turn one of our high-potential company concepts into a startup you’re uniquely positioned to build. 

  • Be supported in finding your ideal co-founder(s) from our pool of world-class talent.

  • If your team is successful, receive $300K of pre-seed capital and extensive incubation support to accelerate your market and investment readiness, with strong potential for follow-on funding.

How it works:


Our application process is designed to get a sense of your goals and determine what type of company you’re uniquely positioned to build.  If your potential and commitment to the Counterfactual mission checks out, but we are unable to place you with a concept for an upcoming cohort, you’ll be invited to explore future opportunities in our cofounder pool. 


Healthy team dynamics and founder-solution fit are critical to a startup’s success. The goal of formation is to build strong founding teams that are exceptionally well-placed to solve the problem they are working on. You’ll enter a period of co-development and validation with the venture studio based on one of our company concepts. This is also when we help shortlisted candidates match with their co-founder(s).  If your team makes it to the end of formation, we’ll work with you to refine your pitch for the incubator. 


Following a successful pitch, you and your co-founder(s) enter a tailored incubation programme designed to accelerate your market and investment-readiness. We incubate around 8 companies every six months, providing $300k in pre-seed capital, hands-on mentorship, essential turnkey services and tailored support for you and your team. 

Why should you join? 

  • Be a part of revolutionizing the food system. As a founder in the Counterfactual portfolio, you’ll be part of an entrepreneurial network architecting a climate-positive, humane, just and secure global food system serving all current and future life on earth.

  • You don’t need an ideato join. Bring your passion, grit, and relevant skills — we’ll help you identify the most high-impact startup opportunity you could be working on. 

  • Build with the best-in-class. Begin your journey with skilled guides. Our venture studio team, led by former directors from L’Oreal, Intellectual Ventures and Founders Forum will work with you on validating and developing commercial and technical components of your venture. 

  • Find your ideal cofounder(s) within our vetted pool of exceptionally talented individuals. We will help you form effective founding teams based on your strengths, personality, team work style and cultural indicators.

  • Accelerate your launch with our support. We offer six months of tailored incubation support, $300,000 pre-seed capital and support from our network to get your startup market- and investment-ready.

We are looking for:

  • Talented founders from all backgrounds, with the potential to provide commercial and operational leadership for company concepts emerging from the venture studio. 

  • Scientists and technical domain experts with skills and experiences passionate about working with emerging technologies to reimagine food and agriculture. We're particularly interested in engaging those with technical expertise and experience in (not necessarily all) of the following: 

    • PhD or similar level expertise in any one of the following:  

      • Process engineering

      • Manufacturing plant design

      • Industrial engineering

      • Operations research

      • Chemical engineering 

      • Construction or architecture

    • Prior management or set up of a lab, processing facility or plant

    • Familiarity with the needs (& pain points!) of R&D teams. Bonus points if this was in a startup or scale up environment, or for standalone research institutes.

    • Experience in commercial real estate development. Maybe even with a life sciences focus or with experience repurposing spaces for innovation hubs. 

    • Familiarity with lease management and services for commercial real estate, the financial considerations and challenges that come with leasing and services products. 

  • Alternatively, those with a skillset and background in (not necessarily all) of the following: 

  • PhD or similar level expertise in any one of the following:  

    • Precision fermentation

    • Synthetic biology

    • Food science and/or meat science background will be a bonus

    • Protein chemistry

    • Biochemistry

    • Target molecule selection 

  • Prior management or set up of a lab, processing facility or plant, including management of a team in a lab setting

  • Familiarity with the needs (& pain points!) of the alternative protein industry, and its consumers. 

  • Experience founding or working in a start-up or scale up environment

Additionally, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the other types of experiences that we’re particularly excited about:

  • You have a strong background in any of the following disciplines: 

    • cell agriculture, tissue engineering, synthetic biology, fermentation, biochemistry, food science, food engineering, agricultural engineering,  plant biology, chemical engineering, bioreactor engineering, processing plant design, operations research/industrial engineering, data science, AI/ML.

  • You’ve built something from scratch: you may have been an entrepreneur, intrapreneur or been a key player in the early growth of a startup. 

  • You’ve got strong industry experience in an area connected to food, agriculture, biotech or supply chain & logistics. 

  • You’ve worked on technology commercialisation and can be the bridge between research and the marketplace. 

We're accepting applications on an ongoing basis. However, if you want to be part of our first cohort starting Autumn 2021, apply by September 20, 2021.

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