Pongamia: Reimagining Agriculture

Archive-Day Zero

Pongamia: Reimagining Agriculture

In this episode, Rishi Sikka, M.D., Partner at Lifeforce Capital and a Professor of the Practice of Health Services, Policy and Practice at Brown University School of Public Health, speaks…
November 15, 2022

Pongamia: Reimagining Agriculture

Meet Naveen Sikka:

Naveen Sikka is the founder and CEO of TerViva, a food and agriculture technology company that is building a more sustainable plant protein and vegetable oil supply chain. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Elemental Excelerator and a Fellow for Unreasonable Impact Americas. Previously, Naveen worked as a management consultant at Gemini Consulting and TPI. He received a bachelor’s from Columbia University and an MBA from UC Berkeley. 


Key Insights:

TerViva is bringing a new crop to the global market: pongamia. 


  • Food as Medicine. TerViva is centered around pongamia, which grow well in poor quality soil and is climate resilient. TerViva is breeding the plant to create a domesticated version that has more consistent crop yields and is creating consumer products from the plant’s proteins and oil.
  • Optimism during Recession. Traditional capital from Wall Street will be harder to access for climate tech companies. However, Naveen points to a silver lining. People and companies around the world recognize climate change as an existential threat. Incumbents are willing to invest and partner with startups that make the world more sustainable. 
  • Stay Focused.Naveen advises founders to find the intersection of what you believe in from a mission perspective and what the market is interested and able to fund. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

This episode is hosted by Rishi Sikka, M.D. He is a guest host for Day Zero and is a Venture Partner at Lifeforce Capital and Professor at Brown University School of Public Health.


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