From Animal Kingdom to animal free — Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger has joined the board of Perfect Day, an animal-free dairy maker based in Berkeley, California that says it’s “the most well-funded protein fermentation company in the world.”
Iger will fill the company’s first founder-designated seat on the board, which currently includes co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi and representatives from lead investors, Aftab Mathur and Patrick Zhang of, respectively, Temasek Holdings and Horizons Ventures. The startup has over $360 million in total funding to date.
“Innovation and leadership are both key to world changing ideas,” said Iger. “Perfect Day has established both innovation in its use of technology and novel approach to fighting climate change, and clear leadership in building a category with a multi-year head start in the industry they’re helping to build. I’m thrilled to join at this pivotal moment and support the company’s swift growth into new categories and markets.”
“We’re thrilled to have Bob Iger join our team, and are confident his tenured operational expertise and visionary leadership style will further help us scale our ambitions,” said CEO Pandya. “We’re focused on rapid commercialization in the U.S. and globally. But we know we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re excited and humbled to have a proven leader like Bob to help us thoughtfully transform our purpose-driven aspirations into tangible and sustainable impact.”
“Iger’s decades of business leadership experience across media and entertainment will bring a unique blend of operational and global market excellence to the Bay Area startup. As Perfect Day establishes the new food category of Animal-Free Dairy, Iger is poised to help the company execute its rapid expansion plans and succeed in its mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow by developing new ways to make the foods people love today,” the company added.
Establishing a well-rounded board is key for Perfect Day as the alternative protein industry continues to grow and fermentation technology becomes a key pillar in the industry, said the company, which was founded in 2014. It makes animal-free protein that can be used across products from ice cream and milk to cheese and butter. The taste and texture is the same as dairy “without the environmental, animal welfare, or food safety concerns.” Foods made with Perfect Day protein can be labeled as vegan and lactose-free “and are coming soon to a fridge near you,” it said.