Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!
We recently interviewed Catherine Roggero-Lovisi for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Catherine and here’s what we discussed about-
1. Modern Meadow: Sustainable textiles without animals or excessive chemicals.
2. Navis TubeTex Partnership: Revolutionizing dyeing, slashing water and energy.
3. Biore ITMA 2027 Award: Top sustainable tech in global textiles.
4. Bio Vera: Animal-hide-like material for durable footwear and cars.
5. Sustainable Economy Plan: Partner-driven adaptable tech for all.
6. Auto & Footwear Expansion: Eco-friendly high-performance materials.
About our host:
Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at Outgrow.co. He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.
About our guest:
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi, an industry veteran, is CEO at Modern Meadow, a biotechnology company merging material science and biology for global wellness. With extensive executive experience in notable companies like L’Oréal and Revlon, Catherine is set to propel Modern Meadow’s bio fabrication innovation and lead its mission for positive societal and environmental impact.
EPISODE 159: Tailoring Tomorrow: Weaving the Blueprint for a Sustainable Economy with Modern Meadow
Table of Contents
Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Catherine Roggero-Lovisi, who is the CEO at Modern Meadow.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Great to be here. Thank you.
Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!
Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!
The Rapid Fire Round!
Saksham Sharda: Let’s start with the rapid-fire round. So the first one is, at what age do you want to retire?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Depends on what retirements mean.
Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: 12 minutes.
Saksham Sharda: Most Embarrassing moment of your life.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Too many to say.
Saksham Sharda: Favorite color?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Black.
Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: I would say 10-11 PM.
Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Four. And, surviving is the term.
Saksham Sharda: Fill in the blank. An upcoming technology trend is _____.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Bio VERA is an upcoming technology trend that uses circularity as the cornerstone of sustainability.
Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: New York.
Saksham Sharda: Pick one Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Pass
Saksham Sharda: The biggest mistake of your career.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Not joining the sustainability movement if you want or being aware of what needs to be done earlier.
Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Reading.
Saksham Sharda: How many cups of coffee do you drink?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Cups, again, interesting measure. I would say I drink 10 to 12 espresso a day.
Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: I don’t.
Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Adaptation.
Saksham Sharda: Your favorite Netflix show.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Again too many.
Saksham Sharda: Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Night owl.
Saksham Sharda: One-word description of your leadership style.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Hopefully thoughtful.
Saksham Sharda: Top priority in your daily schedule.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Facilitate the work of everybody else.
Saksham Sharda: Ideal vacation spot.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Beach.
Saksham Sharda: Key factor for maintaining a work-life balance.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Still looking for it.
Saksham Sharda: Memorable career milestone.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Joining Modern Meadow.
Saksham Sharda: The last song you’ve been listening to.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: K-pop, Jun Ku was in New York a few days ago, getting acquainted with his music.
Saksham Sharda: The last movie that you saw that had an impression on him.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Last movie. I’ve, I’m blanking.
Saksham Sharda: That’s okay. So that’s a pass.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: That’s a pass.
The Big Questions!
Saksham Sharda: So let’s go onto the bigger questions, which you can now answer with as much time and thought and ease as you like. The first one is, could you tell us about Modern Meadow’s mission, especially in bio-fabrication and sustainable materials?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: So, our mission is to use bio-fabrication as a way to eliminate animal input and minimize the use of petrochemicals. What we wanna do is provide a solution or multiple solutions to the textile industry at large that are maintaining or enhancing the performance of the material that we’re putting in the market. So that performance may be durability, may be tensile strength, maybe color fastness but also making that material as performant as they are sustainable, and that as scale when we say sustainable, for us, sustainability is not only just bio content, it’s also using upscaling you know, using circularity also as a guiding principle, which means that we are very thoughtful in the way we select input the processes of production, and finally the output.
Saksham Sharda: And in what ways does your recent partnership with Navis TubeTex help with all this?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, we fundamentally believe at Martin Meadow that we need to partner, and we are enabling technology. So, of course, we discuss a biomaterial tech platform. However, the way this platform is being adopted differs based on the different technologies that are available in the textile industry. So, to make it simple, are we going with the coded textile? Are we going with a dying house, or are we going with a tanning partner? And, Nevis allowed us to bring to market a technology that allows dyeing textiles with 95% less water and 65% less energy. So this is where the equipment manufacturer with our solution, with our Biola solution, which is a combination of plant-based protein and biopolymer, brings to basically all the manufacturing locations which are dying, textile, the ability to do it more sustainably.
