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Perfect Pitch: Natalie Duncan

Founder, CEO, Conceptualized Performance

Current City: Toronto, ON, Canada

Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: Co-founder & CEO at Bug Mars

Bug Mars is redefining the $9B insect farming market with Hexapod, an AI entomologist-as-a-service platform. Leveraging machine learning, computer vision, and environmental monitoring sensors, Bug Mars provides actionable data for potential issues like pests or diseases, and offers predictive analytics for yield and hatching rates, improving farm outcomes, while reducing costs and loss. My focus today is on supporting my team, my pilot customers and networking with other founders, and investors.

Notable Prior Jobs: Coordinator for arts and technology summer camp. Bartending - hear me out! This one is all about performance!

When I Started Performing: Around age 3

Performing Arts Background: Performing began early in life for me. I was fortunate to have guardians who encouraged me to try many things and to not give up easily on them, but to also recognize when a new direction should be taken. It began with tap dancing and drama camp. As I got older, vocal lessons and choir became more interesting to me. I then performed with horses for a brief period of time until I was injured. There were also the less obvious performances that would occur with my sister (a special effects makeup artist) and I on Halloween. Each year we created a new theme and leaned into immersive characters for unique interactions with the children. I am proud to say that each year at least one group would say, "Don't go to that house. It is very scary." In university I became involved in fine and studio arts. I specifically focused on conceptualized performances and performing for the camera. I was often commissioned to perform on behalf of other artists to help them actualize their concepts. This led to some high profile opportunities in Toronto, Canada. (Performing at the AGO and Nuit Blanche).

How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship?

Performing arts teaches us how to work within obstructions, with limited resources and come up with creative solutions, really creative. Creativity is an absolute superpower as an entrepreneur. A prerequisite for success as an entrepreneur in my opinion. It teaches you humility - how to hear no and how to graciously accept feedback. After 12 years of art critiques, hearing feedback is something I'm not only comfortable with, but require. It is how we improve. We also learn how to work cooperatively with others. How to lean on others and show vulnerability. How to revel in the success of your team. And then there are the very practical skills. Stage presence. Setting the scene. Story telling. The power of the voice and vocal range. Eye contact and hand gestures to evoke emotion. Most importantly, it teaches us how to be seen amongst the crowds, this is critical for entrepreneurs.

Favorite Performer: David Copperfield. His illusions and storytelling can transport people from their current reality. He brought magic to the main stage and showed us all that anything is possible. "To create something new, to show the possibilities exist, to make the world better. And I know that there's people that will be inspired by magical performances, and they'll change the world."

Follow this Performer:

Instagram – @bugmars

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