Ben Lamm has already started a handful of companies, with just as many exits. He is now onto his biggest adventure year. An effort to rewild the planet, which has already attracted $225M in capital and 50 advisors. The startup, Colossal Biosciences, acquired funding from top-tier investors like Thomas Tull, Breyer Capital, Draper Associates, and At One Ventures.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Creating additional value with spin-offs
- The upside of embracing your critics
- What Colossal is working on
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Ben Lamm:
Ben Lamm is the co-founder and CEO of Colossal. Ben is a serial technology entrepreneur driven to solve the most complex challenges facing our planet.
For over a decade, Ben has built disruptive businesses that future-proof our world. In addition to leading and growing his own companies, he is passionate about emerging technology, science, space, and climate change.
Active in angel investing, incubators, and startup communities, Ben invests in software and emerging tech and is deeply engaged in the technology, defense, and climate change communities.
Prior to Colossal, Ben served as the founder and CEO of a number of companies, including Hypergiant, an enterprise AI software company focused on critical infractures, space, and defense; Conversable, the leading conversational intelligence platform that helps brands reach customers through automated experiences acquired by LivePerson; and Chaotic Moon, a global creative technology powerhouse acquired by Accenture. Ben was also the co-founder of Team Chaos, a consumer gaming company acquired by Zynga.
Ben is a fellow of the Explorer’s Club, whose mission is to promote the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural, and biological sciences.
He also serves as a Scientific Advisory Board member on the Planetary Society and sits on the Advisory Board for the Arch Mission.
Ben has appeared as a thought leader in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wired, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Newsweek, on topics such as innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them
Connect with Ben Lamm:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerrs show. So I’m very excited with the guest that we have today I mean his his background iss so extensive I mean I mean when you hear it, you’re not gonna believe it I mean I couldn’t believe it myself I was like losing count on how many companies his bill scaled and also exited. But. We’re gonna be learning quite a bit I’m sure that you’re all going to be very much inspired with his journey so without farther ado let’s welcome our guest today Ben Lam welcome to the show.
Ben Lamm: Thanks so much for having me I hopefully I can live up to the the intro you just threw at me.
Alejandro Cremades: So so Bernie Texas it sounds like you spent quite a bit of time there so give us a little a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up.
Ben Lamm: Ah, you know I love you know Texas is a great state to one grew up in It’s great state to raise a family end. It’s great state to travel from you know luckily with dfw you can travel anywhere in the world. You know it’s also a great business friendly state you know and and I feel like. In the last few years especially since covid people are starting to recognize how great of a state it is in in terms of you know how many people that we are getting moving from both coast to Texas I feel like Texas is finally kind of getting its moment to shine and in terms of how much it has to offer.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, no kidding I mean Austin has been without a doubt the the biggest winner of the pandemic by a mile. So why.
Ben Lamm: I and I was actually born in Austin which is I think that makes me a ah weird unicorn in itself right? because most people I meet in Austin weren’t born in Austin and so I’m I’m from kind of the old school kind of hippie Austin that I guess used to exist.
Alejandro Cremades: Now out of all things why finance and accounting What are what a weird blent especially for someone that has dedicated his life to technology.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, that was ah um, not really optional. So you know my my family made a deal with me that if I maintained a certain Gpa and went to school that they approved of and. Also gave me um you know also was in a major that they felt that you know I could get a job potentially in that they would help pay for school and so um I felt like it was a pretty um you know, fair trade. So it. It was great because you know I you know while I didn’t go into finance and accounting it really did help me. Ah, start to understand you know as ah when the business world start to understand term sheets. Ah you know balance sheets income statements start to understand you know how to think about the financial aspects of of a business specifically in technology.
