Anastasia Gutkevich

CEO at Bifidice, Chile

A gut-friendly ice cream served right from Santiago, Chile? Sign us up, please! Long before she began pursuing her dairy-free business dream, Anastasia Gutkevich, CEO of BIFIDICE, grew up surrounded by scientists in her father’s laboratory. In Siberia, 30 years ago, Eugeny Gutkevitch, a biophysicist and professor, researched the mechanisms of how microbiota and the immune system relate to one another on a molecular level. He studied enzymes in human intestines and found that bifidumbacteria bidifum produced many more enzymes than any other bacteria. “I remember being so inspired by his work and studies,” Anastasia recalls. “I was still a child back then, but when I began to see the impact and results my father was achieving in people, I wanted to do exactly that with my life, too.”

She was shocked when she saw the data: 150 million Europeans are suffering from chronic allergic diseases, and the current prediction is that, by 2025, half of the entire EU population will be affected (EAACI, 2016). “I started to dream about the possibility of a world without allergies and chronic diseases, you know, in a fun way,” her story continues, “combining the potential of ice cream flavors with the high efficiency of powerful probiotic bacteria. That’s how we created Bifidice – the first functional plant-based probiotic ice-cream that actively combats allergies and long-term illnesses.”

“Just like my father in his laboratory, I wanted to dedicate all my time to improving people’s health.”

Inspirations, go-to’s and lifehacks: 

  • A person that inspires you: My father, who keeps going despite pandemic limits and being far from the family
  • Last series/movie that kept you awake: Queer Eye
  • Favorite book / A book everyone should read: Harry Potter and the methods of rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • Latest podcast obsession: (everyday startup life and tips)
  • App you find most valuable: Be your eyes (to help blind people in everyday routine)
  • Favorite food / favorite vegan treat: Beetroot hummus

During her journey with Bifidice, one of the biggest challenges was to grow a business in a completely different culture. “Picture this,” Anastasia says, “a female founder from Russia coming to Chile, the other side of the world (or, as I like to say, the beginning of the world – where everything starts), with her entire family, because she wants to grow a company globally from LATAM. Sounds totally crazy. Now that same person is living in a country that she never even pictured in her wildest dreams, growing and expanding a vegan startup. Five years later, we are growing proudly as a Chilean company with a Russian CEO.”

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“Launching a disruptive innovation is never an easy task – it requires a lot of patience, luck, and hard work.”

What’s their secret sauce? “We are an all-female team with experience and achievements in food science, biotechnology, and innovation. Our synergy lies in biotech and a vision for modern nutrition.” Anastasia explains how expertise from a broad range of industries is vital. “These include knowledge about gut health and the immune system, years of scientific studies, and face-to-face dialogue with customers and patients,” she said for Provegincubator. This year, only in Chile, they reached sales of half a million dollars. This represents a growth of just over 50% over last year. “This is a huge achievement, not only because of the validation that sales bring to us. It also allowed us to expand against all the odds in the middle of a pandemic.”

For 2022, they plan to open a B2B sales channel which projects sales of more than one million dollars, “thanks to the agreements we are closing today and in Germany. Finally, we are in advanced conversations to raise our first round of investment for one million dollars, with funds from LATAM and Europe.” And this is just the beginning. Her vision of a healthier world is reflected in everything from marketing strategy to hiring to an active role in the vegan startup ecosystem: “We love to inspire more female entrepreneurs – especially in Latin America – to be brave and self-confident in who they are and what they do.”

Anastasia is one of the Food Heroes for 2022. See more inspiring and world-changing stories from Food Heroes here.