Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Ady Beitler (AB): I was born in Uruguay and lived in the United States and Argentina between 2007 and 2021. This year I moved back to Uruguay for family reasons. My first degree was in Law, and then I continued studying and working in the international development field.
MB: What Led you to start Nilus?
AB: Nilus is a milestone in my never-ending quest to contribute towards a more equitable world. When I learned that we’re throwing away enough food, in perfectly edible conditions, to feed the millions of people suffering from hunger, I felt I had to do something. The deeper I got into the problem, the better I felt trying to hack it. Tackling the food waste crisis has become my life’s mission as well as that of the entire Nilus team.
MB: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
AB: We are resolving two deeply intertwined problems: malnutrition and food waste. More than 820 million people in the world suffer from severe food insecurity, which means that they have likely run out of food and, at the most extreme, go for days without eating. Additionally, there is another 17% of the world population, or 1.3 billion people, who have experienced food insecurity at moderate levels. This means that they do not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food.
Malnutrition is directly associated with chronic diseases, as well as intellectual and emotional underperformance. Additionally
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
AB: The biggest problem we’re trying to solve is logistical. Huge quantities of food are being wasted every minute, in places that often are far away from where the food is in highest demand. We’re working towards finding rapid solutions to move that food from where it is spare to where it is needed, and do it sustainably over time.
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
AB: We envision a future where no one will go to sleep without eating a healthy and delicious meal every day, feeling better, performing better and being more confident about his/her opportunities in life.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
AB: My advice is that once you look at the market as an instrument of impact, rather than treating profit and purpose as two different things, it becomes clear that it’s all about looking for dynamics where everybody wins. And doing it unapologetically.
Yes: we are running a business out of feeding the poor. But guess what? That’s the most effective way we found to increase the quantity and quality of food that poor people receive, in the place where the food is needed the most.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
AB – The best piece of advice I ever received was from my first boss, Daniel Ferrere, who said: “problems get resolved on their own; so whenever you have one, the best reaction is to step back and acknowledge it.” This idea of looking at problems with mindfulness changed my career forever, because it gave me the courage and patience to attempt to resolve bigger problems every time.
MB – Who inspires you?
AB – Scott Harrison; Jose Andres; Phil Knight; Greta Thunberg.
MB – How do you define success?
AB – To me, successful people are those who have a genuine confidence in the fact that there is nothing else they could be doing to improve the world. When I see somebody convinced that his or her actions are taken in the best interest of humankind, and their effort represents the best of themselves, I call these people successful. Like Phil Knight once put it: “when you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is—you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama.”
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
AB – I wish I was better at cooking. Running a restaurant has always been a dream of mine.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
AB – “Shoe Dog“, by Phil Knight
MB – What do you do to relax?
AB – Meditating, cooking and reading.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.