Fermentation Technology Lead

San Francisco, CA

About us

We are an early-stage food tech startup leveraging food science and  fermentation to recreate coffee without coffee beans. Our goal is to create better and more sustainable food products in order to create a positive impact on the future through transformative science.  We are backed by top investors like Lowercarbon Capital, Collaborative Fund, Humboldt Fund, SVLC, among others.

The Role

We are currently looking for a motivated and accomplished Fermentation Technology Lead to develop a key pillar of our platform technology.        

You will be responsible for managing the Fermentation Team’s strategy for enabling the sustainable production of alternative food and beverages.  In addition, you will engage in application testing and food formulation development with novel ingredients and processes. We are looking for a self-motivated individual that works well within a team, who can lead through influence, drive ideas forward, and communicate results effectively. You will be part of the company's scientific leadership  and will contribute to shaping the direction and culture of the company.

About You

You have an in-depth knowledge of the biological, chemical & physical aspects of fermented food processes.  You have an in-depth knowledge of primary & secondary culture systems, managing bacterial & fungal consortia and track record in designing fermentation systems with their implementation.      

You have a strong background in starter cultures and their application in the development of fermentation systems focused on flavor development through biodegradation. The ideal candidate has a consistent track record aligning research with  product development. They will spearhead the creation of new workflows and capabilities, proposing and leading research projects, implementing engineering solutions, and collaborating cross-functionally.

To excel in this role you must have experience and understanding of generating and acting on next generation sequencing data to follow and manipulate microbial communities.  You will bring an ability to correlate metagenomics with metabolomics in the context of flavor generation, critical in the development of complex fermentation systems with consistent outcomes.  You have experience in and understanding of the need to increase the throughput of discovery through appropriate scaling and experimental design.  



  • Lead Fermentation department scientific program; assume primary responsibility for Fermentation project pipeline, experimental design, and oversight of fermentation activities.
  • Design and conduct benchmarking studies to determine culture performance and flavor compounds yield metrics in the fermentation process, as well as to meet project goals centered around the flavor profile of cultures.
  • Develop methods for improved culture performance in directed biodegradation with aggressive timelines.
  • Drive an increase in throughput of the test-iteration cycle.  
  • Work with the bioinformatics team to understand microbial community interactions and act on the findings.
  • Direct the scale-up of in-house fermentation processes from the bench to pilot scale.  
  • Collaborate with the food science group to guide strain development, fermentation work plans, and scale-up efforts.
  • Create and oversee a data gathering and documentation system, perform data analysis of results and present internally to team members and senior management.     
  • Responsible for the company’s fermentation capabilities: procurement of equipment, build-out, equipment troubleshooting & repair.
  • Oversee and develop a team of scientists and associates. Mentor and inspire junior scientists with clear and concise direction.
  • Conceptualize creative solutions to problem and create new ideas and workflows to execute projects on time.  



  • PhD in Food Science, Fermentation Science, Microbiology, Biochemistry or related field with at least three      years (or MS with 5     + years) of industrial/startup experience working directly with lab-scale and/or pilot-scale fermentations in the fermented food or beverage industry.
  • Experience in the laboratory domestication of microbes from the “wild”.     
  • Experience in the use of next generation sequencing to understand microbiomes.
  • Proficiency developing scalable processes.
  • Demonstrated success working both individually and cross-disciplinary to balance multiple independent experiments/projects 
  • Exposure to the use of analytical chemistry to understand fermentation development

Nice to have

  • Experience implementing the design of experiment (DoE) methods for strain screening/characterization or bioprocess development
  • Knowledge on microbial community interactions. 
  • Experience managing junior laboratory staff.  

Position is onsite in San Francisco and reports to Head of Technology. If this opportunity inspires you, please reach out to info@compound-foods.com or apply via the hosting platform.  

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