How lab-grown breast milk is helping to tackle malnutrition in babies

In this #MeetTheMB100 series, we are profiling the winners of the 2021 MB100; leaders combining profit and purpose to help achieve the UN Global Goals.

This interview series is sponsored by EY.

Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.

Michelle Egger (ME:) As a passionate food scientist, I look to combat global food security and malnutrition in everything I do. I have expertise in dairy fermentation, formulation, and processing and am thrilled to ditch the cows for humans.


After being inspired by upstream solutions for infant nutrition at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I became obsessed with advancing human nutrition through better infant feeding options. I seek to drive environmental and social change through creative food solutions with a consumer-first design. My entrepreneurial expertise in social impact and sustainable business models is what drives my commitment to seeking mission-aligned partners.


MB: Please introduce your business and the problems you’re trying to solve.

ME: BIOMILQ is developing technology to make breastmilk outside the body, produced from mammary cells. We’re making the future of feeding fearless, and 100% human, by offering families a new option for supplemental feeding — one that’s as close to breastmilk as possible and cultivated under safe conditions using our first-of-its-kind technology. BIOMILQ has the unique opportunity to leverage the gaps in feeding by offering 100% human milk. This new infant feeding option will allow parents who aren’t able to, or don’t want to, exclusively breastfeed for 6 months to still provide their babies with much of the nutrition of breastmilk and practicality of formula.



Michelle Egger, Co-Founder & CEO, BIOMILQ


MB: What is your biggest challenge right now and what support do you need?

ME: Our biggest challenge is keeping up with our own growth! We have incredible momentum as an organisation (and an urgent problem to solve) but growing as a team quickly makes for pains along the way. We need to bring more people onto the team that are mission-aligned and ready to roll up their sleeves to keep roaring forward.


MB: What is your ambition for the future of your business?

ME: To provide human milk to every baby on the planet that cannot be breastfed for whatever circumstantial reason. It’s lofty. We aren’t sure how to get in every corner of the world, but dreaming small isn’t something we do here at BIOMILQ.


MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?

ME: Right now I worry we have a lot of ‘impact-washing’ and ‘green-washing’ of businesses that are just half-way doing good. On the flip side, there are many people starting truly impactful businesses. My advice is that you have to align dollar-in to impact-out, or it isn’t a business – it’s a non-profit. There is nothing wrong with considering different organisational structures to have the impact you are aiming for.



Quickfire Questions

MB – Tell us a mistake you’ve learned from:

ME – I accidentally replied to a warm intro from one investor to another using the wrong first name because I was moving so fast. She said it was fine. It wasn’t fine. First impressions matter so slow down a click and get it right!


MB – How do you spend your time away from work?

ME – With my partner and dog at our house in the woods.


MB – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

ME – Figure out what you hate about your job and never want to do again and let that guide you to your next challenge rather than trying to find the ‘dream job’. It’s much easier to figure out what you don’t like than what you love.


MB – What is the one book everyone should read?

SS – “Skimmed by Andrea Freeman.  If you don’t know why BIPOC mothers are suspicious of infant formula companies you will after reading this!


MB – What is something you wish you were better at?

ME – Letting things go. I wish I could just move on easily and not beat myself up over mistakes or woulda-shoulda-coulda moments.


MB – What’s one thing you want to achieve in 2022?

ME – Go on vacation somewhere other than my own house!




Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Global Goals, here.


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