Alejandro Cremades: So then I want to ask you now like this entrepreneurial drive. You know where where does it come from I mean do you have anyone in the family or or what does it come from? yeah.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, you know most my family was pretty. You know my mom was a Spanish teacher. You know my and my single parent kind of growing up and then my role models like my uncle and my grandfather when I they worked no traditional jobs. My uncle was in private equity and my and my grandfather. Was in the automotive industry and so I feel like you know and I’ve said this before I feel like it’s a wiring thing I don’t know if it’s something I would wish on everyone. The entrepreneur lifestyle with the ups and downs and craziness that comes with it. But I think that there’s kind of this I think I’ve said before that. There’s a combination of like dysfunctional traits that properly exist in your genes that make you want to be an entrepreneur and so I was just you know I don’t I don’t think that I was highly employable. Um, and so the choices I think were to. Go build companies or ah, you know to you know, sleep on my parents’ couch.
Alejandro Cremades: Because in total how many companies have you started today. So.
Ben Lamm: I’ve I’ve I’ve started been the Ceo of 6 Um, but I’ve I’ve helped start you know another kind of 4 or 5 in addition to that over the years
Alejandro Cremades: So so then take us take us you know through how everything started so you were in school and then you know like pretty much there. That’s where the I simply interactive you know comes to mind So what was the process like okay.
Ben Lamm: Yeah I I got to give credit for credits too. I you know had a wonderful professor. Dr James Boschinsky who was you know and I’ve always kind of gravitated towards academia and in the incredible knowledge and and ideas that come out of academia and.
Ben Lamm: Um, you know Dr Moe as he’d go by was one of the world’s leading performance improvement technologists in one of the world’s leading instructional designers and he actually built a lot of the core fundamental learning models that all these corporate training groups would use to understand you know cognitive. Learning models to understand how to relate content to action and and do just in job. Ah, just-in time job training and and really help you know workforces you know train their so their their their staffs and so um I got you know, very very lucky that I got to study underneath him I was. You know, probably not as passionate about e-learning and in in the idea of performance improvement technologies but I did love the application of leveraging the latest technologies like learning management systems and and other tools to help you know create distributed systems for for learning way before like you know Zoom and. Pandemics made it cool. So um I was very very fortunate to have just an incredible. Ah, you know, advisor and professor that you know he started. He had a consulting business I started working with him. Ah you know fast forward a few years I started a company and actually made him my chief learning officer. And and then we grew that had customers like black and decker and and whirlpool and and ultra and and a lot of these you know, massive corporations and it actually grew to be 1 of the the fourth largest e-learning company in the us which is pretty exciting.
Alejandro Cremades: And first company first exit how how was going through that exit like.
Ben Lamm: Ah, you know you you don’t learn you know, even though I would school for business. You don’t learn everything in in business school. They don’t teach you a lot of things about like supermajoities and and board dynamics and whatnot a lot of that’s just trial by Fire. So um, you know I learned some painful lessons you know in in that company. Which that I you know hopefully didn’t repeat as as as I I went on in my journey but it was It was definitely really interesting and you know there were a lot of you know great opportunities that came from you know, selling that business. But then there was other you know, interesting kind of social dynamics that started to change and and Whatnot. So. Yeah, the entrepreneurial journey you know has its you know it’s It’s always you know Feast or famine so you always you know, kind of go through that and you have to understand you know the impact it has on your life as well as the lives of others around you so it was a very early learning experience for me to start to understand how the kind of career choice. That I made really wasn’t a job but was a lifestyle that I had chosen.
Alejandro Cremades: And when you say a lifestyle what does that look like because I mean I’m I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that are listening that maybe they’re still in the corporate world. They’re reading Techcrunch and you know the entrepreneur entrepreneur magazine and and getting all excited seeing all those millions floating everywhere. Is is it really like that that.
