Speakers

Rahul Ray
Finance Director - Tyson Ventures

Rahul is the Finance Director at Tyson Ventures, the VC arm of Tyson Foods. Rahul has over a decade of experience in the hedge fund industry covering technology, as well as corporate finance experience in transportation and supply chain, at pre-eminent firms such as AB Bernstein and XPO Logistics. Rahul has an MBA from Columbia Business School, an MS in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
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Andrew D. Ive
Founder - Big Idea Ventures

Andrew is the founder of Big Idea Ventures. Its purpose is to solve the world’s biggest challenges by supporting the world’s best entrepreneurs. Our first fund + accelerator (NY & Singapore) invests in plant-based foods and ingredients to impact climate change, animal welfare and personal health. Investors include Tyson Foods, Temasek and Buhler. Advisory Board member for Tufts Nutrition Council. Friedman School Entrepreneurship Advisor. Harvard Business School graduate, Procter & Gamble brand management trained.

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Rebekah Moses
Head of impact strategy - Impossible Foods

Rebekah Moses leads impact strategy at Impossible Foods, a company addressing climate change and sustainable food futures through plant-based meat. Her work focuses on how product innovation and consumer behavior can maximize environmental outcomes and business growth. She works with Impossible Foods teams to integrate environmental and social mission into core strategy.

She has worked at the intersection of ecology, agriculture, and international development in the Middle East and domestically.

Rebekah’s research contributions can be found in journals like the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as via the USAID Water and Livelihoods Initiative online.

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Tom Szaky
Founder & CEO - TerraCycle

Tom Szaky is founder and CEO of TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and repurposing of complex waste streams. TerraCycle operates in 20 countries, working with some of the world’s largest brands, retailers and manufacturers to create national platforms to recycle products and packaging that currently go to landfill or incineration. 


In May 2019 TerraCycle launched Loop, a circular shopping platform that enables consumers to shop for household products in durable, reusable packaging. Loop is available in Paris, France, the UK and the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and is a key step in helping to end the epidemic of waste that is caused by ‘single- use’ consumption. In 2021, Loop will become available in Canada, Japan and Australia.


Tom and TerraCycle have received hundreds of social, environmental and business awards and recognition from a range of organizations including the United Nations, World Economic Forum, Schwab Foundation, Fortune Magazine, Time Magazine and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Tom is the author of four books, “Revolution in a Bottle” (2009), “Outsmart Waste” (2014), “Make Garbage Great” (2015) and “The Future of Packaging” (2019). Tom created, produced and starred in TerraCycle’s reality show, “Human Resources” which aired on Pivot from 2014-2016 and is syndicated in more than 20 foreign markets on Amazon and iTunes.

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Kate Schaffner
Manager, Global Sustainability - Kellogg Company

Kate Schaffner, Global Sustainability Manager for Kellogg Company, advocates for sustainable agriculture and resilience. She joined Kellogg in October 2018 and leads global strategy for meeting Kellogg’s responsible sourcing commitments for its priority ingredients. She also supports Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people, including 1 million farmers and workers, by the end of 2030.

 

Kate develops strategies and partnerships to deliver improved corporate reputation, reduced risk in ingredient sourcing, and support for farmers, including smallholders and women, in Kellogg’s ingredient sourcing regions. She serves as an internal knowledge center for Kellogg teams developing and reporting results from programs that support farmers’ climate, social, and financial resilience. As of 2019, Kellogg has designed and supported programs reaching our ingredient suppliers and over 430,000 farmers globally. Most recently, she led the redevelopment of Kellogg Company’s priority ingredients for responsible sourcing, after performing an updated ingredient materiality assessment with consultation from 17 external organizations on material ESG risks.

 

Prior to joining Kellogg, Kate worked with the World Wildlife Fund, where she focused on conservation agriculture and sustainability metrics, often in partnership with consumer packaged good companies and grower associations. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her Master of Science degree in Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts University’s Friedman School.

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Christopher Kong
Co-founder and Head of Business Development - Better Nature

Christopher Kong is the co-founder and Head of Business Development of Better Nature, the UK’s leading all-natural meat alternatives brand and one of the most exciting food-tech startups in the field of fermentation. Since it’s founding in early 2019, Better Nature has won 5 international food-tech competitions and was 1 of 6 startups invited to present on the mainstage of the Good Food Conference – the world’s largest alternative protein conference. Better Nature produces plant-based protein without compromise – delicious, nutritious, and all-natural, just the way it should be. Aside from running Better Nature, Chris is an avid marathon runner and a passionate advocate of eating a wholefoods plant-based diet.

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Saasha Celestial-One
COO- Olio

 

Saasha Celestial-One is Co-Founder & COO of OLIO, a free app harnessing the power of mobile technology and the sharing economy to provide a revolutionary solution to the problem of food waste. OLIO is growing quickly, empowered by 50k+ volunteers. Since 2016, 2.5m OLIOers have successfully shared over 6m portions of food in 54 countries.

