What is it for you that sparks joy? To Ben Chiarelli, it’s the act of connecting one person to another, adding value to each of their lives. Today, Ben reveals just how central relationship-building has been to both his career and life.
About the Guest
In his own words, Benjamin “Ben” Chiarelli is a “founder, investor, adviser, and connector.” Over the past decade, he has worked as a healthcare investment banker for the country’s biggest names, including Deloitte, Jefferies & Company, and J.P. Morgan. He has also been at the helm of teams at Millennium Health, ASCA Design LLC, and Synthetic Genomics, alongside working under movers and shakers in the science world.
Drawing from his experience with healthcare investment banking, Ben has founded two of his own companies: private equity firm Divitempus Ventures, as well as cellular agriculture Cellibre.
Founded in 2017, Cellibre develops cellular agriculture solutions for products that have traditionally had issues scaling production in a sustainable, economic, and high-quality way. Utilising the science of synthetic biology, Cellibre changes and optimizes the cells that produce the target natural product.
The cellular agriculture company has pioneered breakthroughs in energy, ingredients, medicines, and more. Their current focus is to use their expertise in the production of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, revolutionizing the way cannabinoid-based medicines are sourced, produced, and consumed.
This week, Ben takes us on a decade-long journey through his career as an investment banker; how it exposed him to some really innovative people and taught him the value of relationship-building. We see how distinctly those formative years shaped Ben’s interests and practices, particularly with his latest endeavour into the cannabis industry.
In this first part, we delve into Ben’s ability to give altruistically and his innate love for creating connections, even if it means replying to LinkedIn messages past midnight. We also touch on synthetic biology, reciprocity, and what it means to live in a global village.
My Favorite Quotes
“Our society is kind of dominated by tech, right? […] But the real next industrial revolution is biology.”
“I think the legacy of real relationships, real connections is infinitely more valuable than a dollar.”
“Being responsive is really just a reflection of being cognizant that someone’s time is the most important thing they have. And they’re trying to allocate that time to maximise their happiness.”
“A lot of human beings have trouble giving credit to others. People tend to have an overinflated view of self.”
“For me, it was much less about being my own boss, and being an entrepreneur, and being held on a pedestal, just more, this is a good idea and we’re going to help a lot of people with this.”
“No matter where you go, you’ll meet really interesting people.”
00:51 - Introduction
05:46 - Ben’s foray into investment banking and experiencing culture shock
10:13 - Connecting with Dr. Craig Venter, who sequenced the first human genome
11:48 - Biology as a manufacturing technology and its impact on society
13:44 - Shifting to the cannabis sector after hearing of its medicinal qualities
15:57 - The value of investment banking: learning to add value to your clients
19:17 - What does being a “connector” mean to Ben?
24:43 - The psychology of reciprocity and giving altruistically
28:11 - Ben’s biggest pet peeve: lack of responsiveness
31:19 - Living in a global village and the joy of bringing people together
36:14 - Legacy as compensation and giving credit where credit is due
40:49 - Growing something tangible out of ideas
42:58 - Prioritising helping others over the glamour of being an entrepreneur
44:54 - Meeting fascinating people in the cannabis space