Daniel Levan-Harris is the founder of Mango Logistics Group and co-founder of Edibl, a B2B company aiming to revolutionise the UK’s food system with insect protein through ethical and sustainable farming practices. Established in 2004, Mango Logistics Group is a London based company that aims to provide complete logistics solutions like no other and has grown to 60 employees.
In this edition of The Founder’s Brew, we caught up with Daniel and found out what it is that makes a business succeed long term, his definition of success, how his dyslexia is his greatest skill and more.
Kicking off the chat, Daniel jokes that the reason he is a founder is because nobody would hire him! He goes on to explain “I'm very much about the big picture and not into detail, and I really don't think I would get a very good job with someone that keeps coming up with ideas but doesn't get the fundamental detail done right.”
Daniel goes on to say that because of this, he finds it easier to delegate work to the right people which he credits to his dyslexia “it's probably from my days of being in school. A dyslexic boy has to find the people that are good at stuff” explaining that delegating work was an essential skill he picked up. Daniel reflects that one of his strongest traits is his dyslexia as it has allowed him to see things differently to others.
One of my strongest skill sets is my gift of dyslexia. It’s allowed me to see things that others don’t see. I’ve never seen it as a negative, always as a positive.
Daniel is the founder of the logistics company Mango Logistics Group and a co-founder of Edibl, The UK Insect Company that are farming and growing crickets for human nutrition in the future and for pet food in the short term.
Daniel considers Edibl to be a business that is going to disrupt the market with it being a new frontier, stating “this is the new world. We're going to be eating insects in the Western world very shortly.”
If Daniel could give one piece of advice to an aspiring founder it would be to build a strong network. “It’s critical to have a network and people that you can ask for advice. Find out what their experience was. Join a network group.” He explains that being part of a network of founders and having a group of business owners around you that know what works and what doesn’t will help you to make less mistakes and make you feel more supported.
It's very lonely being a founder. So build that network.
Daniel shares that he considers social good and sustainability to be essential in business and not just nice-to-haves. “I think in today's age, businesses need to focus on their corporate social responsibilities and what you put into your surroundings, whether that’s the environment or your local community.”
Explaining that if you don’t consider these factors as a business, then you’re not going to succeed long term. Daniel uses his business Edibl as an example of meeting these requirements. The company’s goal is to produce food sources from insects as a much more sustainable source of protein. The company doesn’t just consider its impact on the environment either, with the first insect growing farm to be set up in a prison, Edibl aims to give back to society.
Rounding up the interview, Daniel provides us with his definition of success “Never give up. I think goalposts always move so just keep pushing the boundaries.”
He reflects that there wasn’t a single point where he considered Mango to be successful and there still isn’t. “I'm going to keep pushing the barriers all the time. It's a bit like you having aspirations to buy a new car. The minute you get it, you want another, more expensive one.”
Seeing his business as an ongoing project, it’s hard for Daniel to think of a defining point at which he felt that Mango was a success. However, if he had to pinpoint one, he explains that the ability to not work in the business and instead work on the business was when he felt a degree of success, moving away from the finer details and getting more involved with leading the business through strategy.
He concludes “I guess getting the business to that size was the first milestone. But I still feel that there’s a long, long way to go.”