Founder and Manager Partner, Lever VC
Nick Cooney is Founder and Managing Partner at Lever VC, a venture capital fund investing in early stage companies in the alternative protein sector (plant-based and cultivated meat, egg and dairy companies). Lever VC operates globally, with offices in Hong Kong and the U.S. and staff in the US, Hong Kong, Europe, and Israel. He has been working in the alternative protein space for over 15 years. (Entrepreneurs and startups interested in connecting with Lever VC about possible investment can reach the team and submit information about their company at http://www.levervc.com.)
Nick was the Co-Founder and former Managing Trustee and Investment Committee member of the New Crop Capital venture capital trust, as well as Co-Founder and former Board Chair of the Good Food Institute, the world’s largest non-governmental organization working to grow the alternative protein space.
Nick has invested in over 40 alternative protein deals around the world, including Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, and other market leaders with combined value of over $7 billion USD. He currently serves on the board of several portfolio companies in the space.
In his previous policy work in the alternative protein sector, Nick oversaw multi-million annual budgets and managed a team of 45 staff working to promote and market alternative protein products to consumers across North America, South America and Asia, and make similar food policy improvements. He also worked with major international food companies such as Nestle, Danone and others on adding more alternative proteins and other issues. Early in his career, he taught entrepreneurship through a University of Pennsylvania program affiliated with the Wharton School.
Senior Vice President International, Impossible Foods
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, the industry-leading food-tech startup Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious and sustainable meat, fish and dairy from plants in order to restore biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change. Investors include Coatue, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mirae Asset Global Investments, Open Philanthropy Project, Sailing Capital, Temasek, UBS, and Viking Global Investors.
Nick Halla joined Impossible Foods as its first employee and has helped build the company from the ground up. Nick has held numerous senior executive roles at Impossible Foods and currently serves as Senior Vice President for International. He oversees the company’s growing presence around the world, including overseas business development and operations.
Before joining Impossible, Nick was an expert in food commercialization at General Mills, where he developed and launched several new product lines and designed large-scale food manufacturing systems. He also has experience in agriculture, having grown up on a family dairy farm, and commercializing new technologies such as solar, energy storage and biofuels.
Nick holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an M.S. in Environment and Resources from the Stanford School of Earth Sciences.