Listen the Story
This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Menon Renewable Products, started by Dr. Suresh Menon, based out of the U.S. At Menon, their goal is to provide farmers with the technology and knowledge to raise healthier animals and reduce the amount of non-sustainable ingredients being used to feed livestock and aquaculture. They provide the aquaculture/animal feed industry with environmentally responsible, sustainable, and renewable feed products that enhance survivability, growth, and health. Here is the story of Menon Renewable Products in Dr. Menon’s own words.
Introduce us to the idea of Menon Renewable Products
MrFeed is an animal feed for shrimp, fish, poultry, and pigs. It is a feed that produces faster growth, provides defense against infection, better digestibility, higher survival rates, and improved yields.
The main differentiating factor is the structure of the proteins from a molecular level. We can control the proteins’ size, or what we call peptides, and make them smaller. As a result, the uptake of these small peptides in the bloodstream is easier, boosting the blood’s protein. This enhances the immune function of a given animal.
I chose to focus on animal feed because I noticed a trend of increased density in farm animals and a number of unintended consequences for the animals associated with that.
For example, in aquaculture, farmers growing shrimp at 10 shrimp per square meter increased to 150 shrimp per square meter to keep up with productivity. This meant that disease became more prevalent, and farmers facing decimation of the shrimp pond were using antibiotics to treat this issue.
That was the main reason why I came on the scene. I don’t believe that antibiotics should be the solution to overcome this issue. We need to understand what the animal really needs from a nutritional perspective in order to enhance its immune system.
I recognize the population growth and we need to have an adequate food supply, but we cannot just randomly increase usage of chemicals and antibiotics to treat the disease.
Menon meets the growing demand for sustainable animal feed utilizing our proprietary process. The process reduces stress and waste in the global environment. The process is highly scalable, and the product lines can be produced from a variety of agricultural inputs, thus alleviating strain on natural resources.
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Menon Renewable Products?
I started my first company when I was 16. The experience gained in starting and building a business laid the foundation of innovation.
I am an entrepreneur and Founder of Menon Renewable Products to stop the global use of antibiotics in animal feeds, save our planet from waste practices impacting precious natural resources, and promote health for humans and animals.
I specifically came up with MrFeed® and started Menon Renewable Products in order to meet the increasing worldwide demand for an abundant, sustainable, cost-competitive, and renewable source of animal feed. MrFeed® has been proven in aquaculture, poultry, and swine (with other animal species currently under testing) and has demonstrated superior performance when compared to traditional feeds in the areas of survivability, growth, disease remediation, Feed Conversion Ratio FCR, and overall animal health.
I also founded Menon Biosensors, which provided confirmatory technology for detecting bioweapons for the U.S. government. This technology is currently expanding applications to population-scale testing for COVID-19, and other viruses and bacteria in animals and humans.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at Menon Renewable Products?
We are actively seeking earned media opportunities to get the word out about our animal feed to potential customers. We have a powerful ‘why’; we are committed to what we do. We think sharing that story will help us gain new customers and help us make the world more aware of the sustainability issues our company aims to address.
Our product has been adopted by some of the world’s biggest companies to take care of their animals. We also have a product being designed to enhance immune functions for humans. Through support from our investors and shareholders, we managed to offset the risk of capital to continue the research to validate our products, as well as share it with new audiences.
We utilize Facebook for its expansive audience reach. It also gives us the opportunity to target specific audiences that might want to get involved with Menon.
Our website was designed and created by professional creative members of our team. The highly experienced marketing professionals provided input and credible third-party data on product validation. The commercial team then overlaid the design to make it easy for clients to review the information and contact us for pricing.
What is the competitive advantage of Menon Renewable Products?
Menon’s goal is to provide farmers with the technology and knowledge to raise healthier animals. Our technical staff provides insight and instructions on how MrFeed® can be integrated into finished feed diets. We work with farmers to create formulations that replace various additives, analyze performance and cost metrics.
Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) is the ratio of the amount of feed consumed to the weight of the animal produced. Reduced FCR is greatly beneficial to the farmer because it means they can use less feed to produce larger animals, thus giving them great cost savings.
MrFeed® is a dream come true for formulators and farmers. Formulators are not subject to price fluctuations and the availability of this ingredient. The ingredient is designed with detailed and unique specifications ensuring the diet always remains consistent. For farmers, this product erases the pain of animals dying and loss of the entire harvest. MrFeed produces faster growth and higher yields for farmers who add our ingredients to their animals’ diets.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
Avoid thinking that you know everything and that mistakes will not be made along the way. In the early stages, we lacked the knowledge of how shrimp feed is formulated and manufactured.
We decided to investigate pelletizing our ingredients to feed the shrimp to see if it will survive. The entire pellet broke down in the water. However, the shrimp had the best survival compared to the control group!
Immediately, I engaged in hiring the world’s most experienced shrimp feed formulation and nutrition experts to help with pellet construction and innovative formulation.
Share a story when you have been customer-obsessed at Menon Renewable Products
While we started small with our clients, the ability to continue to offer trials to our customers has garnered our success. Trials of MrFeed are continuing and producing promising results. We hope to use news of these trials to continue to garner interest from clients around the world.
Today, our clients are some of the largest producers of these animals in the world, including Tyson, Pipestone, and Costco in USA, National Aquaculture in Saudi Arabia, Walmart supplier in Indonesia and Martec in Costa Rica among others.
We are continuing to work with some of the world’s largest animal producers, including those in the swine, aquaculture, and poultry industries.
In fact, the adoption of our product has exceeded my initial expectations, and we’re excited about where this is going and the data that is coming out of our animal trials.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
My advice to new inventors is to be innovative while solving problems, whether technology or day-to-day operations. Our success is due to what we know in our field of business, and others don’t. Once you have the initial idea, then work tirelessly to put together the most motivated team around you to execute.
There will be challenges along the way. The most challenging thing for us was product validation. To prove that the product works, we were required to scale up production. I had to pledge my home for a business loan to build my first factory. Product validation takes a lot of time and the farmers and growers have limited capital to test new functional ingredients. This requires companies like ours to raise capital to support research and testing while also ensuring scaling up production of MrFeed.
One must have a product that sells itself and not depend on the sales team. Faith in yourself and your product must be established with credible, independent data. Once your product is established as disruptive, enjoy the rollercoaster ride to success!
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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