You want to fight ecological destruction. You also want to be a part of the fast-paced, passion-driven world of startups. But you are looking for people who care about sustainability as more than window-dressing for private equity firms or shiny packaging for influencers.
For this position, you want to apply your microbiological curiosity to a real product that you can put in your mouth and out into the world. You want to be on the forefront of bringing modern community ecology and systems thinking to the still narrowly focused field of microbial engineering.
Our vision is a world where on every menu, grocery shelf, and table, the most exciting foods are also the most sustainable. Our mission is to excite people about eating sustainably by crafting cultured foods that tap into the diversity of the microbial world. We are starting with a new category of aged, hard cheeses—that happen to be made from plants. Founded by a nerd with fancy degrees from fancy places, we are taking the time to understand the science of cheesemaking and manipulating those processes to work with plants. We are a public benefit corporation, meaning that we are culturally and legally obligated to put our mission over money.
What makes a good match?
Our core values are:
Give a shit. Care about what you do, care about how you do it, care about the people you do it with, and care about the planet and everything else that brought you here in the first place.
Strive for better. To make a future world better than the present, make your present self better than your past. Challenge yourself to change. Invest in the person you want remembered. Don’t compare yourself with others, but with who you were yesterday.
Empower others. Seek your success by helping others achieve theirs. On your deathbed, what will you remember: learning to ride a bike or teaching your kid to ride a bike? By helping others, you achieve missions greater than yourself and feel the joy of being proud instead of pompous.
Treat feedback as a gift. Ideas, critiques, questions, and feelings are the most valuable things you will ever give or get. Give them thoughtfully, and receive them gratefully.
Savor every bite. Have fun and take care of yourself. You have one life; bask in it.
In addition, the following questions may help establish whether you will be a good fit for our culture:
Do you love the steep end of the learning curve?
What sounds like more fun:
Being the expert in something and a company’s go-to resource for that thing. You crush it all day long.
Constantly evolving new methods, building novel systems, and taking on potentially very different challenges. You often find yourself dreaming up a new way of doing something, throwing out everything you know, reading 100 Wikipedia articles that you never would have guessed existed, building a first version out of duct tape, and building another that achieves your vision.
If the second one sounds like your jam, then we might be a good fit. We put equal value on expertise and insightful ignorance. We love learning new topics and turning ideas into real stuff and real change. Few things are as exciting to us as doing something scary and new. Speaking of scary:
Do you love type II fun?
In mountaineering, there are three types of fun:
Type I Fun—also known as “fun” by normal people—is activities that are fun in the moment. Eating at your favorite restaurant. Seeing a surprise hit movie with your friends. Reading Harry Potter. Outdoor activities with great conditions (no bugs, deep powder) and mild objectives (alpine lake swimming, climbing hand cracks, fishing).
Type II Fun sucks in the moment. It is painful, you are hungry and tired, and you were not prepared. You might die. Shit, are we going to die? But somehow you make it out, and in the rosy glow of hindsight you declare, “Wow, what a great experience! I learned so much about myself and the world! We did it!” Overzealous alpine objectives, your first breakup, having children. In its highest form, type II fun is when you feel in your heart like everything is going to implode (imposter syndrome, social rejection, mortal peril), but some tiny rational part of your brain knows you are safe.
Type III Fun is not fun, ever. It’s awful during the process and never redeeming after. Going to the DMV. Running through the twinge in your knee only to be in crutches for the next six months. Irreversible emotional damage from trauma. Avoid.
Type I fun is great. But to find a home at Tezza, you need to love type II fun. You want to push yourself and work hard. You may even enjoy the feelings (fear, intimidation, exhaustion) that you associate with these goals. To you, nothing is more satisfying than coming out the other side, saying, “Holy crap, we survived! I can’t believe it! What’s next?”
Are you a little weird?