Ben Lamm: Um, well I mean maybe for some people it It has not been like that for me I you know I think it’s a constant you know, uphill Paddle both ways in the snow and fire in in a meteor shower. So it’s um.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, the entrepreneurial journey you know I don’t think there’s anything like it right? It’s it’s incredibly exciting for me. It’s been the most rewarding thing that I think I I could have done ah to date. But at the same time you know it comes with its own. Um, you know challenges right? like you’re going to sacrifice relationships you’re going to sacrifice. You know, ah your health in times you’re going to sacrifice sleep. Ah, you’re going to have additional pressures that you may not have in a typical 9 to 5 right? And so um, it’s it’s a tradeoff right? and so you know you have to decide for yourself. Whether you think that you know juice is worth the squeeze. Um, but at the same time you know, ah like for me I don’t think from a ah you know from my personality style I don’t think that there’s anything else that you know would probably really fulfill me so the ability to really you know, create something and start with a blank page is just really interesting to me sometimes. You know? yeah you know I’m sure it’s a similar feeling to a writer where they love where some of them probably love the blank page and love to you know, craft this story a narrative. You know that’s the same thing we do with with with business but you know I don’t know if it’s you know I definitely don’t think it’s for ah the faint of heart and you know there’s there’s a lot of. Sacrifices that you have to make as well as your friends and family also have to make so it it is one of those careers that I think really affects a lot of people kind of in your social circle.
Alejandro Cremades: Absolutely now for you as they say you know once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur so you know literally after they say this exit you went out and you started your next company Chaotic Moon So Why were you guys doing ah a chaotic Moon a chaotic moon sorry and then also. How did that you know again, another exit. You know? what’s what’s happening here.
Ben Lamm: Now we thought we thought that with chaotic moon that there was a huge ah you know Apple would released the iphone people were starting to develop apps. We. We saw a couple kind of app developers start you know existing we really thought there was an opportunity to do. To to you know, take kind of a vertically integrated approach and build a systematic design to you know, not just you know, ah kind of I would say the systematic design and ubiquitous computing kind of viewpoint to mobile I think a lot of people at the time was like they’re very focused on Ios or in. And others were focused on Android and we had this viewpoint saying that you know these are just inputs and outputs right? you know, leveraging different backend systems and so we built a core framework and then we started working on Ios. We worked on. You know that translated into tablets as they’ll translated into. Um, um, you know, not just into Android but also into car displays and into you know interactive displays in stores and into television and so what was interesting and is we we kind of looked at mobile as kind of the gateway drug to a brand being able to to. Distribute their content and and reach their audience everywhere that the the audience was gonna be wanted to be and so we were really excited and we we felt there was a huge opportunity to kind of go build kind of this organized chaos around the I don’t know if you remember the time where there was like.
Ben Lamm: Hdcs and samsungs and iphones there were so there was like all of the mobile wars and in every brand wanted to be kind of on everything windows was coming out with windows one seven so we really saw as an opportunity to build a company in ah in a core fabric that we could go build great experiences but also make it ubiquitous and be on all platforms for you know all brands. Um, and and we were very you know, very lucky we we built a team of incredibly smart you know women and men who you know worked on awesome projects everything from like you know the daily to you know pizza to Starbucks to um to Disney movies anywhere to marvel so we got to work on just really cool projects and. And watch these brands. Ah ah, transition into truly digital businesses and and we got to be kind of the help shepherds of those digital products as well as kind of building out this core infrastructure and you know we had a lot of folks that got really excited about what we were working on including Accenture. Um, and you know they they wanted our team and technologies as well as some of the capabilities. So.
Alejandro Cremades: Did you did you see now that it was your second company a shift on how people would relate to you you know? perhaps now that you were a second time founder maybe like investors employees.
Ben Lamm: Yeah I mean you know people. Ah yeah I mean it’s it’s it has more an app had probably a ah bigger effect socially and and personally you know, um, know I’m one of those types of employees that you know truly likes to be. You know, kind of you know meeting with the engineers meeting with the product leads. You know at at Colossal you know I spend a lot of time with our species leads and with our cellular engineering teams and so I try to get pretty hands-on because I I just find it intellectually interesting and I like to learn these different industries. But yeah, it definitely has an an effect right? People start to have different levels of expectations of you. People have different kind of viewpoints on you know what? you should be doing you know from a career perspective. Lots people love to give their feedback on that journey. But but you know fundamentally I was always just interested in kind of learning the next thing.