Saksham Sharda: And for all your work, you have recently won the Bio-FREED ITMA 2027 Innovation Award. Could you speak more about that?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well it is, if you want, a huge forum, a little bit like a web summit, but for all the equipment, chemicals, and anything related to textiles in the textile industry at large. And that happens every four years. And they, like everyone else, identified the need to push technology that brings forward not only what everybody needs, which is a performance material, material basically, that has a customer. It’s interesting to have a sustainable solution, but if it’s not a solution that the market wants, nobody’s gonna buy it. Therefore, you will have zero impact. So they have acknowledged that they need to push forward technology that maintains that performance, but also do it more sustainably. And this is why we were acknowledged in that forum this year.
Saksham Sharda: And you’re also going to be speaking at World Biomarkers 2023.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Yes.
Saksham Sharda: What’s it gonna be about?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: We have a new technology, which is as I mentioned earlier, bio Vera, which is a substrate, the technology material that we design. And that is impregnated with our bio alloy solutions. This is a material that behaves like if you want animal hide but has no animal input. It’s a plant-based protein with upcycling material that we put together and brings to the Tanners and they use it, then, the last part of the process, if you want the finishing part to enrich this material, to make it look and feel like full grain leather or suede. But this material, in addition to having a footprint made in water, you know green gas emission, etc, is much less than leather or even synthetic. This material is extremely durable. It’s extremely light, and 25% lighter than leather. It provides industries such as footwear or automotive, an alternative material to leather and synthetic, which provides them enhanced performance with a material that is circular. Because once you’ve used the material, if you wanna pull the things apart and send it back for recycling, it can be recycled.
Saksham Sharda: So overall, you aim to shift the demand towards a sustainable bioeconomy. Can you share the principles and strategies you usually employ to achieve this?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: So to do that, first of all, we believe that we have to understand what exists in terms of infrastructure and skills around the planet to require the entire industry or the entire economy to shift. And to do this fast, we need to be very realistic and we need to be a drop in technology. So we start by thinking about our innovation in a way that any type of industry we target can adopt it easily. The second part is we understand very well that we don’t know it all, and that we are not great at everything. We have a core competency, which is this ability to combine biology and material science to create the Alloy and others. But we know that in terms of manufacturing, in terms of distribution, in terms of event branding, others are much more competent than we are all complimentary. Therefore, we have created a network of partners that allow us to go further faster. And by existing, we also incentivize them to use materials that are, you know, more sustainable. We are green chemistry. So for example, we worked with BASF, and we worked with TFL, which is a huge company in the polymer, the chemical industry, etc. On the other side, we work with a manufacturer like Mont, syntax, Sang, and Passio, who are material suppliers to the biggest houses you can imagine from luxury fashion brands to the automotive industry in general. But what we do is we make them competitive in terms of price. We use their infrastructure, they know and they inject their know-how into what they’re doing, but they do it more efficiently and sustainably.
Saksham Sharda: And so now that you’ve received your series C funding how will Modern Meadow’s Biofabrication technology be scaled and what impact is anticipated on the market?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, we are scaling through our partners as we speak. So I mentioned, you know, the different partners that we have, they enable us to go to market very fast. I mean, in the accessories. We are already a big supplier if you want, of toy birch brands like Toy Birch or clothes in the fashion industry. And we are working with, as I mentioned, the PAO, a material supplier to the car industry in Europe, or Hassan, which is a supplier of luxury, but also footwear and, upholstery in Korea, we’re working with them to scale up our material to provide to brands. So scalability is already there for us. We are working today with companies and brands to bring our product to market.
