Influencers are all around us. The MET Gala is where they are. They walk the red carpet at the VMAs, and now they are part of a team that is making de-extinction technology that will bring the woolly mammoth back to the Arctic tundra within the next six years.
You did read that correctly. Thanks to a TikToker and his friends, extinction might be a thing of the past.
People may know Josh Richards as a TikTok star with more than 40 million followers on social media, but he has shown repeatedly that he is a lot more than that.
He has started many businesses, including Ani Energy, an energy drink that is now sold at Walmart; Cross Check Studios, a production company he runs with Mark Wahlberg; and Animal Capital, an $18 million venture capital fund he started with his business partner Michael Gruen and former Goldman Sachs investment banker Marshall Sandman.
This week, Richards and his fund, Animal Capital, said they would invest in Colossal and offer advice. They are a company that is using recent breakthroughs in CRISPR genetic engineering—a new wave of disruptive conservation and restorative biology—to make extinction a thing of the past eventually.
Ben Lamm, a tech entrepreneur, and George Church, Ph.D., a well-known geneticist, and serial biotech entrepreneur, came up with the idea for the company. The church is also a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and a professor of health sciences and technology at both Harvard and MIT. He also contributed to the formation of the company Colossal.
Lamm said, “Genetic engineering has a lot of possibilities for the future of humanity, from getting rid of diseases to making it easier for us to live in places with changing climates.” It is a big step forward in technology. As an entrepreneur, I often find myself on the cutting edge of new technologies that are about to change the world. I do this because I think these technologies mark important turning points in the history of our species. I’m happy and thankful to have great partners and investors like Josh Richards and Animal Capital who share our long-term vision and can help science and genomics move forward.
Josh richards is bringing back the woolly mammoth
Richards has been a part of Animal Capital since it started up a year ago, and his influence can be seen all over the company. He, Gruen, and Sandman got Thomas Tull, a billionaire movie and tech mogul, to lead the funding round. Michael Ireland, the head of Paramount Pictures, and Julian Holguin, the head of Billboard, were brought on as advisors. They got other people to invest, too, like the billionaire Winklevoss twins. They have also been very involved in the company’s rollout and media strategy.
Josh Richards said, “It blows my mind that a 19-year-old kid from a small town in Ontario could be on a team that will change the world.” Being a part of a company like this, which will change the world for the better and make life better for my kids’ kids, is a real honor. My generation is the one who will inherit the Earth, so it is up to us to fight climate change and make the world a better place.
The managing partner of Animal Capital, Sandman, said, “The chance to invest in Colossal really shows why we started Animal Capital in the first place.” Ben, George, and the rest of the team are working to make the world a better place, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
Animal Capital has also put money into Whoop, a mental health technology company; WonderFi, a cryptocurrency startup that just went public on the NEO; and Saturn, a social media platform based on a calendar.
Who knows, maybe Josh Richards will make a TikTok video about a woolly mammoth soon. Keep watching.
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