Before OLIO, Saasha founded London’s first pay-as-you-go high street childcare provider, and prior to that she spent 13yrs at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & American Express. Saasha was named one of the UK’s “Coolest Female Founders” by Business Insider, has an MBA from Stanford, is mum to 8-year-old Nolan, and is the proud daughter of hippy entrepreneurs 😊

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Faazi Adam
Research & Engagement Manager - FAIRR

Faazi joined FAIRR in March 2017. As Research & Engagement Manager, she produces FAIRR’s thematic reports, working with investors and industry stakeholders to enhance FAIRR’s research offerings. She currently leads FAIRR’s work on the aquaculture sector, contributes to the development of the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index and several deforestation- and climate-related initiatives.

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Inke Van Der Sluijs
Head of European Operations -RSPO

Inke is the Head of European Operations of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). In her role, she advises companies on RSPO membership, certification, sustainable sourcing, and RSPO claims. Further, she supports the RSPO Standing Committee on Market Development, works with the supply chain accredited certification bodies, and the National Initiatives on sustainable palm oil in Europe. She enjoys the collaboration with all players that stimulate market transformation. Her previous position was at the Dutch Product Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils (MVO), where she worked as a policy advisor on sustainable development. Inke received her PhD in biology and worked in ecology, conservation, and sustainability projects.

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Alyson Greenhalgh-Ball
Global Lead Wellbeing - Kellogg Company

Growing up on a farm from an early age Alyson was passionate about how good food could be a cornerstone for health. Inspired by this Alyson has spent her career understanding the role of food in health and wellbeing and how we can all live better lives. Her early experience was as a clinical dietitian within the NHS before moving over to academia and latterly the commercial sector.
With over twenty-five years’ experience in the Public Health Sector – Alyson is a state-registered dietitian and the Global Lead for Kellogg for Health and Wellbeing. Her present role includes development and implementation of the Wellbeing strategy which encompasses a holistic approach across human and planetary health and bringing this to life across the various business units, brands and foods around the world. This includes a focus on food reformulation and innovation; incorporating a greater diversity of responsibly sourced plant-based ingredients,
improving nutrient density, developing best practice for communications/claims and engagement with our external partners. It’s an exciting time whereby consumers, customers are more engaged with health and food than ever before, given our roots in Wellbeing and plant-based diets Alyson is leading the team and strategic intent moving from a narrow definition of Nutrition to a broader wellbeing agenda to consider the social, cultural and ecological dimensions of our food. Prior to Kellogg’s Alyson used to work at the University of Manchester and then Leeds focusing on Nutritional Epidemiology; researching bio-markers for carbohydrate intake and understanding food patterns and intakes in relation to Diabetes and hypertension. She then coordinated the UK Women’s Cohort Study; a study looking at cancer mortality and diet in 35,000 women, the largest of it’s kind in Europe. Alyson has also worked as a freelance consultant, providing nutrition information to a variety of clients including: speaking, writing and broadcasting on a wide range of food and health issues; as well as private practice; clinical sessions for the NHS; media briefings and advising PR companies. On a personal front, Alyson has a busy and active family life with her husband Dan, two children and her beloved dog, Bella. She has a lively and sporty thirteen year old son Teddy and a budding Medic daughter; Mia who is eighteen and at medical school. Passionate cook, gardener and hill walker, Alyson and her family divide their time between Cheshire and the Lake District in the UK.

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Diana Walker
Founder and CEO- Walker Impact Strategies

Diana Walker focuses her work in market based and philanthropic social impact strategy, investment, influence, partnerships, and thought leadership. She works with corporations, governments, investors, NGOs, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to develop innovative and measurable for-profit social impact business lines as well as large scale philanthropic investment allocation. Diana has spent more than 15 years building impact initiatives and partnership alliances, most recently around climate change and corporate sustainability, Sustainable Development Goal strategies, risk mitigation of social impact endeavors, new market opportunities and market research, and impact investment funds.

 

Diana founded Walker Impact Strategies in 2012, which focuses its work as a boutique firm to support private and public sector clients across multiple industries to help them grow and measure their social impact work sustainability and most effectively. Diana also works with companies and investment funds to help to build out effective models of social impact measurement.

Diana has helped to build and lead strategy and partnerships for corporations in topics including climate change, global health, women and girls empowerment, sustainable infrastructure, refugees, and immigration with companies including Aera Investments, AnswerLab, Bechtel, Blackbaud, Caterpillar, Chobani, The Conduit, Dell, Guggenheim Investments, Lyft, Techstars, Variety, Walgreens, Warby Parker, and others. In addition, she has worked with social impact groups including the Aspen Institute, Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project, BMW Foundation, Foundation for Climate Restoration, Milken Institute, UK Royal Family members and the Royal Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, TED, Travalyst, UN Foundation, World Economic Forum, and others to build new initiatives around the Sustainable Development Goals and impact transformation. 