Normal people don’t like type II fun, and if you are a distinctly normal person, you probably aren’t going to like it here. We push boundaries: social, scientific, culinary, and more. Our moral compasses can create odd, occasionally fanatic behavior. We may have a drawer full of used plastic bags. We may bike to work even though it’s dumping rain. We may take trains for outrageously inconvenient distances. We relish breaking traditions or social norms to do the right thing or to do something well.
Our weirdness also comes across as a bit campy, less Rocky Horror Picture Show, more summer-campy/band-campy. We aren’t afraid to look like idiots, since we usually act like idiots because life is more fun that way. We are willing to ask awkward questions, share too much information, and build relationships quickly. We would rather play tag in the mud than wear suits in a conference room. We believe that a group of people with a goal and a safe space can change the world, and we can say that without rolling our eyes (that much).
Do you consider money and power by-products?
If money is your first priority, work in finance. If you want power above all, management consulting is a no-brainer. If you want to join a Silicon Valley startup with glossy offices, trendy swag, and fancy cars parked outside, there are many great options.
If you are here, be here because of the mission. Be here to work with other nerds excited about the same problems as you. Be here because you feel confident that everyone, bottom to top, wants to use dollars and power to fulfill the mission, not the pockets of nameless rich people. Unless things go to crap, everyone here will make plenty of money, and we don’t abstain from things that bring us joy (savor every bite). But if you wear alligator leather shoes, Tezza is probably a bad fit.
Do you apply similar values to your technical pursuits?
We look for people who pursue hard problems with the same thoughtfulness they apply to life, whether their field is people, science, or stories. You pick up new material quickly and work hard (occasionally obsessively) on problems you care about. You find new ways to solve old questions or new questions to solve with old ways. You have a skeptical eye and understand the limits of science and humans.
About the position
You will be working with us to discover new microbial cultures that can be used in cultured foods, specifically cheese. Some of your duties will include:
- Isolate and screen microbes
- Develop high-throughput methods for evaluating microbial communities for food applications
- Maintain robust and reliable documentation of your work such that others can effectively collaborate with you
- Work with the product team to apply cultures to novel cheeses and foods
- Work with the product and brand team to further our collective mission
What do you get out of it?
- Work on global sustainability problems via a hands-on, tasty product
- Large growth potential in different areas (management, research, operations, manufacturing, branding, etc)
- Equity ownership, equal opportunity profit sharing, and transparent pay structures
- Learn about different aspects of building an early-stage startup
- We focus on growth, and we hire you not for this position, but for your next three positions. We will work with you to craft a learning plan to achieve your personal and career goals, at Tezza or elsewhere
Initial trial period
All new hires are brought on as full-time consultants for three months to evaluate fit. After that period, a decision on joining Tezza will be made together with the full team. If the fit is not right, all candidates will be supported in finding a better team.
- Masters or PhD in microbiology or a related science with significant research experience
- A deeply held conviction in our mission and values
- Experience in generating and computationally analyzing genomic and metabolomic data
- Excited to invest energy into a fast-paced, thoughtful work environment
- Desire to take on daunting scientific challenges with zeal
If interested, what should you do?
We build relationships thoughtfully, and this approach takes time. Over multiple conversations, we will seek to understand how we can support you—and whether that support involves joining our team—and hopefully you will find out whether we are a good fit for your goals or simply a bunch of nutcases.
To apply, please email us with a resume and responses to the following prompts:
- What motivates you right now? When you think about your short life, what motivates you for the long term? And most important, why? Where did those motivations come from?
- How do you think that the combination of your technical skills with Tezza’s mission will improve the world? How will it improve you?
- What are seven things that you are striving to improve in yourself? What are you doing to work on them?
Tezza is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability status. But we acknowledge that we are flawed humans within a flawed society. We do our best and apologize and learn when that’s not enough.
We excite people about eating sustainably by crafting affordable cultured foods that tap into the diversity of the microbial world. To do this, we use modern microbial ecology to accelerate the discovery of cultured foods, starting with a new category of hard, aged cheeses made from sustainable plants.