Alejandro Cremades: And in in this case I mean you guys sold the company to what the what can you tell us about timing and acquisition. How do you timing? How do you know? the time is right.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, it was it? Yeah yeah, well I don’t think you you know I don’t think there necessarily is a magic you know I’ve I’ve been asked that question before I don’t think it’s a magic ah you know time period and I don’t think you can really orchestrate. It. You know I try to just focus on building. You know, interesting and valuable. Companies and people are interested in them. They’ll probably call you in the case of you know Katic Moon we had a lot of people suitors calling us. Um, but I think that the the choice to sell really needs to be 1 that you know isn’t really up to me. It’s really up to the employees. It’s really up to. The investors and shareholders I look at myself as you know a supporting character in the story right? like my job is to hire much smarter people than me empower them. Give them the resources and tools they need and help set that vision but then fundamentally you know, ah my job is to help you know and listen to our board and shareholders. Ensure that you know I’m being good stewards of of kind of like where they want the company to go and so I try to take a lot of that that feedback and accounting and that’s driven kind of a lot of the sales is that you know when we’ve had really interesting market opportunities that that have come to several of my companies. You know. I always you know present it to the board and investors and sometimes it’s big enough that people are excited about it. Um, you know I’m excited about colossal because I feel like I’m finally getting to build a company at the scale that I’ve really wanted to for a while and I’ve got incredible investors like Thomasalll who support that vision which is.
Ben Lamm: Ah, you know made it much easier to to you know, build a larger infrastructure than I have previously.
Alejandro Cremades: Now and we’re we’re gonna talk about colossal in just in just a little bit now let me ask you this you know with with with with this last company with chaotic chaotic moon. Basically you guys did a spinoff and that was basically team chaos which you also ended up. Selling to Singa so again, you know another exit so on a roll here now.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, we we were I was very fortunate. You know one of my long-term cofounders Andrew Busey ah who’s one of my cofounders at at at cattic moon yeah, in my cofounder at Team Casey and he’s one of the colossal cofounders. Um, you know he and I have worked together a time and had like ah and we have a really great symbiotic relationship in terms of what we bring both bring to the table. But yeah I’d say this spinout was was interesting because it really taught me that you know there’s opportunities to monetize additional technologies. Um, you know as long as it’s not distracting to the core. Business it creates you know option value for our shareholders. Our employees our investors and whatnot and so what was interesting about team chaos is you know we had all of the core infrastructure to build mobile games and we worked very closely. You know we’re building all the top apps for for that were you know being. Showcase you know by by Apple and by by Google so we had all the relationships with you know the core product people at those at those companies we had tons of relationships with the you know store reviewers and so building ah building. Great games. You know we really just need to add in. More gaming talent right? because we we had the rest of the infrastructure. So you know if there are you know one of the things I learned from the the team chaos spin out in in ultimate acquisition was you know there are opportunities with businesses to create option value for your you know employees and for your shareholders and investors.
Ben Lamm: Ah, that you know they get additional upside from you know, leveraging some of these technologies or kind of opportunities that present themselves and you know we’re doing that Obviously with Colossal we’ve spun out some companies out of out of hyper giant and so that’s now been kind of a consistent theme where if we can find something in the spinout process is it distracting. You know, um and it’s a creative to Everybody. You know it’s something that we you know we kind of now have a ah framework of how to do it and how to do it successfully.
Alejandro Cremades: So they the next 2 companies right? before colossal you know is say basically conversible and then also hyper giant. You know, obviously you know conversible acquired by life person public company that was apparently.
Ben Lamm: And that was and that was really in converseible is really the brainchild of Andrew I’ve got to give Andrew Credit you know he he really felt that we could build a conversational intelligence platform that really understood sentiment analysis could help build scripted and unscripted you know conversation threads. With consumers so that kind of with the rise of voice based messaging with chat and whatnot thought could be pretty interesting. You know fast forward. You know we probably should have done more with it if you look at like the success of chat gbt right? Ah in today. But you know we created it. We were pretty excited about the the you know fundamental. Layer conversational. You know os that we built and we had a lot of people that are pretty excited about it and at the same time we were getting a lot of inbound interest in supporting us to to try to do something leveraging Ai in the defense critical infrastructure space and we thought that was an interesting challenge. So. We ended up transacting conversible and really then going and focusing on on building hyper giant just because we we saw a lot of the use cases around critical infrastructure space and defense as being very very similar and then adding in ah a layer of automation ai to some of those common operating pictures just didn’t exist. And we thought there was a really unique opportunity to do something that also had a not just a monetary impact but could have a you know impact to defense or infrastructure stability.
