About Fable Food Co.
“Discover a real story with animals as characters, not dishes.” This is Fable Food’s mantra as a plant-based food startup residing in Australia. Fable forages shiitake mushrooms and turns them into fantastically meat-free products that taste almost as good as the real thing. Minimally processed and made with a short list of natural ingredients, the company’s ethos is rooted in reducing our impact on the environment while keeping ourselves healthy.
The company is founded by chef, chemical engineer, and mycologist, Jim Fuller, organic mushroom farmer, Chris McLoghlin, and former Shoes of Prey co-founder, Michael Fox.
As a full vegan, Michael Fox started Fable with the hope of helping the planet. This passion, along with his healthy home cooking habits to create a whole food plant-based meat alternative, led him to be the Co-Founder and CEO of the company. He served the same roles in Shoes of Prey, a global retail brand whose mission was to remove inventory and waste in the fashion supply chain through on-demand manufacturing. His previous experiences include Google and Startmate.
Watch the full interview with Fable Food Co. here.
What were the challenges they faced?
With Fable going global and extending its reach to the US, they see equity as the core part of the package being offered to its team members. Fox says, “We have all of our employees on the equity scheme. We could probably do a better job of communicating the value of the equity and some of those pieces. We've sort of been in a fairly rapid growth mode, and I think some of those cultural things we needed to take some time and step back on. We just had our monthly all-hands yesterday…sharing the updates with the team, almost like they're investors. We did a little bit of that on the sales front yesterday, but we could probably do it in a little bit more depth.”
This challenge was also something he faced during his time in Shoes of Prey. He notes it’s important to see your team members as co-owners of the business, so it’s important to share information across the board.
For them, expansion isn’t just growing a group of employees–it’s also creating a team with the same vision as you, “Our mission is to help end industrial animal agriculture and we do that by making delicious meat food out of mushrooms. Australia's a relatively small market. We as individuals eat a lot of meat in Australia. But if you look globally at all the meat consumed, just because we're a relatively small population, we want to have a big impact on our mission. We need to go outside Australia, like a lot of startups do. So we launched in the UK, US, and got some teams on the ground in Malaysia and China as well.”
How did Cake help?
Fox is quick to gush about Cake, “Our COO, Chris McCallum, manages all of our cap tables and employee equity schemes and everything and [he] uses Cake. We love it!” He continues, “We use it for all of our shared registry management and all the related plans and documentation. We've got all our shareholder contact details and they’re issuing and generating all the share certificates for the shareholders. And all of our employees have equity in the business.”
All their Australian employees are on the equity plan and they’re gearing up to include their colleagues from the UK and US via Cake. Fox says, “It's just a really awesome tool for managing all of the cap table pieces. We started Shoes of Prey, 15 years ago now, and we had to do all this stuff manually and it was time-consuming and painful to do. Genuinely love your product. It just simplifies all of this so much.”
Now, it’s all a piece of Cake!
Co-founder of Cake, Jason Atkins, says it best, “That's what we try and help with at Cake–to simplify it all into one product. So it's as simple as just choosing the country that your employee is in and the specific offer letter becomes available for you to be able to issue options out into that country. It certainly makes your life a lot easier.”
Fox agrees, “It sounds bloody complex, so it’s good to be able to simplify it. Thanks for a genuinely great product and for all your support in helping make some of the back-end side of what we do easier. Really appreciative of it.”
A healthy culture = a healthy team!
Off-topic, Atkins and Fox discuss their hobbies, such as sports and how surrounding yourself with healthy people in a healthy work culture fosters, well, a healthy team! Atkins says, “We absolutely love that. We've built such a great culture of health here at Cake and having healthy people around you…improving, getting out there, working on their health. It’s super inspiring to be in communities like that.”