 

Other examples of her work include building and running the multi-sector Carbon Removal Task Force, leading programming curation and tracking of social impact trends and best practices for The Conduit network and club in London, coordination of Global Goals Week in New York and creation of the We the Future event with social entrepreneurs and global leaders hosted by the UN Foundation, Skoll Foundation and TED during UNGA Week, curation of impact investing private sessions during multiple global convenings throughout the year, and The Global Goals Hub in Davos during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

 

Prior to Walker Impact Strategies, Diana spent 12 years at the United Nations Foundation and worked on the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions, Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, and the White House on advance trips for political leaders including then President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Second Lady Jill Biden and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

 

While at the UN Foundation, Diana built and facilitated cross-sector partnerships between the United Nations and Fortune 500 companies, governments and Heads of State, entrepreneurs, non-profits and foundations, and other influencers to help further the United Nations’ work to create meaningful social impact in communities around the world. Diana helped developed some of the UN Foundation’s first public facing awareness, advocacy, and impact campaigns and over the next decade facilitated global partnership strategies and built partnership eco-systems with the UN, UN Foundation and other public and private sector groups. From 2010-2014, Diana built and managed the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, a high-level group comprised of leaders in the entrepreneur community who dedicate two years to work closely with the UN Foundation to bring new ideas, innovation, perspective, and networks to the work of the UN to help solve global problems. Diana built the first ever Global Accelerator at the United Nations which brought together social entrepreneurs and UN experts to collaborate on solutions to human empowerment globally.

 

Diana is Chair of the Social Sector Accelerator, and sits on the Board of Counterpart International and Maverick Next. She is a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader and a Member of The Conduit and Nexus Global, She also has spent time mentoring young social entrepreneurs through the Resolution Project’s Guide Program.

movement’s umbrella organisation. Catherine is passionate about creating a fairer food system and working with business to tackle the systemic issues in trade. She is also a keen chess player, avid reader of novels, and keen theatre goer.

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Sara Roversi
President - Future Food Network

Sara is an experienced entrepreneur and thought leader in the food ecosystem. As a seasoned growth expert, she works with globally recognized high-profile think tanks on setting the agenda for the sustainable food industry. 

Described as a game-changer who knows how to drive change, she has a flair for exploration and prosperity thinking.

For the last 10 years, she focused on the mission to take food leaders and youth to the next level of achievement through education, research projects, and innovation challenges.

She founded Future Food: a purpose-driven ecosystem facilitating evolving positive change in life on earth, promoting food innovation as a strategic element to achieve sustainable and impactful growth. 

She recently co-founded the goodaftercovid19.org initiative and, among others she is also a member of the Google Food Lab, B20 Task Force, and partner of the Food For Climate League.

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Saskia Visser
Head of Programme Circulair and Climate Neutral Society - Wageningen University

Saskia is program manager of the knowledge development program: Circular and Climate Neutral Society (Wageningen-UR). Saskia builds partnerships that jointly seek for circular and climate neutral solutions that contribute to the realization of the SGDs. She makes use of the theory of transition management to support development, scaling and implementation of circular and climate neutral solutions. Within the organization Saskia works on topics like Circular agriculture, Sustainable Food Production, Climate Smart Land Management and Land Use optimization. Saskia is currently co-coordinator of the European Joint Program on Agricultural Soils under climate Change. In her research Saskia integrates physical process-based research with social learning and participatory policy development

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Catherine David
Head of Commercial Partnerships - FairTrade

Catherine is Head of Commercial Partnerships at the Fairtrade Foundation. Her job is to grow the market for Fairtrade products in the UK, creating market access and fairer terms of trade for Fairtrade growers and workers across the world. Catherine is also a Trustee of Bond, the international development movement’s umbrella organisation. Catherine is passionate about creating a fairer food system and working with business to tackle the systemic issues in trade. She is also a keen chess player, avid reader of novels, and keen theatre goer.

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Kasey Hooper
Freelance Consultant- Sustainable Food Systems

Kasey Hooper brings her commercial expertise to companies disrupting the food and ag chain; she consults start-ups and growth businesses who are focused on scaling innovation across the food chain. Kasey also advises PE and VC firms on emerging
opportunities in food and agriculture. Prior to consulting, Kasey was the Chief of Strategy at Avon Products leading up to the Natura/Avon merger in 2019, which formed the largest B Corporation worldwide. Kasey was also the Head Merchant at Crate & Barrel (a U.S. based consumer company) for 5 years, where she led commercial and operating teams to successfully launch and scale several new businesses and product lines, and achieve profitable growth consistently during her tenure. Kasey began her career at McKinsey, where she consulted leading food and consumer businesses across a range of strategic, commercial and operational topics.

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Jo Raven
Senior Manager, Engagements - FAIRR

Jo joined the FAIRR Initiative in October 2017. She manages its collaborative engagements with global food companies, including the development of evaluation frameworks for the market-leading engagement on protein diversification. She is responsible for the analysis and evaluation of retailers and brand manufacturers and also works closely with investor members to develop and integrate sustainable food systems as a key priority.

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Ivo Mulder
Head-Climate Finance Unit - UNEP

Ivo leads UNEP’s Climate Finance Unit (CFU), created in 2019. CFU brings together various initiatives and finance facilities that aim to unlock public and especially private capital towards sustainable land use with positive impacts for the climate, nature and people.

Under his supervision, the Climate Finance Unit has built a portfolio of innovative initiatives, such as the AGRI3 Fund, set up by Rabobank, UNEP, Mirova Natural Capital, IDH and FMO  as part of a USD 1 billion commitment in loans that focus on financing deforestation-free commodity production. Other examples include a new Restoration Seed Capital Facility (RSCF) that stimulates private equity investment in forest and landscape restoration, the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (which issued an inaugural USD 95m ‘landscape bond’ in 2018), or the support for novel ventures such as &Green Fund. In addition, Ivo sits on the Steering Committee of a number of projects such as the GEF Good Growth Partnership, GEF The Restoration Initiative and the Natural Capital Finance Alliance.

