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We are global industry leaders in advanced insect agriculture

Our Vision

Pioneering Sustainable Insect Agriculture for the Good of All

Aspire Vision
"We refuse to live in a world where food and nutrition insecurity abound, and we have the Audacity, Skill, Passion, Ingenuity, Rebelliousness and commitment to Excellence to do something about it."

About Us

For everyone at Aspire, our long-term vision is to celebrate, innovate, and advance responsible farming and healthy eating of insects. We will continue to research and invest in sustainable insect farming practices to bring this protein alternative to market.

Leadership Team
Mohammed Ashour
Co-Founder and CEO
  • Former VP sales fastest growing tech startup in Canada
  • Led team to defeat 10,000 business proposals to win Hult Prize
  • Forbes 30 under 30
  • MD(C), MBA(C), MSc - McGill University
  • BSc - University of Toronto
Gabe Mott
Co-Founder and COO
  • Operations executive with 10+ years experience
  • Named one of top MBA Impact Makers in history of McGill
  • US$1mm Hult Prize winner (2013)
  • MBA - McGill University
  • MSc(C) - Carleton University
Jason Jones
Chief Growth Officer
  • Founding President of Vital Farms (NASDAQ: VITL)
  • Advisor to high-growth startups  
  • MBA, Kellogg School of Management 
  • Rancher, outdoorsman, and conservationist 
Dr. Chris Webb
VP Research and Development
  • Former Chief Research Officer at Dell Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine
  • Former Director, DARPA
  • PhD - Harvard University 
Dr. Jennifer MacLean
Director, Partnerships and Innovation

Dr. Jennifer MacLean is the Director of Partnerships and Innovation at Aspire Food Group. In this role she builds and supports strategic partnerships that bolster Aspire’s innovation drive and strengthen Aspire’s position as a world leader in the edible insect movement.

Anne Waddell
Director, Government Affairs
  • Experienced government relations specialist
  • Public and private sector experience across a variety of industry sectors
  • Significant experience in the biotechnology sector including participating in the development of Canada's biotechnolog strategy 
Dr. Duncan Selby
Director of Research, Entomology
  • 13+ years experience in entomology with strong background in research, data analytics, and breeding systems
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow - University of California (Riverside)
  • PhD (Entomology) - Michigan State University
  • MSc (Entomology) - McGill University
  • BSc (Science) - University of Toronto
Dan Boehm
Director of Software Engineering
  • Distributed systems engineer with expertise in robotics, IoT systems, and algorithm design
  • Experience in building and deploying highly scalable distributed software and server systems
  • BSc (Computer Science) - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ainsley Rose
Director, Planning and Operations

Ainsley brings diverse experience in project management, information management, procurement, and manufacturing. She has successfully led key interdepartmental initiatives and projects utilizing her experience in process design and development, continuous improvement, and data optimization.

Neil Brooks
Facility Manager

Neil Brooks takes a vision and makes it reality through sound planning strategy development and genuine passion for manufacturing. He intuitively and consistently sees and looks for the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking, and helps drive the business.

Deb Palen
Project Manager
  • 30+ years of technical construction, real- estate project development and facility management.
  • Ground up and renovation construction; architectural /mechanical / electrical / structural / civil / security 
Sam Bakhshalian
Director of Finance

Sam Bakhshalian is a CPA Auditor, CA who completed his studies in accounting at McGill University. Upon completing his bachelor degree in 2012, he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an associate in the audit practice and branched off into the Data Assurance practice, where he became a manager responsible for a team of 4. During his time at PwC he also completed his studies & attained the title of CPA Auditor, CA. In early 2018 he left PwC to join Aspire Food Group as an accounting manager and has progressively grown into a finance leadership role.

Contact Us

History of Aspire
2012
October

Mohammed learns about the Hult Prize and recruits MBA classmates Gabe, Shobhita, Jesse, and Zev from McGill University Hult Prize team to compete in 2013 Hult Prize competition.

2013
February

McGill Hult Prize Team decides to build business plan around insect consumption after Mohammed's serendipitous insight from friend (and family physician) Dr. Mohamed Slim.

March

McGill Hult Prize Team defeats Harvard University in final round of Regional Finals to wins Boston Regional Finals; become one of 5 global finalists vying for $1,000,000 Hult Prize in September 2013.

May

Landmark United Nations Food and Agricultural Origanization (FAO) report on edible insects is published "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed".

September

Gabe travels to Southern Thailand with Dr. Mark Hoddle to learn how to farm palm weevil larvae.

Aspire Food Group wins 2013 Hult Prize on September 23, 2013 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

2014
February

Aspire initiates palm weevil larva farming pilot for the first time in the history of the continent with the University of Ghana.

Global full-time staff headcount: 7

April

Mohammed conducts exploratory trip to USA, investigating the possibility of a pilot scale farm in Austin, Texas, inspired by rising demand for cricket flour.

September

Aspire USA incorporated and launches pilot cricket farm in Austin, Texas.

Global full-time staff headcount: 11

November

Aspire acquires World Entomophagy. 

First revenue dollar in USA achieved.

2015
January

Aspire Ghana starts its own farm for centralized production in Kumasi, Ghana.