Saksham Sharda: And how have your roles, your past roles at Revlon and Positive Planet US shaped your leadership and everything you do at Modern Meadow?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, I think that what was interesting in my corporate life and then when I was on the board with a positive planet is to understand that everybody wants to do good, but there is sometimes it’s extremely difficult, not only for the techno economics, and this is something that I’m at the middle, we consider that from the get-go. So our technology is price parity with incumbent but it is also about the fact that globally, everybody wants to go in the right direction, but we just don’t know how, or we have not access to the right technology. So it is important to be more out there and to present and to show the brand what we are. It also shows that the solution for sustainability in general has to be at the beginning. And that’s why I went from a user of technology to a company that does develop that technology, because by the time it was getting to L’Oreal or Revlon, you know, 90% of the battle was already done. I could optimize it, but I could not change the nature of the material. At Mono Meo, we create materials that from the get-go are not only sustainable but also enhance, simplify, or optimize processes at the production level. So the benefit for the people and the planet, if you want, is not only in what we develop and produce, but it’s also how it’s being done. You know, everybody thinks about, oh, what is, are you using clean energy? Is the water that is, is it, you know at the end? Is it clean? As I said, the best, you know, the best way to do it is not to use it. This is why we develop processes also to make sure that the way our material is produced, is most sustainable.
Saksham Sharda: And in what ways is the increasing rise of fast fashion kind of disrupting all this in a bad way?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, fast fashion has been out for a long time now. It’s not a phenomenon that just showed up. It’s a 10, 20-year situation, right? I think that they have realized that there is a limit. But I think that they are slowly adopting sustainable technology. I think that other brands and other companies are realizing that the extraction, production, and disposal of material is not the right way to continue. That’s why we cannot be naive. Consumers will continue to consume. So it is important to bring to market materials that are more, again require less input, different input, and consume less energy and water in the process.
Saksham Sharda: So in this realm of sustainable materials, what unique aspects does modern meadow bring to the forefront, and how does it stand out in the industry?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: So we, as I mentioned, are experts in protein and protein application. What we do is harness the properties of protein, and we use plant-based protein in the textile for the textile application. Which can be anything from color fastness, abrasion, resistance, and breathability. And we bring that to material, which means, we are material agnostic. That means that we can apply bio alloy technology on anything from cotton to wool to literally synthetic anything you can, IM blend anything you can, you can imagine. And what we do is that we bring at a minimal cost and a minimal cost for the planet if you want that property to material, which naturally didn’t have them. So if you think about color, for example, if you wanna dye cotton, it’s gonna be very complex and the color is not gonna be very vibrant. That’s why you usually tend to have color blending in the material. You inject polyester, I mean, you have a blend of fiber, right? Well, if you inject, if you apply the bio-allowed because of the protein, your color will be extremely vibrant because we bring this amazing quality to the material. If you think about color, you think about silk, which is a natural material, right? Well, what makes silk so colorful? What could allow silk to take color very well is the protein in silk. So this is the type of thing that we do in general. The other thing is, for example, we have developed a technology of a breathable membrane that has a high biocon but allows material to be breathable. So basically you can, you know, imagine your outdoor jackets and, and, and those types of things, right? Your heat, personal heat, and sweat will go out, but you will be protected from the outside environment. Usually, material tech chemicals such as PFAS are used in the process. Well, if you use our membrane, you will have a high bio-content membrane and you don’t need to use PFAS. So again, that’s a different way to approach, approach sustainability. It’s not only by substituting to increase the content, but it’s editing things that you don’t wanna have on you.
Saksham Sharda: And how do you go about making your business partners or consumers aware of these technologies in the first place?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, we are working with experts in the field, and those guys have already tried to improve their performance both in terms of, you know, mechanical performance, as we say, but also sustainable. And they know it’s not that easy, but they are looking, everybody is looking, honestly, everybody around the world is trying to do better, but it’s been difficult for them to achieve that. And when they, when we meet and when we show them the material and where we show it works, and when they try it in, in their facility, they are sold. They don’t need to be convinced that they just know because they can not only use and implement the technology rather well and fast, relatively fast, but they also see because you number talks, so they measure the performance.
