Taking the Leap

Miguel Calatayud is the CEO and Director of IWI, an innovative algae nutrition company building sustainable and scalable nutritious food to feed the world’s growing population. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Universidad Pública de Navarra, a Master’s of Finance from ESIC, a Master's of Global Logistics from ICIL, an MBA from Comilas Pontifical University, and also graduated from the Harvard Business School President's Program. Miguel is a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) and is home based in Houston, Texas. He has spent the past 25 years in the food and agriculture industries and is now helping to revolutionize both with new food tech and agri-tech.  His revolutionary technology uses non-arable land, salt water, and the sun as their energy source to produce the world’s best omega-3 and complex proteins. In the process, he is creating jobs and new industries for local populations. IWILife.com has been featured on CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, and many other outlets. 

Show Notes:
  • Algae omega has three times the absorption rate of fish oil omega.
  • Algae protein is better than egg and whey, has all the amino acids needed, and is highly soluble.
  • You can grow 20 pounds of essential amino acids per acre of peas per year, 71 pounds of essential amino acids of beef per acre, per year, but with algae, you can grow 6,000 pounds of essential amino acids per acre per year! This is a massive breakthrough!
    • Furthermore, it does not use current freshwater or agricultural land but rather previously unusable desert land and salt water. 
  • You need 9,000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 pound of amino acids from peas, and 17,000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 pound of essential amino acids from beef, and with algae, they use ZERO fresh water.
  • (11:00) - Miguel tells his origin story and the idea behind IWILife.com in 2016.
  • Miguel announces the launch of a new product, a three-ounce protein drink with 17 grams of natural protein that has all the branch chain amino acids better than egg and whey. 33% of daily needed protein...an "8-hour protein!"
    • The three most important aspects of a successful food, drink, or protein...Miguel says it is "Taste, Taste, Taste!"
  • (19:30) Miguel shares his go-to-market strategy.
  • (21:30) Miguel shares how he builds and grows a company during a difficult economy post-COVID.
    • "The challenge is everything we are doing is new. This is also a new category. We have to explain it to the customer." 
    • Strong clinical studies on the product and thousands of consumers raving about the product is helping growth.
  • "Many times in life, you have to choose between making an impact or doing a profitable business. In our case, they are both the same!"
  • We are democratizing farming and making great, profitable products.
  • (27:00) - "If you want to build a successful business, you need to convince the consumer that your product is better than the current best product in the market."
  • (32:00) - The middle east has what we need, "Sun, Sand, Salt Water." 
  • "Our people are not just motivated by a job or career...they know they are doing something that will change the world. It is bigger than us." It is all about having a purpose-driven motivation over an economic motivation.
  • What are the Top 5 that Miguel focuses on: 
    • The Boss = The Customer...are you listening to their needs and what they are telling you?
    • The Team = Have you hired the right team with the right motivations and culture?
    • The Partners = Your suppliers and retailers are a critical component to your operation.
    • The Community = Are you positively impacting the community where you work?
    • The Investors = Do you have the right investors helping you?
  • (47:00) - What is going on with Agri-Tech and Food-Tech today? How is the world advancing in these areas?
  • (51:00) - The city of Houston food bank provides 151 million meals a year to food-insecure people! This is between 400-600K meals a day!
  • Book Recommendations
    • Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willnik 
    • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence - Max Tegmark
    • Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control - Stuart Russell
  • (1:04:00) - How would Miguel encourage people to be big dreamers and try to do what others say is impossible?
    • There is no such thing as a dream too big. However, there is a tipping point between dreaming and doing...that is called having a plan.

Creators & Guests

Robert Dickie
CEO, Author, Entrepreneur, Investor
Mitch White
Freelance Audio Engineer, 2011 Recording Connections Certified Audio Engineer
Tristin Dickie
Nashville Fellows Program 2022, Marketing Assistant for Affinity Technology Partners, Professional Photographer freelancer. Go VOLS!

What is Taking the Leap?

Taking the Leap Podcast hosted by Robert Dickie III discusses changes in our global economy impacting the way we work and live. For young professionals starting their careers, mid-career professionals navigating changes and late-career professionals thinking about starting an encore career, Robert and his guests discuss the global economy, technology, workplace developments, and all the latest changes impacting our professional lives.