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Updated: October 2, 2023 / 2023 NextUp: 40 Under 40 Honorees

40 Under 40: Ben Chesler is a business developer with a history of advancing the future

Provided Photo Ben Chesler plays a key role in developing startups at Roux Institute programs.
Ben Chesler, 31 
Director of venture creation and acceleration, the Roux Institute Find profiles of all the 40 Under 40 honorees here.
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Significant professional accomplishment: I’m most proud of the work I did launching Imperfect Foods, a mission-driven online grocery store that took “ugly” produce that would go to waste and delivered it to people’s doors. We were an early leader in giving ownership stakes in the company to every employee, including the hourly workforce in our warehouses. That was fairly unheard of in the Bay Area back in 2015, and we were proud to be at the forefront of what has become a growing movement.

Passion project: During COVID, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and built a skin-on-frame canoe. I’m not a very patient person in general, so it was a fun challenge to focus long enough to build an entire canoe.

Audacious goal: I’d love to bike across the country with my wife and two kids. It’s always been a dream of mine and it feels as if doing it with kids probably counts as audacious.

Favorite quote: “People will remember how you made them feel, not what you did.” — Maya Angelou. I’m very task-oriented, but an old boss of mine said this to me and it stuck with me. It’s so true.

Influential book: “The Ministry for the Future,” by Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s fiction, but I think it lays out a path of both the scary challenges and the inspiring opportunities we face as we confront climate change.

Favorite TV shows or movies: It really depends on the mood I’m in, but some of my favorite movies are “Clueless,” “21,” “Ocean’s 11” and “Moana” (my toddler’s favorite movie).

How do you recharge: I get out into the woods. Hiking, backpacking, canoeing. Anything that brings me into nature and away from people.

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