Over the past decade, Ivo initiated and led a number of projects that develop business cases for the private and finance sector to tackle environmental challenges. He co-founded and directed the Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA). Signed by more than 40 CEOs, this initiative aims to make the link between ecosystem degradation and the financial impact this can have on banks, investors and the broader financial system. The Dutch Central Bank recently found that 36% of Dutch financial assets are at risk of ecosystem decline using NCFA’s ENCORE data. The initiative has developed various other innovative tools for the finance industry to address deforestation risks related to soft commodities, integrating water risk in the valuation of corporate bonds and stocks, as well as environmental risk integration in sovereign credit analysis (ERISC).

Ivo also co-initiated the REDD+ work at UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) in 2011 to scale up private sector engagement and over the past years has led the private sector & finance work for the UN-REDD Programme, including building the economic case for governments in various countries to preserve natural capital by reducing deforestation.

Ivo Mulder has over fifteen years of professional experience working for UNEP, private consulting firms and with non-governmental organisations. He has published more than fifty reports, blogs and articles and sits on the Steering Group of a number of initiatives. Ivo is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and a member of the Dutch Association of Sustainable Investors (VBDO). During his free time, he pursues a variety of outdoor sports such as triathlon, diving, alpine skiing and mountain hiking. 

Educational background

Ivo holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, with a focus on environmental economics.

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Adam Anders
Managing Partner - Anterra Capital

Adam is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Anterra Capital, a venture capital fund focused on investing in innovative companies that are transforming the safety, security and sustainability of global food. 

Anterra is backed by Rabobank (the world’s largest food and agriculture bank) and Fidelity. Anterra has offices in Europe (Amsterdam) and the USA (Boston).

Adam grew up on a farm and is passionate about improving our food and agriculture system. He believes that the best way to do this is to bring strong entrepreneurs to the food and agriculture sector and work in co-operation with other stakeholders across the value chain.

 

Adam has over 20 years of private equity and venture capital experience.  Prior to working for Anterra he worked for Rabo Private Equity and Bain & Co.

Adam holds an MBA degree from Cambridge University, England and a Bachelors Degree in Law and a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

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Isabelle Laurencin
Fund Manager - Triodos Organic Growth Fund

Isabelle Laurencin is the Fund Manager of Triodos Organic Growth Fund,  an evergreen impact Equity Fund providing patient capital to late stage ventures and mature businesses contributing to the Food transition in Europe (45mEUR size / 10 investments).  Prior to joining Triodos in 2019, Isabelle set up a startup accelerator focused on sustainable innovations in the fashion industry for Plug and Play, Silicon Valley’s most active VC. She has over 15 years’ experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital and served in multiple Investment committees and Advisory boards at both FMO and PROPARCO, development finance institutions in the Netherlands and France.

Isabelle is a board member of 5 investees of TOGF (Tipa, Beendi, Groupe Natimpact, Hari&co and Farmy) and an Advisor to the Circular Economy Club. Isabelle holds a Master from ESCP-EAP Business school.

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Julia Schifter
VP of Strategy Analysis - TIPA

Julia Schifter has been an avid advocate of compostable packaging since joining to lead strategy analysis at TIPA in 2012.

Julia is involved in various aspects of TIPA’s global expansion, including new capital raise and investors relations. Julia works with global brands, industry associations, and TIPA’s public affairs team to assure the company’s mission and technology is positioned as a leader in the transition of our global society into a responsible, waste free one.    

Julia holds Global MBA (Finance Major) from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and BFA in Film & Television from Tel Aviv University (with Honors)

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Natasha Schwarzbach
Sustainable Commodities – Global - PepsiCo Global Sustainability

Natasha Schwarzbach is a member of PepsiCo’s Global Sustainability Agriculture team and is the strategic global lead for a variety of sustainable commodities including palm oil and cane sugar to help meet PepsiCo’s public sustainability and policy commitments. 

Natasha has a breadth of experience and a passion for addressing sustainability issues with a focus on delivering successful programs that drive measurable environmental, economic and social impacts through effective  engagement and strong collaboration.  She is Co-Chair of the RSPO’s Shared Responsibility Working Group and initiated the development of the NDPE Implementation Reporting Framework, the Palm Oil Collaboration Group and developed a number of landscape programs within Indonesia and Mexico that supports conservation and smallholders within palm and cane sugar. Natasha is on the Bonsucro Member Council, Chairs the Buyers Group and is actively involved in the Interlaken Steering Group and the Consumer Goods Forum – Deforestation Coalition of Action.

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Maricarmen Lopez Pimentel
Head of Special Project - Oleopalma

Industrial Engineer from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente -ITESO in México. She currently works at Oleopalma, a company dedicated to the production and extraction of palm oil where she has worked for more than 8 years. Accredited as RSPO P&C and SCC lead auditor. In her role she has supported Oleopalma in various activities to achieve its certification under the standard of principles and criteria of RSPO. She currently coordinates the implementation of a smallholder certification program promoted by the collaboration of the Holistic Program in partnership with PepsiCo, Femexpalma, Nestlé, RSPO and Proforest in Mexico.