Alejandro Cremades: Now with hyper giant. You know you did something you know, pretty interesting and that was to find a Ceo to replace you so at what point do you? Yes at what point do you realize it’s time you know it’s time.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, it was my it’s like time. Well you know I yeah I totally blame you know I think is a combination of the pandemic I think it was a combination of you know I actually got pretty sick of beginning a pandemic which I’ve talked about before. Ah, you do a lot of introspection in that time you know I was also in my house for eleven months you do a lot of introspection when you’re not when you’re also locked up and for eleven months um and you know ah we we had built a company that had scaled well that was getting great ah feedback from you know. Us air force. You have space force strategic operations command um, ah, noride northcom and we had great feedback that we were getting and in different partnerships that we were forging in the Us federal government as well as with some large enterprises and what was interesting was you know I met George I reached out to George Church who’s arguably one of the top 10 if not top 1 smartest people on the planet at least my perspective reach out to George who’s the father of synthetic biology in today’s modern day genomics and started asking him questions and because I’m curious I also you know in addition to the Corp Ah, reason why I reached out to him. We started talking about other things and I asked him what else are you working on and George went through a kind of litany of really cool projects as Lao was working on and then he ended the call with he was working on. You know, broken back mammas to combat climate change and he had all the technologies to create a de-extinction company and you know as an entrepreneur who said up.
Ben Lamm: Thousand times like oh we’re going to build this company. It’s going to change the world. It’s going have this impact you you chase this idea of not just creating value but you know having impact and and at least for me, you know, thinking about legacy and and trying to make the world better a little bit better than when you showed up to it right? And um, so I felt like the biggest hypocrite. If I’ve been you know that I’ve been presented this opportunity and it’s like so. What do you do you? You know you can’t say oh well I’m just working on this other software company. So I I shouldn’t go do this so I felt this tremendous like initial guilt of I don’t have a choice like I’ve I’ve been given this opportunity if I’m going to be honest with you know myself and in in. And say I really want to go change the world and have ah ah a more um, ah, meaningful impact and someone like George Church gives you that opportunity and lets you be a steward of their vision. Um, you know you kind of have to take it and so ah Mike Betzer who’s an incredible operator and sold numerous businesses. In the enterprise software space oneda vista one to um, ah 1 to sible systems and and Tom Sibel and others other incredible leaders that he had worked with I thought that he was the right person to take the reins of hyper giant. You know, continue to grow. It. Let me kind of just be a board member and shareholder. And let me go focus on this the wild world of of d extinction which is not just creating a company but helping define a category.
Alejandro Cremades: Now 1 thing now before we dive into colossal is that obviously the tech component has been um, ah you know a constant you know and all these companies that that you’ve built but they’ve been in in so many different categories in so many different industries. How do you think that? Perhaps. Knowledge transfer being able to have you know that the know how or knowledge from different industries and being able to apply them all into a different one has given you an age. Okay.
Ben Lamm: so so I think one of my but like my 2 superpowers I think are I I learned things moderately quickly and then I think I’m really good at hiring people that are much smarter than me and you you hear that you read that in entrepreneur terms I don’t think I always did I think in my earlier parts career I didn’t. Um, but but I think that you know as I’ve grown in in my career. You know if you want to do bigger and harder things you’ve got to find subject matter experts and and specialists that are just way smarter than than yourself. So I really believe in like trying to constantly learn and then follow that curiosity and that passion kind of that journey of. Self-discovery. But then also I’m also you know really big believer of surrounding yourself with experts and people that are much farther than you and then actually listening to them because it’s 1 thing to do that. But then if there’s nothing to actually listen to them and pay attention to them and so I’ve been fortunate that you know I didn’t have to really know anything about. Satellite software and infrastructure or defense I didn’t have to really know anything about gaming I don’t really have to know anything about biotech. Um I could learn those things as long as I surrounded myself with people that you know are industry experts in in those fields.
