Rocket Seeder provides access to an unparalleled community of successful industry leaders, mentors, researchers, and funding opportunities, all available to provide real-life experience and support.
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.
Serial Startup Founder, Investor & Livestock Farmer
Justin is the Founder and Executive Chairman of AgTech startup, AgriWebb: the world's leading farm software with over 15m livestock across 150m acres & over $50Bn in agricultural global assets.
Justin also founded, scaled & sold three companies including two “Fintech” asset management platforms based on artificial intelligence & machine learning; exiting the businesses to Macquarie (ASX:MQG) in 2007 & Westpac (WBG.ASX) in 2010. Justin subsequently founded, built and sold PacWealth Capital; a $4Bn South Pacific advisory firm before exiting the business and serving as a Director and Head of Division in Australia for BlackRock.
Justin holds Board seats for BitWise Agriculture, Tonnerre Investments and he is an Independent
Investment Advisor to International Acquisition Partners in Dallas TX.
Away from the desk, Justin competed internationally in rowing for Harvard, Oxford & Australia.
Justin earned a BA with Honours in Economics and Applied Mathematics from Harvard University and holds an MBA with distinction from Oxford University where he was the OBA Scholar.
Emma is a co-founder of AgriDigital and as CEO leads all aspects of the business' strategy, stakeholder engagement, investor relations and new market entry. A multi-awarded platform, AgriDigital is leading the way in digitizing, connecting and securing global agricultural supply chains - from farmer to consumer. Waypath - Grown by AgriDigital - enables farmers to manage and track their grain inventories all the way from the paddock to payment.
With a diverse professional and executive career, Emma has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by senior executives, CEOs/founders and boards in driving personal and organisational performance.
Emma has an MBA, LLB (Hons), BA. is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a fellow of the Australian Digital Commerce Association. She is a director of Australia's Digital Skills Organisation Ltd and and member of the Information Technology Advisory Committee of Grain Trade Australia, the Farm Data Working Group of the National Farmers Federation and the advisory board of Geora Pty Ltd. Emma is an in demand speaker at Blockchain, AgTech, Fintech, Women in Tech, Supply Chain and Start Up conferences around the world. Emma and AgriDigital have received multiple awards recognising commitment to innovation and AgriDigital as an emerging agtech and fintech leader.
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.
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.
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.
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. She currently works for Merkle, a global customer experience management (CXM) company.
Serena is Rocket Seeder alumni from the Spring '17 crop.
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 for 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.
Harry is Rocket Seeder alumni from the Spring '17 crop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Food Innovation Partner, Startupbootcamp Australia
Anna is a passionate foodie, corporate innovation leader, startup mentor and scientist that has over 15 years’ experience working in global and Asia Pacific R&D and innovation leadership roles for multinational food companies such as JDE Coffee, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods and most recently held the role of Chief Science & Innovation Officer for Asahi Beverages.
Anna currently leads the Food Innovation vertical for Startupbootcamp Australia, overseeing both the corporate innovation and startup programs. Anna also advises and mentors several startups and larger businesses through her private consulting and investment business and is a non-executive director on a family-owned Australian food company.
Mark is a leading consumer researcher focusing on shopper behaviour. Leveraging primary and secondary research, Mark generates and publishes deep actionable product development and marketing insights.
A highly experienced consultant with a particular focus on the food and retail sectors, Mark has authored dozens of reports, chaired national FMCG, shopper marketing, and retail conferences, and was recently a Panellist at the United Nations Environmental Program Sea of Solutions Conference discussing strategies for changing consumer plastic recycling behaviour.
Mark’s clients include Australian and international FMCG brands, retailers, and suppliers. He has extensive experience with food start-up and early-stage businesses through his involvement with the Food Innovation Centre at Monash, AusIndustry, and the Design2Thrive SME mentoring programme.
Laxmi is passionate about empowering diverse communities through entrepreneurship. Her career spans from being a founder, investor, and program designer through her roles at the Melbourne Accelerator Program, Startupbootcamp, Breakthrough Victoria, The Talent Institute Australia, and Villgro India.
Laxmi’s speciality is investment readiness which focuses on how to pitch to investors, getting a dataroom setup, company formation, financials etc.
She is happy to have a chat and provide introductions and share her learnings from past roles.
Laxmi is also the Founder, and Director of Illume Foundation, a social enterprise that connects startups with students and graduates for internships and junior talent.
Cam is an engineering leader with over 25 years of experience in technical sales, development, and support teams within the IT and computer networking industries. He is passionate about leveraging technology to improve people's lives and streamline processes.
With a natural inclination towards innovation, Cam enjoys creating solutions that provide value and enhance user experiences. He specialises in merging hardware and software, and has experience founding a related business.
Cam excels at leading teams of professionals and has a proven track record of fostering collaboration and teamwork to achieve outstanding results. At the same time, he is a strong team player who believes in supporting and empowering colleagues to achieve their goals.
Chris is passionate about helping clients protect and leverage their IP to achieve the best commercial outcomes.
He assists clients in the Biotechnology, Agri-technology and Food technology sectors. As Asia is a destination where many clients want to expand their businesses, Chris also monitors developments in IP law in many Asian jurisdictions.
Following completion of his PhD, Chris spent six years as a postdoctoral research scientist prior to transitioning to the Patent Attorney profession. During this time he developed and patented two key technologies. The first was a new live-attenuated vaccine against disease causing-Salmonella paratyphi A. The patent for the vaccine has since been licensed to an Indian biotechnology company.
The second was a DNA vector platform for use in live-attenuated bacteria that enables gene expression in bacteria without antibiotic resistance markers.
Angela has over 20 years’ experience in IP commercialisation, open innovation, government grant programs, management consulting and corporate advisory. Angela has worked in private, public, not-for-profit and university sectors. Throughout her career Angela has worked with highly innovative companies across banking and finance, med tech and pharma, engineering, computer science and IT, food and agriculture and advance manufacturing.
Angela holds a PhD in Chemistry and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).
Thomas is currently responsible for the roll-out of Australia’s Economic Accelerator Program.
He is an entrepreneurial business leader who looks to add value to companies by creating and executing strategies that grow company value. Thomas measures his success by providing a return to shareholders, investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities.