Breakfast with the Co-Founders

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Ever wonder what it’s like to have a conversation with Ecovative’s Co-Founders, Eben and Gavin? Sure, you’ve probably seen some of the news clips and interviews they have done, and can probably get a sense of their personalities and thought processes. But what are they like in a casual setting with no cameras in front of them, deadlines to meet, or important decisions to make? We found that some of our newer employees were wondering the same thing.

In the last 8 years, Ecovative has grown from 2 employees to about 65 employees. With that dramatic increase, the onboarding process for new employees had to be revisited and carefully constructed. Ecovative’s culture revolves around open communication and a sense of community, so the question came up, ‘how can we continue our close-knit community when there are so many people?’ One of the steps Ecovative has taken towards resolving this is to introduce a new initiative called “Breakfast with the Co-Founders.”

Once a month we make sure that all new employees have some face time with Eben and Gavin while enjoying some coffee, tea, bagels, donuts, and conversation. The group gathers in our kitchen area bright and early in the morning to discuss whatever comes to their minds. All reservations and job titles go out the window, and the floor is open for discussion. This time is extremely valuable because it ensures that every new team member gets to know our co-founders early on. It reminds everyone that although we have the same goal of replacing unsustainable materials, each employee at Ecovative has a unique life outside of work and some very awesome interests.

For instance, I won’t forget the first Breakfast with the Co-Founders where two mechanical engineers, a communications rep, a production operator, a production manager, and a fungal strain technician sat down together over some delicious food. Although discussion started off slowly, suddenly we emerged into conversations that kept me wondering, “how did we even end up on this topic?” To give you an idea, some topics that stood out were the possibility of a real Jurassic Park, strange Russian literature (see Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov), and which state cheese is superior. The cheese discussion stemmed from the fact that one of our employees was from Wisconsin and the other grew up in Vermont. It was only fitting this evolved into a lengthy topic for discussion. So I’m curious, what would you talk to Eben and Gavin about if you had the chance? Let us know by reaching out via twitter!

- Melissa Jacobsen