Mentors

Matthew Pryor


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.

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Anne Duncan


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.

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Michael Dean

 

AgriFoodTech Investor

Michael is the Founding Partner of AgFunder, a foodtech and agtech VC based in San Francisco, and a Director of GROW AgriFoodTech accelerator in Singapore. 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.

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Sarah Leung

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.

Sarah is Rocket Seeder alumni from the Autumn '18 crop.

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Serena Lee

 

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.

Serena is Rocket Seeder alumni from the Spring '17 crop.

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Harry Sekhon


Growth Marketer & Startup Founder

Harry is a growth marketing consultant with a keen interest in helping food & beverage ventures scale.

He was the founder of Feastively Meal Kits, a food-tech startup with an innovative service model. As a passionate foodie and self-proclaimed chef, he’s eager to address challenges around food-waste, sustainability and nutrition. He believes in leveraging technology as a catalyst for change in the food value-chain.

Over the last 14 years, Harry has worked at startups and corporations in the Food-Tech, Advertising-Tech and FMCG industries. With such a diverse background, Harry is experienced in go-to-market strategy, new product development and marketing systems. He is also an alum of the first Rocket Seeder Cohort.

Harry is Rocket Seeder alumni from the Spring '17 crop.

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Andrew Gregor


AgTech Intrepreneur

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.

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Hamish Thomson

 

Experienced Executive

CEO, Board & Start-up advisor, consultant and leadership author. Former Regional President and Global brand head for Mars Inc (UK, Australia, Chicago), senior marketing leader Reebok International (England & the Netherlands) and fresh faced account executive in the London advertising scene.

 

Author of Wiley International published leadership book, "It's not always right to be right". New Zealander by birth and currently Sydney based.


https://www.hamishrthomson.com

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Emma Wheeler

 

Strategy Professional

Emma has experience in strategy and professional services, with a focus on food, health & wellness, agriculture, and technology. Emma has extensive experience across the agri-food sector globally and in Australia and New Zealand. She is currently head of Strategy at Trust Codes® and a member of the Institute of Directors. 

 

Prior to Trust Codes®, Emma was a Senior Manager at KPMG working alongside KPMGs Global head of Agri-Food. In this role she advised and worked alongside her clients and industry partners to ensure they are equipped with world class industry knowledge and consumer trends insights and foresight.

 

Emma specialises in global insight and foresight with regards to food, consumer trends, agriculture, health, nutrition and ag and how technologies and innovation are intersecting these areas, transforming the food system.

 

Emma has had work published globally in numerous publications and on behalf of clients. She speaks at various industry events and has co-authored the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, an annual series of thought leadership reports with KPMGs global head of agribusiness. 

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Claire Dyason

 

Sales & Marketing Executive

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. 

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Dr Simon Lockery

 

Innovation warrior for a better world

Dr Simon Lockrey is a leading sustainability and design innovation researcher, having been based as a Research Fellow at RMIT since 2009.

Simon bridges the gap between technical, commercial, creative, and sustainability fields. His experience has been wide and varied. Products he has designed have won Australian Design Awards, and the internationally recognized Red Dot Award.

 

Simon is currently a Senior Lecturer at RMIT in sustainability and design, Executive Director of Glowpear, Vice President of Automotive Historians Australia, and sits on the board of International Sustainable Development Research Society. 

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Justin Ahmed

 

Food & Agriculture Business Strategist

Justin is a food and agriculture business strategist who has spent the last decade acting on a commitment to a farmer- and planet-friendly transformation of the global food system.  He has worked collaboratively with a wide range of food and agriculture focused entrepreneurs and organisations - smallholder farmers, governments, investors, and Fortune 500 companies alike. Justin is passionate about supporting food and agriculture entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to tackle new growth horizons, applying new ways of learning and leading along the way.

 

He is currently a Principal at Beanstalk AgTech, an agriculture innovation agency operating at the fast-evolving intersection of the agriculture, technology, and investment sectors in Australia and Asia, as well as an Advisor to Farmers For Climate Action. Previously, Justin was a project leader within McKinsey & Co.'s Global Agriculture practice based in the US, with a focus on go-to-market, commercial, and corporate strategy in topics of digital agriculture, climate-smart agriculture, and production input innovation. In addition, Justin spent several years in the agricultural tech transfer and development space, including on-the-ground management and support of programs across South Asia, East Africa, and North Africa.

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