Alejandro Cremades: So then let’s talk about Colossal you know what are you guys doing at Colossal and and why why is this problem meaningful enough for you to to to dive right in.
Ben Lamm: Well, it was kind of the perfect combination of value creation impact and inspiration right? I feel like there’s an opportunity to build a company that that you know hopefully could inspire genetics at people to you know little girls and boys to be geneticists. Or you know to to focus on conservation. But you know where I think people have started to really understand that we have a ah climate catastrophe looming and I think people understand that people think for the most part of it accepted the the impacts of manmade ah climate change where. Where people I think are starting to pay attention is is to what are the ripple effects of that and and loss of biodiversity is one of them we we could lose up to 50% of all biodiversity between now and twenty fifty if we don’t radically do something current technologies around conservation. Just don’t work at the same speed. And the current techniques don’t work. They’re very old school. They don’t work at the same scale as humanity is changing environments and eradicating species. So George and I talked about an opportunity to focus on bringing back a couple of keystone species to to reintroduce them back into their historical. Um, ecosystem a process called rewilding to help replenish those ecosystems and and then also leverage the excitement around that and the technologies around that to have a bigger halo effect to conservation and develop new tools and technologies that only that not only could be leveraged in this de-extinction toolkit.
Ben Lamm: Could be applied to conservation and you know when when you get you know someone like George Church that’s willing to be your partner on such a you know world changing idea. Um, it’s hard not to want to pursue it.
Alejandro Cremades: And in this case too I mean you guys have raised quite a bit of money. How much money have you guys raised. Okay.
Ben Lamm: So we’ve we’ve raised two hundred and twenty five million dollars to date.
Alejandro Cremades: And in no time because I mean you guys got started like in about 2021 and literally you’ve raised your seat in 2021 the series a in 2022 and then you know pretty much you know the rest between then and and now in 2023 and I believe that. It has been reported at a 1,000,000,000 plus valuation which is absolutely incredible in like no time I mean what do you think has really what? What do you think has been the the key ingredients to to feel. You know that that growth.
Ben Lamm: I think that the opera I think we’ve been very lucky to have like you know, best in-class long-term strategic investors like Thomas Toll and Jim Breyer and these kind of legendary technology investors that can look at a very long horizon. They can also. Understand you know one of the many conversations I have with Thomas very early on is that you know when you when you go after de-extinction you’ve got to build a lot of infrastructure to you know and you got to build things like a system like just like software just like you know satellite or or like satellites you have to build an entire kind of. Ah system approach to de extinction’re not you’re not solving one little point system and so in that there’s a lot of innovations that come from that in software whatware and hardware and so you know spending a lot of time you know with with our key investors like Thomas and others really helped us kind of shape that narrative. And ensure that that you know on the path to de-extinction. We’re building not just technologies that can bring back extinct species and help conservation but can also have a meaningful impact to human healthcare right? and some of that is manifesting the form of software. Some of that’s manifesting in next generation editing tools in the lab. And some of that’s even you know, hopefully long-term will manifest itself in in hardware devices that could help even you know, ah everything ranging from livestock to human gestation and so um, you know we’re very very excited about kind of like how these technologies can come together. But we’re also excited about you know how these technologies can independently.
Ben Lamm: Be helpful for human healthcare and so you know I think you know I think that the thesis of of looking at the de-extinction like the moon landing you know in our success we you know truly change the world and create kind of this history defining moment. But I think there’s a lot of opportunities to build really meaningful technology which touches. And you know everything from conservation to to human long longevity and and human health and so we’ve just been very fortunate that incredible investors have supported that vision and you know and I think that part of a function is coming out of covid and coming out of of some of the things that we’ve gone through over the last you know 5 years where think people are longing for you know, bigger opportunities to to to help humanity take a ah bigger. Step forward.
