A check-in interview with Bart van der Zande of Fresh Ventures Studio, a venture studio specifically focussed on building regenerative businesses, about how the first program went, the companies they are building, and what they are doing differently with the upcoming cohort.
For the second cohort, Fresh Ventures Studio is looking for mission driven people eager to build a high-impact venture & transform the food system. Final application deadline: March 1st.
Find out more about the program.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
WHAT FRESH WILL BE FOCUSSING ON IN THIS COHORT. INPUTS, TRANSITION FINANCE.
At Fresh Venture, they currently have four ventures active that are operating in challenging areas. One of the challenges they will be addressing in the coming 12 months is how to get capital in the early stage. While companies are gravitating away from the early stage, they are seeing that there’s a need for more at the beginning of the pipeline.
“There are different areas that we’re now more actively looking into. And one of them is inputs, transition financing, landscape and ecosystem level restoration […] I think, developing the market, I still think that is a very important part. So, Springtail is working on that partly, but getting more brands that are really focused on, let’s say claiming parts of the shelf, but actually, brands that then help regenerate. I think that’s something we still need to do. So, what are the areas on the shelves that are maybe a bit sleepy that we can disrupt? I think that’s one of the things we need to do as well.” – Bart van der Zande
“I think that’s a big part of the challenge that we’re trying to do as well in terms of how to get capital in this very, very early stage. So, there’s, in my opinion, a big problem, a lot of money transitioning into ‘all right, let’s get to this different food system’, but that’s big, big money and how to cut that up and bring that towards the early stage, it’s a big challenge that we’re trying to address in the coming 12 months as well. Potentially being able to invest ourselves. I think a studio-like concept, I would say, would be able to absorb more money to cut it in smaller pieces and also cover for the overhead that’s needed to do the work on small investments with high risk.” – Bart van der Zande
WHAT FRESH HAS LEARNED FROM THE FIRST COHORT
The design of the first cohort went for diversity in terms of backgrounds. The group was diverse and that resulted in a very wide variety. They selected individuals that were interested in building something. They then learned that there should be different programs to help different groups.
“And part of that was also a difference between people that are maybe exploring and potentially building something in the space. And people that are dead set on it, that are really already potentially like, committing to this, there’s no other way.” – Bart van der Zande
“I think the ones that have a clear profile already, I would say, and are really clear on ‘I want to do something in this space, I want to build something’, that those are the people that actually went and built. And the ones that we thought maybe would be interesting, or like the ones that are exploring and maybe making this leap, […] I think that’s a hard group to involve in such a program. And there should be different programs potentially, to help this group, because it’s a big group, probably a group that reaches out to you a lot as well, that’s sort of still exploring, ‘what is my role in the ecosystem?.” – Bart van der Zande
“I think that’s also a second lesson, that we learned is that we were quite focused on ventures as an output, I would say. But if you bring together 25 people that are experienced, very capable, very mission-driven, often value-aligned, you inject them into this mission. I would say, often they’re on it, they’re not going to do something else. So every one of these 25 people are landing in the food space in very interesting positions also, so even if people didn’t start a venture, that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting, or it’s not the impact we want to make.” – Bart van der Zande
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED:
Koen and Bart also talked about
- How can we help farmers diversify?
- What is the focus on in selecting companies?
Four studio companies:
- Bart van der Zande on building the world’s first regenerative startup studio
- Zuzanna Zielińska – Women’s hormonal health starts with regenerative agriculture and the focus on quality and nutrient density food
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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.