Marquette, Michigan

Ryan Iacovacci and Joe Lane are “myconauts.” “Myco” is Greek for “mushroom or fungus,” while “naut” is Greek for “sailor or voyager” – and Ryan and Joe are on a mission to educate others about these fascinating organisms. The pair met while taking a State of Michigan wild mushroom certification course, and legend has it that one of them graduated at the top of the class, while the other was lucky enough just to pass. Ryan and Joe decided to join forces to grow, harvest, preserve and sell wild and cultivated mushrooms. 

The more they learned about fungi, the more excited they became about the possibilities of a regenerative bioeconomy at the intersection of people, planet and profits. Ryan and Joe sought counsel from the Michigan SBDC’s Tech Team Business Consultant Kayo Ramirez, who helped them develop their business plan. They also received assistance through the BBCetc Michigan Catalyst Advantage Program (MI-CAN) to prepare their pitch for an NSF Small Business grant researching the fungal digestion of the forever chemical grouping known as PFAS. 

“There are so many challenges in a startup. Having the idea is one thing, but being able to actually implement it, scale it up, distribution… all those components are another. The Michigan SBDC has been extremely helpful. What I really learned from the Michigan SBDC and Kayo is to boil it down and focus. If you focus on bringing that one thing to market everything else will come from that,” said Ryan. 

MI-CAN is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.


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