Dr Christine Pitt
Christine is the Founder and CEO of the Food Futures Company – working globally with researchers, corporates, food entrepreneurs, startups, agile SMEs and investors to accelerate the development and commercialisation of unique new generation agri-food technologies, products and services.
For the past 20 years, Dr Pitt has worked across the agri-food sector and most recently was the CEO of a +$200M innovation investment portfolio that covered all aspects of Ag/Food Tech including: precision agriculture, genetics, automation & robotics, environmental technologies, digital platforms, traceability & food safety, and new products and packaging. In this role, Christine designed and implemented the I+E Connect ecosystem platform for Ag/Food Tech new ventures and investors, and the successful red meat industry producer-led Ag/Food Tech accelerator initiative.
Dr Pitt holds tertiary qualifications in Science, a Masters of Health Administration, and a Doctor of Business Administration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and is the Chair of Rocket Seeder.
Emma is the Managing Director of Rocket Seeder Limited. She has a passion for building a sustainable food and agriculture sector through supporting innovative entrepreneurs. Emma has worked in food and agriculture for the past 20+ years, in both public and private sector organisations.
Emma has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Deakin University), a Master of eBusiness (RMIT University) and is currently completing a PhD in Food Supply Chain Management (Monash University).
Stuart Haines is the founder and Managing Director of Haines Consulting Group and Haines Media, companies specialising in business growth, marketing and advertising. Stuart’s company was developed from his passion for working with innovative local entrepreneurs and helping them to grow their business ventures both nationally and internationally.
Holding a Master of Business from RMIT University and, having worked in China and America, his experience and expertise in international business is evidenced from his client’s achievements and the significant growth of his own business over the past decade. Stuart is renowned for following an innovative, transparent, team-based and “can-do” approach, with the ultimate goal of reaching optimal results for his clients.
Astrid is a Senior Manager in the food industry with experience in food service, grocery and convenience channels. With a track record of improving top line sales, margins, processes and lifting the capability of teams. Currently a Sales Director at Kerry Taste and Nutrition; Astrid has also held positions with Starbucks, Goodman Fielder, Sonoma Baking Company , BP Australia, Coles, and Retail Food Group.
For the past 25 years Astrid has gained experience in developing food strategies, developing and launching products, design and packaging and honed her skills in food merchandising, category management, food equipment procurement and design, managing sourcing and negotiating. Astrid has completed an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design, Graduate Diploma in Marketing and Graduate Certificate in Corporate Management. She is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.