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Community Highlights: Meet Yoni Medhin of Grain4Grain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yoni Medhin.

Hi Yoni, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I come from a family of immigrants that utilized engineering and entrepreneurship to help impact their local community. I am aiming to do the same, but at a slightly larger scale with Grain4Grain. Grain4Grain started in college after seeing a gap in the marketplace that the spent grain and other byproducts of high value were not seeing a full lifecycle.

With that in mind, Grain4Grain utilizes technology in order to give “new life” (so to speak) to something that has been often discarded or not given the resources and attention to turn it into a useful product in mainstream supply chain networks. Our ability to take a variety of byproducts ranging from sotol, to agave, to corn, to sugar cane, to our first commercially available byproduct spent grain shows the efficacy of our technology.

Overall, taking waste and turning it into a high-value and high-quality product, that is also cost affordable, can bring about several solutions ranging from chronic health concerns (high rates of diabetes and heart disease) to food insecurity concerns (low protein and low fiber availability) around the world.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Far from it. Remember Covid? Yeah, that really sucked. Almost shut it down in 2020 at two different times. One of the founders quit, and I (Yoni) almost did too. But, not by our doing, we became very fortunate to get a grant that allowed us to begin clawing our way forward.

As you know, we’re big fans of Grain4Grain. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Our company takes spent brewers’ grains from breweries after all the carbs are removed and are able to utilize that byproduct! We invented a drying methodology that reduces the time to dry and mill from 6 hours down to15 minutes. This created a 90% cost reduction in manufacturing, and allows us to provide spent grain flour(keto, non-GMO, gluten-free, very high in protein and fiber) in bulk at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of almond flour—and more importantly, it’s 100% upcycled! Additionally, we create CPG products that highlight the efficacy of spent grain flour.

Our primary competitor is ReGrained. While there are other players in the space (Rise Flour, Evergrain, Brewers Crackers), our business primarily shares more similarities with ReGrained. The key difference is our technology. Our technology utilizes mechanical drying techniques, while ReGrained uses infrared lights. The key difference here is broken out in the unit economics to produce spent grain flour and the scalability. We estimate that for the same production, our technology requires 1/4th to 1/5th of the amount of capital burden.

Additionally, our ability to provide at such low costs allows us to have margin room to help benefit the breweries we source from. We are able to pay breweries 2 to 3 times the market rate of spent grain than farmers. This allows us to provide breweries with a great source of revenue and gives us the ability to lock in supply contracts for years on out.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Just begin networking and keep an eye out for people that have shown a keen interest in you. If without even asking, they are already looking to meet again, then that is a good sign.

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