AgTech Entrepreneur & Investor
Matthew is General Partner at Tenacious Ventures, an Australian VC investing in early stage agrifood startups, and Partner at Agthentic, an Australian strategy firm helping innovators build the food system of the future. Matthew, who grew up in country Victoria, is recognized for his expertise in building and scaling agricultural technology businesses, from early prototyping, to capital raising, to exit through trade sale. Matthew was the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Observant, established in 2003 to use technology to manage scarce agricultural water in drought-hardened north Western Australia. Observant expanded to provide irrigation solutions for all types of farming operations throughout Australia and globally, leading to its acquisition by Jain Irrigation. Matthew was the founding Chair of the board of Rocket Seeder.
Strategy, Innovation & Governance
Anne is a specialist in food and wine strategy, innovation and governance and has worked at the forefront of strategy, communications and stakeholder engagement with both Government and agricultural industry bodies for ten years.
Anne has a legal background and a commitment to further education, and is on the board of the Melbourne Farmers' Markets and Australian Native Food Industry Ltd.
Michael is the Founding Partner of AgFunder, a foodtech and agtech VC based in San Francisco. Michael has over 25 years experience across a variety of industries including food and agriculture, venture capital, renewable energy and law. Michael is a regular keynote speaker and panellist on agrifood technology and investing at numerous agrifood technology conferences globally. He is a member of the executive board of the Australian SproutX Agtech Accelerator and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Netherlands based RockStart AgriFood Accelerator. He is also a startup mentor for Hatch Aquaculture Accelerator in Norway and Sparklabs Cultiv8 in Australia. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael was a founding partner of SeedRock Capital Partners and SeedRock Africa Agriculture (SRAA), an impact investment agribusiness based in West Africa. Michael holds an LL.B and an LL.M degree in International Environmental Law from the University of Sydney.
Accredited Dietitian & Startup Founder
Sarah Leung is the founder of Alg Seaweed, a company that produces high quality food products using Australian seaweed. Her mission is to make seaweed a mainstream food product and to raise awareness of its nutritional benefits. Sarah is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with ten years’ experience in private practice. Before starting Alg Seaweed, she built an award winning wellness centre providing holistic care to her clients. She is a firm believer in cooking as a life skill and a form of self-care. She ran personalised cooking classes in the kitchen of her wellness centre (aka ‘Cooksultations’) to empower clients to live a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to Alg Seaweed, Sarah works with other food businesses to apply nutrition science in food product development. Sarah also holds a position at La Trobe University as an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, training the future generations of nutrition professionals.
Strategic Designer & AgTech Startup Founder
Serena Lee is an entrepreneur and innovator at heart, passionate about smart biophilic cities, sustainability and design. She was the cofounder of startup Farmwall, designing indoor vertical farming technology to enhance fresh produce accessibility in hospitality, workplaces and schools.
Serena has experiences within startup business development, strategic design and corporate innovation. She has a track record in work that has proven a positive environmental and social impact with a focus on commercial initiatives that harness AgTech and urban food production.
Lee was included in Top 30 Under 30 Industry Players in Food Service in 2018, as well as SmartCompany’s Smart 30 Under 30 in 2019.
Al is a seasoned entrepreneur and business development professional with extensive sleeves-up experience in Asian start-ups across Ag-tech, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, biofuels, fishing and aquaculture; with a focus on provenance & traceability including Blockchain application.
Returning in 2018 to Australia with his family to establish his Agricultural advisory business Mandalay Pastoral Consulting, Al enjoyed seven years based in Hong Kong fund raising, establishing & running agricultural and commodity venture capital projects across Asia and Australia; the decade prior working in the international financial markets; overlaid with 30 years of practical and academic agricultural experience.
Andrew is an intrapreneur, having spent the past 18 years applying entrepreneurial thinking to create or launch new ventures within existing Agricultural organizations. A passion for data led decisions, using software platforms to digitise and continuously improve the way work is performed. An engineering and agricultural background with a practical approach to execute and make change.
Experienced across all functions (production/operations, logistics/supplychain to sales, marketing etc) in Agriculture and primary industry, including general management and P&L responsibility.
Performs and feels the best belonging to small teams, united around transformational goals. Adept at forming long-term relationships with customers/partners/internally and communicating across all levels of the organisation. Andrew was a founding member of the Rocket Seeder board of directors.
Sales & Marketing
Claire is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Harmony Agriculture & Food Company, running the global sales and marketing program for branded beef including wagyu, grain-fed and grass-fed products. Claire’s 14+ years experience across energy and agriculture has seen her in a variety of roles including production and operations, project / program management, logistics, sales, marketing and strategy. Claire is highly adaptable, grounded and practical, having worked across functions, sectors and countries throughout her career.
Returning to Australia in 2017 after completing an MBA in the UK, Claire has focused on branding, sales and marketing strategies in the protein sector. Claire holds tertiary qualifications in environmental management and sustainability, governance (AICD) and an MBA.