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Robyn O'Brien
Co-founder - rePlant Capital

Robyn O’Brien is a visionary voice in the food industry.  She is the co-founder of rePlant Capital, the author of “The Unhealthy Truth” (Random House 2009), and she advises multinational food companies, non profits, startups and governments around the world.  Her work has been recognized by Prince Charles, Ted Turner, CEOs across the food industry and in the media – from Forbes to FOX News to the Today Show, Runner’s World and CNN. 

Robyn was a founding team member of of AIM/Invesco’s first hedge fund of $100+ million and a team member on their $20 billion Constellation Fund. She is an advisor to Paul Hawken’s “Drawdown” and has advised startups, banks, governments and multinationals, while working with global CEOs and management teams in the food industry. Robyn is also the founder of Do Good, a strategic advisory firm, and AllergyKids Foundation, which serves the 1 in 3 children with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism. Random House published Robyn’s book, The Unhealthy Truth, in 2009, and her TEDx talk has been viewed by millions and translated into multiple languages.  Robyn is from Texas, attended Washington and Lee in Virginia where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and went on to pursue a Fulbright Fellowship in Paris, France before earning her MBA from Rice University on a full scholarship.  She is an adjunct professor at Rice University’s business school and a married, mother of four.

You can learn more at www.robynobrien.com and www.replantcap.com 

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Marion Schuppe
Investment & Impact Manager - Quadia

Marion brings strong expertise in corporate finance and the food sector in France and Spain.

Prior to joining Quadia in 2017, Marion worked for almost 3 years in Madrid, first at Eurohold as a Financial Analyst and after at Pramex International (Natixis subsidiary) in the International Corporate Strategy team. There she worked on the International strategy design and roadmap setup for French startups and SMEs, analysis of the Spanish subsidiary performance and implementation of KPIs and cross border M&A, from screening to valuation, documents drafting and negotiation.

Marion has developed her passion for sustainable food and agriculture by collaborating and being a board advisor of Make Sense, an international organization promoting and supporting social entrepreneurs around the world. There she organized and participated in a food social entrepreneurship tour around South America, for 7 months in 7 countries to meet and work with social entrepreneurs on social and environmental issues within the food production cycle. She also played a key role in building Make Sense’s network in Spain.

Marion holds a double master in Business Administration and Law and Finance from ESCP Europe between Paris and Madrid (Universidad Carlos III), as well as an exchange program in the University of Texas, Austin. Marion is fluent in French, English and Spanish.

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Varun Deshpande
Managing Director - The Good Food Institute (GFI India)

Varun Deshpande serves as Managing Director at the Good Food Institute (GFI India), where he is focused on building the future of food by working with scientists, foundations, governments, entrepreneurs, and corporations to advance the alternative protein sector. As the son of a cancer surgeon from Mumbai, Varun has been deeply immersed in healthcare and technology from a very young age. He spent several formative years studying Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at technology hub Carnegie Mellon University. He then went on to work on implementing digital health in India and the United States, helping vulnerable populations through care coordination, and a systems approach to healthcare. Varun is a leader in the effective altruism movement, which seeks to investigate and target the world’s most pressing problems. He has spoken at conferences and universities all over the world ranging from the Indian Institutes of Technology to Harvard University, and his writing has featured in media including The Hindu, FirstPost, and The Daily Guardian. In dedicating his work to the future of food and combining his duty to human and planetary health, Varun aims to help build a more healthy, sustainable, and just global food system, particularly across the developing world.

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Adam Bergman
Managing Director - EcoTech Capital

Adam Bergman is Managing Director of EcoTech Capital, a boutique investment bank at the intersection of technology innovation and climate change.  Adam is a sustainability executive leader with over 20 years’ experience raising capital and executing M&A transactions. He also provides strategic advice and financial guidance to senior executives and boards on strategic partnerships and growth strategies.  As one of the first investment bankers to focus exclusively on the CleanTech sector, starting in 2005, Adam is recognized as a leading subject matter expert and is a frequent speaker at industry events and publisher of articles on alternative protein, food waste mitigation, indoor farming and sustainable ag.  During the last five years, Adam built an industry leading AgTech & FoodTech investment banking practice creating a broad ecosystem to help drive adoption of technology and innovation throughout the broad food & ag value chain.  Additionally, Adam established the AgTech cohort for Wells Fargo’s innovation incubator (IN2), which was launched at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO, in 2018.  Over the past 20+ years, he has worked for leading global investment banks he has completed over $12 billion in domestic and international financings and over $25 billion in domestic and cross border M&A, restructuring and strategic advisory transactions.

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Mercedes Groba
Innovation Programme Manager - European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food

Mercedes Groba is an accomplished Innovation Programme Manager at the European Institute of Innovation & Technology in Food (EIT Food) who are committed to making the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted. At EIT Food, she provides strategic vision and guidance for food system innovation and sustainable resource management, leading and delivering innovation at both a European and international level.
She currently leads the Sustainable Aquaculture focus area at EIT Food.
Mercedes has worked closely with national and European organisations and institutions, including the University of Oxford. As part of her 20-year career working in innovation she has worked in food safety and quality and with farmers on the importance of sustainability and environmental impact.
Mercedes holds an MA that combines Nutrition and Agricultural Engineering focusing on agri-food industries and has achieved certificates in Open Innovation and Design and Management of European programmes.
Above all, she is passionate about driving real change towards a better world for all. She really believes that NOW is the time to act.

