With the recent launch of the $40m Finistere Aotearoa Venture Capital Fund, the landscape of agritech capital options has changed significantly. In combination with other funds such as the Pacific Channel Elevate fund in New Zealand and Tenacious Ventures in Australia, there are multiple options for innovators in the region. Arguably, the continuum of investment from angel/seed to growth capital is more complete than it has ever been for agritech businesses.
In that context, we take the time to ask investors what ‘investability’ looks like for agritech and ask agritech business leaders to share their capital journey stories and insights.
Dean Tilyard, Venture Partner, Finistere Ventures
Dean is the Venture Partner for Finistere Ventures in New Zealand, where he specializes in seed-stage agtech companies. Additionally, Dean is Chief Executive of The Factory and Executive Director at Sprout Agritech, a New Zealand start-up advisory and accelerator. He has experience with multiple start-ups and technologies and is a founding member of the New Zealand Angel Association where he received the Association’s inaugural Kotahitanga Award. Dean has founded an angel investor network and two seed investment funds. He has a BA(Hons) in Economics and Geography from Otago University. Finistere Ventures and New Zealand Growth Capital Partners have recently launched a $40M NZD Agrifood technology fund focused on sustainability and nutrition innovations.
Maria Jose Alvaez, Investment Manager at New Zealand Growth Capital Partners
Before joining NZGCP, MJ worked as a Commercialisation Manager for the Inventors Fund at Auckland UniServices, investing in early-stage deep-tech and start-up companies that originated from the University of Auckland. In 2012, and while undertaking her undergraduate degree as a Biotechnology Engineer at Universidad Andres Bello in Chile, MJ co-founded and operated VidAoX, a deep-tech start-up focused on the Agritech sector. Maria Jose is an Independent Committee member at StartUp Science, the Seed Accelerator and Investment arm of the Chilean Ministry of Science, which focuses on providing funding and support for deep-tech ventures. She is also a founding member of the Momentum Investment Committee, a national organisation that provides advice and access to funding for young entrepreneurs. MJ is a part of the AgriTech & Food Investment Committee at Return On Science, and mentors early-career women in STEM that are transitioning into Industry, as well as young entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP) is a venture capital fund established by the New Zealand Government to stimulate investment into early-stage Kiwi tech companies with high-growth potential.
Eleshea D’Souza , Corporate Development Manager at LIC
As a qualified Chartered Accountant and enrolled Barrister and Solicitor with experience in marketing, sales, strategy and finance, Eleshea has developed opportunities in the European, New Zealand and ASEAN regions, with a focus on strategising and executing new business ideas. Previously Eleshea held marketing and business development roles at Landcorp/Pamu and Fonterra. Eleshea was behind the launch of the LIC AgCelerator Fund, which invests in early-stage dairy agritech start ups globally to support strategic innovations in the industry. Eleshea is also the Founder and Director of the Art In Bloom Academy, an art entertainment business with the goal of turning every home in Auckland into an art gallery.
Emerald Scofield, Associate at Pacific Channel
Emerald Scofield is an Associate at Pacific Channel, which manages a $55m deep tech fund focused on early-stage health, clean-tech and ag-tech innovation.
At Pacific Channel Emerald is responsible for assessing potential investments, and for developing and operationalising ESG criteria.
Emerald takes an active role in supporting Pacific Channel’s start-ups, especially to anticipate and overcome potential issues and to develop their commercialisation strategies. Notably, for the past year Emerald has been working hands on with Orbis Diagnostics, which is working to develop medical laboratory precision diagnostics for use on farms and at other points of need.
Emerald has a keen interest in advancing sustainable practices, especially those in the agritech sector. She is passionate about the future of food, and how we plan to sustainably feed our future populations.
Emerald holds a BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Auckland.”
Date: Thursday 17 June
Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm NZST
Venue: Fieldays – Mystery Creek Pavilion – Annex space
125 Mystery Creek Rd, Mystery Creek
Map Location for the event ( The Annex Space – on the side of the Pavilion Building right in the centre of fieldays)