Alejandro Cremades: So as you’re talking about vision here. Imagine you go to sleep tonight Ben and you wake up in a world where the vision of colossal is fully realized what does that world look like okay.
Ben Lamm: Um, well hopefully better than before the vision was realized right? We get the Jurassic part questions quite a bit. Um, but no, you know you know I see a world where you know you where you know there’s a completely vibrant. Arctic ecosystem out there where you have you know mammoths back you know in the Arctic where you have thylacines and other keystone species and Keystone Predators back in their environments like like in Tasmania where you where you have you know people you know like the moritian government and the moritian people who are so ecstatic to see. And such an iconic species like the dota that they’re known for it’s on their flag and it’s on their money and it’s it’s a part of their heritage culture. But no one living in Mauritius has seen a dodo right? and so that’s so iconic to them and so I think the ability to return these species back and and fix these degraded ecosystems. as well as you know I think while that is success I think another part of success is you know, seeing incredible conservation partners that then take the tools and you know they save the northern white rhino or they save you know, blue whales or or they they you know create you know. Ah, genetic solutions to some of the diseases that that plague existing species like chytrid and and amphibians or ev and elephants and so a world where we’ve achieved our de-extinction goals and successfully rewilded them and other people have applied those technologies.
Ben Lamm: Conservation and made a meaningful difference and saved a species because of the work We’ve done here I think that’s success and I think we’ll get there. We definitely have the team to do it. We’ve got the backers to do it. So it’s really just on us to execute.
Alejandro Cremades: And you’re talking about team I mean the team you guys have grown it by over 92% in the last twelve months I mean how do you go about attracting you know a diverse team. You know that is also committed and and rowing in the same direction at the same speed as everyone else.
Ben Lamm: Yeah I mean you you you have to try you know like I said earlier I look at my my you know role as a supporting function right? and so you’ve got to trust your team. You’ve got to hire the best people you got to empower them to hire the best people you got to really listen to them and so. We’ve built this world renowned. You know we look at colossal as this like you know, not just the world renowning advisors that we have and and team members but it is it is this kind of global coalition of people that are working together right? We’ve got you know collaborators in in Australia. We’ve got collaborators in Germany. We got collaborators in in in the Uk and so we really try to work. You know with this kind of global mindset because you know you know loss of biodiversity and climate change doesn’t have borders and you know that doesn’t recognize borders. Um, you know like the way that we as humans do and so. We’ve really I think done a great job of attracting incredible talent both externally with you know best some of the best research labs in the entire world and then we’ve we’ve leveraged those labs as as conduits to to bring in incredible women and men into colossal that are the full time people and so. Have 107 people full time at colossal but then we have about 30 that we fund in academic labs and we have over 50 advisors right? and so you really are starting to get the benefits of kind of that network effect and they’re all you know multidisciplinary. So we’ve got people like Doris Taylor who are decellularizing hearts.
Ben Lamm: And and you know rebuilding synthetic hearts. You get people like George Church who are you know you know inventing you know, genetic engineering and in the field of readwrite genetic engineering as a whole you’ve got people like Beth Shapiro who are like the leading ancient Dna experts. You know in the world and so when you start to put these people together. That kind of their skill sets kind of comes together to you know a form kind of the fabric that you need to to look at a really hard system like species preservation or de-extinction.
Alejandro Cremades: I mean it’s pretty unboliable. The um, the people that you have been you know able to to really attract here whether it’s on the team whether it’s on the investment side whether it’s on the advisorrs I mean 50 advisors I mean that’s a lot of advisors too. You know to guide you know this in the right direction. How do you go about. You know what? what really stands out for me is 1 word and that is enrollment. How do you get them enrolled in in in that future that you’re living into so that they just want to jump right in.
