Be Daring, Not Chicken
Episode 25
October 27, 2020

Be Daring, Not Chicken

with Ross Mackay, Co-Founder & CEO of Daring

Founded in 2018, Daring produces plant-based chicken with a mission to create a more sustainable, delicious, and nutritious option for chicken loving consumers. In just their first year in the US, Daring has already locked in nationwide retail partners, including Sprouts, Gelson's, and Bristol Farms and recently closed an $8 million series A round led by Maveron Ventures. In this episode, Ross shares with us his entrepreneurial journey from dropping out of college, to working at a branding agency in the UK, to launching a menswear brand in the Middle East, to partnering with his friend, Elliott, to build Daring.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How growing up in Scotland and watching his dad grow his own successful business planted early seeds of entrepreneurship in Ross’ life
  • Why he dropped out of college after only one year 
  • How he built a successful menswear business in the Middle East after finding a gap in the market 
  • How becoming plant-based in his eating and meeting Elliott Kessas on business in Paris led to not only a new best friend but also a new business idea and partnership
  • How Daring Foods got its start with Sun Basket and how they launched in the US with big ambition and lots of confidence in their product
  • What Ross is learning about hiring as their team grows rapidly and how fundraising $8 million in their Series A went after being in the US for only a few months, during COVID nonetheless
  • Why being willing to take advice from those who have built successful businesses before is something that Ross loves
  • What is next for Daring, where you can find their products, and advice he has for aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs

To Find Out More:


“We were unapologetic about how we wanted this product to be.”

“Daring stands for a lot. We believe in challenging the status quo.”

“Our pillar, in the beginning, was looking at the health gap within plant-based meat that was missing and naturally keeping it as pure as possible made sense for us.”

“Hire for your values. There are a lot of really great, talented people out there, but are they great for your company?”

“When you go after money from people like Maveron or venture money, you have to be willing to go through it all because you are an early-stage company...there's a lot of due diligence that needs taking place. So if you ask for it, be willing to go that full way.”

“The fundraising was a great opportunity for us to really question our sales channels, our hiring process, our team, our org chart. It was just three months revising our business plan.”

“There was no plan B. It was never like, "Okay, well, if this doesn't work, we’ll do this." It was like, "This is going to work.’" 

“I come up against these challenges every single day, and a year ago it might've broken me. Today it's just part and parcel of running a business.”

“You can do a lot together. I really believe teams win. Teams win.”

“Fundamentally I love to take advice from people who have done it.”

“And I will say to anyone who is looking to raise capital, do your due diligence as well.”

“I think grit is super important. You're going to go through challenge, conflict, critique. You have to be willing to just go, go and go and then endure it. I think being able to adapt and be nimble.”

“I think entrepreneurs have to be willing to shift focus fast and understand that sometimes that product-market fit isn't right, and you have  to adapt.”

“I think this is a great time to be launching your own company. It's a phenomenal thing to be running your own company and doing your own company and challenging norms.”

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