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Ali Morrow
Principal - Astanor

Alexandra (Ali) Morrow is part of Astanor’s founding team, joining as Investment Principal in 2017. She has a strong strategic and creative background, with her past work spanning innovation in food system economics and social impact. Previously, Ali led strategy at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, was a strategic planning director at global advisory and advertising firms’ the Brunswick Group and JWT, leading JWT’s social impact and innovation practice, JWTethos and was an investigative journalist with the Thomas Reuters Foundation, focusing on climate change, food security and adaptation.

Ali’s work has earned her a People’s Voice Webby Award (2010), Gold Digital Market Award from Marketing Magazine (2010) and Interactive Award from Applied Arts (2009). She is actively involved in the agriculture and food startup ecosystem in Europe and serves as a mentor with Copenhagen and Amsterdam-based agrifoodtech accelerator and fund, RockStart. Ali is currently a Kauffman Fellow, part of class 25.

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Michael Kleindl
Co-founder and Managing Partner- Blue Horizon Ventures

Michael Kleindl is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Blue Horizon Ventures, a Swiss based Venture Capital Fund seeking to disrupt the existing supply chain of food with technology, innovation and best in class entrepreneurs. Plant based proteins and cellular agriculture are the main focus areas of interest.

In his previous life he was a successful entrepreneur in Tech & Internet including IPO with AdLINK, successful business angel investor for KOMM and Venture Capital Investor with Seaya engaged with companies such like Adcloud, Bodeboca, Buy VIP, Cabify, Crossinx, Coru, Giant Swarm, Reservamos, Restaurantes.com, Sindelantal, Smartclip, Ticketea, Zanox and many others. He exited portfolio companies to the likes of Antena 3/RTL, Amazon, Axel Springer AG, Deutsche Post DHL, Experian, Eventbrite, Just Eat (2X) amongst others.

Michael holds a university degree in Business Administration from the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel, (Germany) and completed a 2-year management- training program in one of Germany ́s largest public banking institutions. He is married to a wonderful woman and has four kids. He lives in Zürich, Switzerland and obviously likes all kinds of outdoor sports.

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Robin Willoughby
United Kingdom Campaign Director- Mighty Earth

Robin Willoughby is UK Director at Mighty Earth. Robin leads Mighty Earth’s UK strategy, advocacy and campaigning to tackle deforestation in Latin America.

Previously, Robin was Head of Policy and Campaigns on Food and Climate Change at Oxfam GB, where he led large-scale campaigning efforts to end human rights violations in food supply chains. He has also planned and executed successful advocacy and campaigns on supporting those communities most impacted by climate change.

Robin has also worked at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) in London; the humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide; and Global Policy Forum in New York. He previously sat on the Board of the Climate Coalition in the UK – which brings together 140 organisations to urge for UK Government action on global warming.

Robin has substantial experience of strategy, advocacy, public communications and mobilisation on issues related to international policy; as well as in public speaking.

Prior to moving to Mighty Earth, Robin has published articles and reports at Oxfam on Ending Human Suffering in Food Supply Chains; and on public-private partnerships in Africa. He is also an author or contributing author on a variety of other topics including Food Security in Gulf Cooperation Council countries; on the role of biotechnology in Africa; and on humanitarian early warning systems.

Robin has a First-Class Honours Degree in History alongside an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College (London).

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Corey Nobile
CEO and Co-Founder - Impact Snacks

As a born problem solver (some would say charismatic mad scientist), Corey has always had a knack for coming up with innovative solutions for complex issues, and knowing how to assemble the necessary teams to bring them to life. As a 20-year old he has already led successful exits across a variety of industries including fashion and digital marketplaces. He thinks a few steps ahead of the many issues that arise in our climate and culture, envisioning a bigger and brighter future for all.

 

As the founder of Impact Snacks, he has led the development of the world’s most sustainable snack – complete with a circular supply chain and a home-compostable, single-use wrapper. On any given day, Corey can be found wearing a pair of dark-rimmed glasses with a cup of coffee in hand, pitching and building powerful ideas that inspire him. 

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Mark E. Celmer
President & Managing Director - Botaniline

In his position as President and Managing Director, Mark is responsible for the long-term strategic direction, scientific and applied R&D initiatives, and positioning BOTANILINE® in emerging markets.  While he is generally the ‘face’ of the company, Mark typically works with the top levels of the company’s management and leadership hierarchies as well as Financial Institutions to maximize the ROI for both BOTANILINE® and its strategic partners. 

Mark’s commitment to BOTANILINE® is a logical extension of his passion for the health and welfare of the general population and his manufacturing career.

During his tenure as President and CEO of Multisorb Technologies International (MTI), Mark established very strong relationships within the most highly regulated markets in the U.S.A. and internationally; reaching unsurpassed quality standards for the food, pharmaceutical and other markets throughout the globe.  The net result was to take MTI from the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 to a book value of approximately $150 million in 2007.