March

Aspire USA cricket farming operation outgrows farm staff capacity while R&D efforts in Mexico continue. Gabe relocates to Austin, Texas to take command of farm operations.

May

First revenue dollar in Ghana achieved.

August

Aspire closes US$4.25mm Series A

2016
January

Mohammed and Shobhita selected to Forbes 30 under 30 for 2016 “Social Enterprise”.

February

Senior Scientific officers appointed.

May

Global staff headcount: 30

2017
March

Aspire closes US$9mm Series B led by CFFI Ventures and JC2 Ventures

June

Aspire completes construction of R&D Facility in Austin, Texas, and relocates headquarters

2018
March

Aspire acquires the Exo brand.

November

Aspire global staff headcount: 60

Exo products hit retail stores in Canada and the US

September

Aspire named to Fast Company’s List of 100 World Changing Ideas

2019
March

Aspire achieves technology breakthrough and validates commercial-scale technologies

July

Aspire inks multi-year, 8-figure off-take agreement for 60% of commercial facility (to begin construction in 2020)

September

Aspire closes US$30mm Series C investment led by Northern Private Capital

2020
January

Aspire purchases 12 acres in London, Ontario Canada and announces plans to begin constructing the world’s largest cricket farm

June

Aspire receives CAD$10mm grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

July

Aspire Food Group Ghana becomes Legendary Foods Africa, and Shobhita takes helm as Founder and CEO.

October

Aspire breaks ground on new commercial facility in London, Ontario (largest in the world)

November

Aspire is issued another patent by the USPTO, bringing total patents (issued and pending) to 12.

2021
Feburary

Consortium of companies led by Aspire receives CAD$16.8mm grant from Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster for building world's smartest insect production facility.

2012
October 2012

Mohammed learns about the Hult Prize and recruits MBA classmates Gabe, Shobhita, Jesse, and Zev from McGill University Hult Prize team to compete in 2013 Hult Prize competition.

2013
February 2013

McGill Hult Prize Team decides to build business plan around insect consumption after Mohammed's serendipitous insight from friend (and family physician) Dr. Mohamed Slim.

March 2013

McGill Hult Prize Team defeats Harvard University in final round of Regional Finals to wins Boston Regional Finals; become one of 5 global finalists vying for $1,000,000 Hult Prize in September 2013.

May 2013

Landmark United Nations Food and Agricultural Origanization (FAO) report on edible insects is published "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed".

September 2013

Gabe travels to Southern Thailand with Dr. Mark Hoddle to learn how to farm palm weevil larvae.

Aspire Food Group wins 2013 Hult Prize on September 23, 2013 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

2014
February 2014

Aspire initiates palm weevil larva farming pilot for the first time in the history of the continent with the University of Ghana.

Global full-time staff headcount: 7

April 2014

Mohammed conducts exploratory trip to USA, investigating the possibility of a pilot scale farm in Austin, Texas, inspired by rising demand for cricket flour.

September 2014

Aspire USA incorporated and launches pilot cricket farm in Austin, Texas.

Global full-time staff headcount: 11

November 2014

Aspire acquires World Entomophagy. 

First revenue dollar in USA achieved.

2015
January 2015

Aspire Ghana starts its own farm for centralized production in Kumasi, Ghana.

March 2015

Aspire USA cricket farming operation outgrows farm staff capacity while R&D efforts in Mexico continue. Gabe relocates to Austin, Texas to take command of farm operations.

May 2015

First revenue dollar in Ghana achieved.

August 2015

Aspire closes US$4.25mm Series A

2016
January 2016

Mohammed and Shobhita selected to Forbes 30 under 30 for 2016 “Social Enterprise”.

February 2016

Senior Scientific officers appointed.

May 2016

Global staff headcount: 30

2017
March 2017

Aspire closes US$9mm Series B led by CFFI Ventures and JC2 Ventures

June 2017

Aspire completes construction of R&D Facility in Austin, Texas, and relocates headquarters

2018
March 2018

Aspire acquires the Exo brand.

November 2018

Aspire global staff headcount: 60

Exo products hit retail stores in Canada and the US

September 2018

Aspire named to Fast Company’s List of 100 World Changing Ideas

2019
March 2019

Aspire achieves technology breakthrough and validates commercial-scale technologies

July 2019

Aspire inks multi-year, 8-figure off-take agreement for 60% of commercial facility (to begin construction in 2020)

September 2019

Aspire closes US$30mm Series C investment led by Northern Private Capital

2020
January 2020

Aspire purchases 12 acres in London, Ontario Canada and announces plans to begin constructing the world’s largest cricket farm

June 2020

Aspire receives CAD$10mm grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

July 2020

Aspire Food Group Ghana becomes Legendary Foods Africa, and Shobhita takes helm as Founder and CEO.

October 2020

Aspire breaks ground on new commercial facility in London, Ontario (largest in the world)

November 2020

Aspire is issued another patent by the USPTO, bringing total patents (issued and pending) to 12.

2021
Feburary 2021

Consortium of companies led by Aspire receives CAD$16.8mm grant from Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster for building world's smartest insect production facility.

2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021