CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Mihir Pershad, Co-Founder & CEO at Umami Meats

Mihir Pershad is the Co-Founder & CEO at Umami Meats, a company cultivating the future of sustainable seafood by crafting delicious, nutritious, affordable cultivated fish that is better for our health, our oceans, and our planet.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m a biochemist by training and spent several years in an academic lab studying protein biochemistry. I then transitioned into deep tech commercialization by joining a startup studio called Early Charm Ventures.

As Venture Partner there, I scouted interesting technologies at universities, managed IP in-licensing, and led these companies through initial financing, team building, and business development.

I ended up working with multiple companies at the intersection of aquaculture and biotechnology, which provided me with a crash course in the seafood industry and its challenges and led me to start Umami Meats. 

Currently, I am Founder & CEO of Umami Meats, where we are pioneering cultivated, ‘not caught’ seafood by crafting delicious, nutritious, and affordable cultivated fish that is better for our health, our oceans, and our future.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It’s hard to define a “typical” day because things look quite different each day. But I typically start around 6-6:30 am, head to the gym, and then go into the office and set my priority tasks for the day.

Depending on the day, mornings or afternoons are often filled with meetings with my team, potential customers, suppliers, and strategic partners while the other half of the day is devoted to internal work or special projects.

Some evenings, I have calls pretty late with North America, but I try to reserve evening time for reading and learning and strategy work with a couple of evenings free.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To me, it’s about running at a level I can sustain for years. I find it important to “book” time away from the company to ensure I mentally “turn off” for a bit each week.

I try to get to the gym at least 4 days a week, keep at least one weekend day completely free to relax and to reserve 2 weeknights to be free from calls, emails, or other strategic work. That seems to be working well for now!

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I started blocking off “free” evenings and days on my calendar to help carve out more time for hobbies and activities with friends.

I also started time blocking – planning out my ideal schedule and only booking activities into those time windows. This helps with over-scheduling and minimises the amount of context switching every day.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

For newsletters, the First Round Review and Prime Movers Lab produce great content for founders about general startup challenges and considerations specifically relevant to deep tech startups.

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I’d be interested to hear from Jack Dorsey about how he ran 2 public companies for years or from Keith Rabois about how he balanced running companies while actively continuing as an investor.

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Building companies, especially in deep tech, is a marathon filled with short sprints. I think “balance” looks different for everyone but the key is doing things you can maintain for years, rather than weeks at a time.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.