His professional career spanning 36 years’ experience as CEO/President in multiple corporations, hospitals and healthcare systems, Mark has consistently taken them to levels and achievements they would never have reached on their own. His successes were uniquely recognized by the American College of Health Care Administrators and the University of Virginia having awarded him the prestigious Robert S. Hudgens “Young Administrator of the Year” in 1986.

Mark received his undergraduate degree from Ithaca College, his Masters from The George Washington University.

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Ólafur H. Friðjónsson
Research Group Leader in Biotechnology - Matís

Olafur Fridjonsson obtained his doctorate degree from the University of Stuttgart in 1999. Since then, he has been active in R&D affiliated with biotechnology, enzyme technology and process development. He is currently Research Group Leader in Biotechnology at Matís, an Icelandic R&D company servicing the food, feed and biotech industries. In recent years, Fridjonsson has been active in research on marine bioresources, especially macroalgae and their biorefinery potentials. Fridjonsson has a long experience as a PI, is a coordinator in national and international research projects and has collaborated with scientists from many of the largest food and ingredient companies in the world such as PepsiCo, Nestlé and Roquette.

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Birgir Örn Smárason
Project Manager - MATIS

Birgir Örn Smárason is Project Manager at MATIS – Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D. His main research expertise is in the innovation and development of alternative, sustainable proteins and environmental impacts of food value chains. Birgir has led and participated in number of Icelandic, Nordic and European research projects such as EIT Food’s Metamorphosis and Energy 2 Feed, and H2020 NextGenProteins. Additionally, Birgir has led and participated in various initiatives, coordinated ClimateKIC Climathon in Reykjavik, Iceland, led the Icelandic Insect production Association, co-founded a start-up on sustainability assessment and developed ISO standards related to carbon footprint of food products. 

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Max Clegg
Head of LDC Innovations- Louis Dreyfus Company

Max Clegg is the Head of  LDC Innovations, Louis Dreyfus Company’s corporate venture capital program.  In this capacity, Max leads investments in early-stage companies that are developing innovative products, technologies and solutions within the Agriculture and Food Industries and that are complementary to LDC.  Since joining LDC in 2012, Max has also served LDC in other leadership roles including in Corporate Development, M&A and Innovation. Prior to joining LDC, Max was a principal investor and portfolio manager at GE Energy Financial Services, a division of GE Capital.

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Patrick Briaud
Head of Impact Investing - Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

As lead for RPA’s Impact Investing Practice, Patrick helps individuals, foundations and corporations use a range of assets to achieve their social impact goals. In addition to advising asset owners on mission-aligned investment strategies, he oversees four customized portfolios of charitable investments including debt, equity, and recoverable grants. Patrick also leads RPA’s impact investing thought leadership including two recent primer guides commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Introduction and Strategy & Action) and currently the 10th anniversary rewrite of RPA’s 150-page impact investing monograph to be published in late 2019.

Prior to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Patrick was head trader and investment analyst of Lee Financial’s $900M portfolio. As a professional tennis player, he earned a world doubles ranking of 125 and played in Wimbledon 2008.

Patrick has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Yale’s School of Management. He serves on the boards of Briaud Financial Advisors and the Rivendell Institute at Yale. Outside of work, Patrick can be found dancing the Texas two-step with his wife Angela, wrestling with his four nephews, and discussing the practical implications of different worldviews.

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Seth Tibbott
Founder and Chairman- The Tofurky Company

In 1980, Seth Tibbott founded Turtle Island Foods, now “the Tofurky Company”, on $2500 savings from his 8-year career as a teacher/naturalist. The company’s first product was a tasty fermented Indonesian soy product called Tempeh.  Many people, including his midwestern Aunt and fellow elementary school teachers, thought selling moldy soybeans to the meat centric American public was a very bad idea.   For 15 years it appeared the naysayers were right as Seth pursued his dream while losing his shirt as a pioneer of the early plant-based foods movement.  With an income of only $300/month, Seth built a 3-story treehouse that he called home for 7 years.  In 1995, also against the advice of his partners, Seth introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named “Tofurky”.  The Tofurky brand now includes 43 different vegan products which are sold in 27,000 stores worldwide. Seth has chronicled his   “40-year overnight success story” in a new book, In Search of the Wild Tofurky-How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool. 

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Cliff Johnson
Financial Advisor - VegCapital

With a diverse background in Finance and Accounting, both in multi-national corporations and start-ups, Cliff supports the due diligence process for evaluating potential portfolio companies as well as providing continuing financial analysis support for those in the Veg Capital portfolio. A co-founder of a plant-based investment fund at Johnson Resolutions, Cliff enjoys putting his efforts and resources toward SDG focused solutions to climate change and ending animal cruelty.

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Juan Aguiriano
Group Head of Sustainability, Technology Ventures - Kerry Group

Juan Aguiriano is a corporate sustainability pioneer with over 25 years’ experience leading businesses and working at C-suite level at some of the world’s biggest food, chemical and fibers companies to provide strategic guidance in helping develop and implement innovative strategies to transform businesses and operations towards triple-bottom line sustainability.