Saksham Sharda: So speaking of all your forays into different industry industries, the introduction of Bio Vera and the collaboration with Pasubio Mark, Modern Meadow’s foray into the auto industry. Could you elaborate on the significance of this move and the expected impact on the automotive sector?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: So I think first of all, we’re very proud to partner with Pasubio, which is one of the top material suppliers in the automotive industry, in Europe. I think it is an important move for both, because I think everybody realizes that the automotive industry is there to stay, but it needs to evolve further, right? And European regulation is now pushing everyone toward the elimination of combustion cars in the next 20 years or so, 25 years or so. No 15 years or so. And at that point, it would be surprising to have animal material if you want, in your EV. And if you use a hundred percent synthetic in your car, again, it’s kind of counterintuitive considering that the objective is to reduce the carbon footprint, right? However, in the automotive industry, it’s not like they have been against it. No partners like Pessoa have been against adopting alternative material. It’s just that there were no materials that could at the same time perform and be sustainable. They have tried everything, every famous disruptor in the field, every material that one could imagine, and they just don’t work. Why? Because the automotive industry is one of the most demanding. You have a lot of wear and tear. A car needs to be beautiful for at least 15 years. The car is exposed to UV and high temperatures and very low temperatures, which makes it painful for the material. The other thing is you wanna make sure that it’s not damaging to the health of the people who are in the car. So fogging or emission of chemicals, when you know the temperature goes high in the car you don’t want that you don’t want people to burst into flame when there is a car crash, right? So this is a material that has so many requirements, both in terms of durability, but also safety, that most of our competition has not passed. And when we provided bio vera to them, they were amazed and they were surprised. And actually, we are fast-tracking several. We are working with several car companies and we are fast-tracking and we should be in the market in the car, and in the street in 2026.
Saksham Sharda: So like the auto industry. Are there any other industries that you are getting a foothold in or planning to?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Footwear is another one. And you know, anywhere from boots, to sneakers. Most of us have many pairs in our closet. This is the type of item that is consumed, in large volumes. Again, performance is important because you, you know, one doesn’t realize, but walking around creates a lot of tension on the shoe, and not a lot of material is good enough to make it to the shoe. So again, our bio, our competition in the biomaterial space, they have not been able to deliver that. Again, with Bio Vera, we’re working with multiple very well-known companies, and we will be able to announce them within, I wanna say, three to four months of introducing our material in the market by the end of 24, or early 25.
Saksham Sharda: So there’s been a lot of backlash against sustainability, particularly in European nations. With a swing to the right, and England, for instance, reneging on its promise to meet its targets. What is your opinion on this backlash? Does something need to be done to create awareness? How do you position yourself here?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: I think that it depends on who you talk to, and it depends, obviously the agenda of at the country level, at the company level climate impact is there, everybody knows it. And we all have to work in the direction of minimizing our impact. Our objective here at EDO is to help develop a society that is both sustainable and secure. And this is what we are all about. Now I think that there has been a backlash because a lot of people have promised a lot of things without creating a clear roadmap on how to get there. So there’s a problem of credibility. There’s a problem also with technology. Not all technology is available to move forward faster, right? The final point is, a simple one, which would be, one would be surprised, but it does just define what is, what does sustainability mean.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: What does circularity mean? What does one think it’s universal, they are universal terms, but they are not. And I think that there is a tremendous amount of trust now that has been lost because of that abuse, using abuse of those terms. So I think that we need to just face the reality that there is a problem. We need to solve it together, and we need to be honest in the way we approach it and, say to everybody, that there is no one hit-solving a bullet. And we all need to collaborate to bring a solution where the entire supply chain is engaged and improves. It doesn’t mean that we’ll solve it within five years, but it needs to be better than what it is today.
Saksham Sharda: And could you explain why you chose the word modern meadow for your company?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Well, it was, to be honest, it was not me. It was our founder, Andress. And for him, it was inspired when he was in China and realized the impact of the animal you know, the bovine industry at large. And for him, it was a way to talk about sustainability, in a modern way. So the objective was to be quote-unquote green. Not to say the word green, but to do it not in the 1970s way, but using biotechnology in a very fundamental way to bring forward solutions without making consumers or people feel guilty. So, again, our objective is to bring a solution to move the entire economy, in a direction that is more acceptable and less taxing on everyone.
Saksham Sharda: Right. So the last question for you is of a personal kind. What would you be doing in your life, if not this?
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: I probably would find another way to have a positive impact.
Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Catherine Roggero-Lovisi, who is the CEO at Modern Meadow.
Catherine Roggero-Lovisi: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.