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Moku Foods

A vegan jerky brand offering chef-developed, uniquely-flavored jerky made of king oyster mushrooms.

FOUNDER Matt Feldman
HEADQUARTERS O’ahu, Hawaii

Behind the Brand

Moku was founded in 2020 by Matt Feldman. From a young age, Matt was extremely passionate about sustainability; he learned about the massive carbon footprint of the meat industry and transitioned to a vegan diet in 2017. Once he became vegan, Matt quickly discovered that there was a severe lack of nutrient-dense and vegan-friendly savory snack options on the supermarket shelves, most of which contained the same few brands of chips and popcorn. Seeking more diversity in his options, Matt began to experiment with mushrooms outside of his full-time tech job. He worked out of his kitchen in San Francisco, dehydrating mushrooms to make “jerky” and handing them out to friends. Upon researching the industry further, Matt discovered that there was a white space in the fast-growing jerky category and decided to create a vegan-friendly version.

With no culinary background, Matt knew that he needed to enlist the help of experts in scaling his kitchen recipe. He also knew that if he wanted to win over both vegan and non-vegan consumers, he needed to create a product that very closely emulated the taste and texture of real meat. To accumulate the money required to hire outside help, Matt surrendered his lease and lived on friends’ couches for eight months. Ultimately, he teamed up with Thomas Bowman, former product development head at Just, and Ali Bouzari, a Michelin-star chef, to bring his vision to life. The team ran into several challenges along the way (such as achieving the right jerky texture and properly marinating the mushrooms), but after a year of development and over 100 iterations, they finally landed on a formulation they were happy with. After launching to immense interest and success, Moku has continued on its mission to encourage consumers to take mindful steps towards a healthier future, one mushroom at a time.

Meet the Maker

What has been your most unforgettable moment (good or bad) while building your company? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

What is an essential part of your daily routine? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

What is your biggest pet peeve? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

What do you want to be remembered for? - +

The most unforgettable moment was on launch week in 2019 when I was driving boxes of our product to our fulfillment center, I delivered the boxes and was about to leave when I stopped and figure I'd sample one of the 2,000 bags I had dropped off. To my surprise, the jerky tasted horrible. It was nothing like it tasted in the trials and I knew we couldn't sell that quality of jerky. So I decided to trash all of the 2,000 bags of product, fire the co-man, call off our launch, and take the next 18 months to re-formulate our product and find a new manufacturer that can actually make our jerky at scale. Was definitely rock bottom for me.

Matt Feldman
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