Digital Butcher Weekly Magazine
From Axe to App: An interview with ex-lumberjack and new tech CEO Paul Bunyan
Though historically known for his lumberjack prowess, Paul Bunyan recently swapped the Axe for the App. Mr. Bunyan has left the lumber industry and founded the food-centric digital technology company Meatr, which has the stated mission of “Connecting People and their Food.” Meatr’s first commercially available app is called eButcheree, which some in the industry are claiming will do for butchers what Uber did for taxi drivers. Mr. Bunyan sat down with us in Meatr’s San Francisco offices to discuss lumberjacking, America’s relationship with food, and his vision for Meatr.
Digital Butcher Weekly Magazine: Thanks so much for sitting down with us, Paul. It’s a pleasure to speak with the CEO of the hottest startup in Silicon Valley.
Paul Bunyan: Please. The pleasure is all mine.
DBWM: Tell us about what led you from lumberjacking in the deep woods of Americana to founding a tech company in San Francisco?
PB: My time as a lumberjack and folk icon was rewarding, but ultimately I learned that to get anywhere in this world you have to leverage technology. This lesson was taught to me a bit harshly when I lost my lumberjack job to machines like Ponsse ScorpionKing or the Biojack 300E that could cut down more trees than I could with my ax. But while I was down for a bit, it ultimately was the best thing from me. I learned from my failures and came back stronger.
DBWM: How did Meatr start?
PB: While I was working in the woods, it was on you to prepare and cook all your meals. Sometimes we would even hunt our food when the opportunity arose. I found that the guys derived a lot of joy from being that connected to their meals. After I lost the lumberjack gig, I decided that I wanted to make it my goal to reconnect people to their food.
DBWM: And that turned into the eButcheree app?
PB: Exactly. eButcheree is like Uber for butcher shops. It allows any person to pull out their phone, open the app, and have a professional butcher dressing an animal carcass in your living room in under 30 minutes. Really incredible stuff.
DBWM: Incredible. eButcheree has been live now for 6 months. How are things going?
PB: It’s been an amazing ride. As I’m sure you know, we just closed our A round and were valued at $89 Million. Our backers include a number of highly reputable VC firms and extremely wealthy individuals.
DBWM: So you’re profitable?
PB: Profit is for short-sighted, old-school business guys. We’re still pre-revenue and likely will be until after our IPO, but I think most investors are smart enough to see the market opportunity. I mean, nearly 100% of people eat, so we have the largest conceivable market size!
DBWM: Aside from vegans and vegetarians, of course.
PB: Those people are just potential customers who haven’t had the right cut of meat yet! eButcheree is here to convert the non-believers and bring fresh meat to everyone on demand!
DBWM: What do you say to critics who raise concerns about the health implications of the unregulated butchering of livestock in a residential space?
PB: Humans have been killing things since we were drawing on cave walls and throwing spears at saber-toothed tigers. Those caves were way dirtier than our modern-day kitchens. I mean they had dirt floors for Christ’s sake! If we could eat a wooly mammoth in a cave, we can enjoy a bit of butchery in a kitchen.
DBWM: That seems to be a gross oversimplification. Does it concern you that you will be violating a number of health codes?
PB: I mean, sure, I could worry about health codes, but when has following the law pushed society forward?
DBWM: You mean aside from Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade….
PB: If you want to be a pedant, sure. But what I’m talking about is innovation. Laws are only in place to hold back innovation, and that’s exactly what Meatr is here to provide. By having on-demand butchery services brought to your home at any moment, people will be able to connect with their food at a level and on a frequency not seen since the stone ages. Once that happens, people will be happier, healthier and the next step is world peace.
DBWN: Uh-huh…One last question. Given that your prior occupation saw you adventuring with Babe the Blue Ox, there was some understandable controversy around your decision to offer Grass Fed Babe Steaks as the initial meat offering on eButcheree. What brought about your decision to offer your once companion as a selection of meat products?
PB: Babe and I had a lot of great adventures. But all good things must come to an end. Also, blue ox meat is more tender and delicious than Kobe beef so taste had to win out over friendship.
DBWN: Well, you certainly are a psychopath. Thanks for the conversation.
PB: Again, the pleasure was all mine.