Ben Lamm: Why you know I will say that you know we’re somewhat cheating right? because like de extinction just is cool like I mean regardless of the potential positive impacts for the world and for whether it’s human Healthcare or or conservation. It’s also just cool like I mean that we we are kind of cheating right? cause it’s like it’s Impactful. It’s intellectually interesting but you know it’s also just really cool like like for the most part people think is it’s cool and interesting. Um, and so I think that we we one of the things I think that’s been a secret to our success is we really embrace Criticism. So while I think it’s cool and while apparently a lot of people think it’s cool. It is big. It is bold. Sometimes big and bold ideas and transformation is scary right? So you can bring that sometimes brings out all types of Critics. We’ve actually really leaned into our critics and so some of our early critics of the company are now our most trusted advisors who we work with on a daily basis and we wouldn’t actually be where we are today. Without some of those critics joining our mission and I think that we’ve taken um you know, Ah, ah, very transparent and hopefully approachable Perspective. You know to this problem where we’re not going to do everything right? We’re going to do stuff that makes people really probably upset or into stuff that we think makes people really really happy. Think most importantly, we’re gonna do things that makes people that makes the world a better place and has a big impact but I think that we’ve we’ve tried to not only be transparent but we’ve tried to be very receptive to that feedback. We. We don’t think that we have all the answers and I think that that attitude.
Ben Lamm: And kind of that approachability has allowed us to to collaborate with some of our critics and then I think that’s helped expand you know, kind of the and widen the aperture of of people that we can collaborate with and that doesn’t mean that everyone loves what we’re doing and that doesn’t mean we won’t have some critics that we you know. Ah, that don’t change their minds. But I think we’ve taken this attitude of it’s our job with with how you know, big and bold of the the things that we’re doing. It’s our job to educate and be transparent. It’s not our job to Persuade and I think that that that that attitude has really resonated with you know. Collaborators across the scientific community the business community and the conservation community.
Alejandro Cremades: So so Ben in your case you pe at it. You know as an entrepreneur now for a little over 20 years I mean you obviously build all these I know I know I mean in dock years. It’s absolutely crazy know they the amount of years that you know go into building companies know from the grownup now.
Ben Lamm: Yeah, it was like 200 and but.
Alejandro Cremades: Your case I mean you pinut it for a while and let’s say I was to give you the opportunity of going into a time machine and I bring you back in time you know perhaps to that moment that you were still you know in Baylor University you know doing your finance and accounting. You know the greece let’s say. You were able to go there into the cafeteria and you’re able to sit your younger self and you’re able to give that younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now. So.
Ben Lamm: Ah, the the biggest piece of advice is that I I realize along my journey that I’ve I’ve been very passionate about the journey I’ve been very passionate about entrepreneurship but I don’t know if I’ve always been passionate about. Every single project so like like conversible is a great example just to be not to pick on a company but like con versible is a great company. It could have been a much larger. It did well economically but could have been a much larger company Android a great vision for it. We we could have built something but like I’m ah you know. I didn’t want to communicate even with chat right? like that’s not my preferred method of communication. My preferred med method humation’s voice and so so you know I feel like I wish I if I went back in time or could you go back in time I would say look follow your heart be passionate about these things but really try to align your passion. With building the business with the things you’re actually passionate for and so you know I really want to mostly focus my time only on building companies that have an impact to the climate and and and to you know national security and in the areas that I I found a ah ah, bigger interest in and so. Um, you know I think that I had to build a couple companies along the way that I was really excited about the building and the team in in us winning those categories as we did. But um, but I don’t know if I was as passionate as I am with some of the later companies where I’ve really not married that passion for building.
Ben Lamm: With the actual work that we are doing and I think that some of the earlier companies would have been much bigger. Um or had different. You know if we had you know if if I had married those things better so that that’s the big advice I give myself.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it now for the people that are listening Ben what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi.
Ben Lamm: Ah I’m on social media. So I’m just federal lamb on Twitter so but a decent amount of time probably too much on on Twitter but but I’m on Twitter and Instagram and kind of all the major social channels.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Well hey Ben thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Ben Lamm: Thank you so much for having me.
* * *
If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at [email protected]