Currently leading the sustainability strategy at the Kerry Group, a world leader in Taste and Nutrition, Juan is focused on creating significant, positive impact on the environment and society, by driving businesses’ sustainability leadership.

Expert in corporate strategies for sustainability, risk management, business innovations and organizational change, as well as stakeholder engagement and communications, Juan has worked with executives in some of the world’s top 500 corporations, to transform the way they do business, and ensure they are incorporating societal and environmental criteria in their values, behaviors, strategies and business decision making.

Juan is also focused on disruptive and emerging sustainable technology ventures investments, partnerships and collaborations which have the potential to transform existing markets, products and value chains in profitable and sustainable ways.

Juan has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland and a Master’s degree in Economics and Business from the University of Texas at Austin in the United States. He also has furthered his competences in strategy and sustainability in several executive leadership programs at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland and IESE, Barcelona, Spain.  He speaks five languages fluently.

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Maija Itkonen
Chief Innovation Officer & Founder - Gold&Green Foods

Maija Itkonen is the co-founder and CEO of Gold&Green Foods®, the purpose-driven brand behind the revolutionary new plant-based protein, Pulled Oats®.

She is also an entrepreneur, innovator, industrial designer and brand lover. In 2015 she co-founded Gold&Green Foods, the company behind the phenomenal success story of the “perfect protein food” platform and its first product Pulled Oats. The new proprietary product type resulted in a first-of-its-kind plant-based protein source that is not only versatile and packed with health benefits, but one that can be sustainably sourced and processed. Pulled Oats is a new kind of meat alternative based on the Nordic superfood oats, built around the team’s unique scientific knowledge and design thinking under Maija’s leadership. Maija has a degree in industrial design and considers Gold&Green® to be a food design company.  She is a mother of four based in Helsinki, Finland.

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Martin Frick
Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy - Food System Summit

Martin Frick is the Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Food System Summit 2021. He served before as the Senior Director of UN Climate Change where he was overseeing the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the secretariat’s Climate Action work.  As programme director for former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Foundation, he developed the founding narrative of climate justice. He previously served as Director for Climate Change at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He was the German representative for human rights and humanitarian affairs at the UN General Assembly and served as the European Union’s lead negotiator in the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council. As Ambassador to the international organizations based in Germany, he helped building up the UN’s sustainability hub in Bonn. He holds a PhD in Law from Regensburg University and was a guest lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

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Brian Shaw
Sustainability Consultant and Agrifood Team Lead - Metabolic

Brian leads the agrifood team at Metabolic, where he works on the development and deployment of science-based targets for companies, as well as the application of sectoral and regional interventions to build increased system resilience and sustainability. He has applied his expertise in agricultural sciences and forestry in a range of companies and research institutions across Europe. Through this work he has developed a deep understanding of mixed research methods, process facilitation, and policy advocacy. Brian has co-founded two food startups, and worked with various local food and agriculture cooperatives and transition initiatives.

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Kenneth Tran
CEO and founder - Koidra

Kenneth Tran is a CEO and founder of Koidra Inc. Before Koidra, Kenneth was a Principal Applied Scientist in the Machine Learning Group, Microsoft Research (MSR). While at MSR, he led the Sonoma team winning the first autonomous greenhouse challenge (2018), becoming the only AI team that outperformed expert Dutch growers. Ken’s research expertise and experience include Reinforcement Learning, Deep Learning, Optimization, and Distributed Computing. Kenneth was also known as a co-founder and lead mentor of the internal Microsoft AI School. Kenneth received his PhD in Computational & Applied Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012.

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David Rosenberg
CEO and Co-Founder - AeroFarms

David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a mission-driven company that builds and operates advanced vertical farms in urban environments.
AeroFarms has been recognized as a Circular Economy 100 company, listed on Fast Company’s 2019 global list of Most Innovative Companies, and featured on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Disruptive Companies. AeroFarms also received the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and ranked number one on the FoodTech 500 list, which highlighted global entrepreneurial talent at the intersection between food, technology, and sustainability. AeroFarms received the inaugural Global Sustainable Development Goal Award for Zero Hunger, was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 2019 Best Inventions and received The Ethical Corporation’s 2020 Responsible Business Award in Sustainable Innovation.
David dedicates his time to several local and international organizations. As a member of the World Economic Forum, David co-founded and co-chaired the Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce and is a member of the WEF Global IoT Council. David was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the B20 Sustainable Food System Taskforce, which advises the G20. In addition, David serves as a Managing Trustee of New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center, a prominent U.S. interactive science museum, and is on the Board of Directors of Aspire, a leader in insect proteins, and Clara Foods, a leader in non-animal based egg proteins. David is a mentor at Endeavor, as well, where he helps impact entrepreneurs. David was previously an Adjunct Professor at the New York University Stern School of Business where he taught Entrepreneurial Finance. In 2017 David was privileged to co-chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Agriculture Transition Committee. In 2020 David accepted an honor on behalf of AeroFarms for its leading work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation in providing second-chance opportunities to people previously incarcerated. David has been honored by the Liberty Science Center as a 2019 Genius Innovator, recognized as Ernst & Young’s (NJ) Entrepreneur of the Year (Food and Beverage), and was named one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at Goldman Sachs’ 2019 Annual Builders and Innovators Summit. In 2008, the World Economic Forum recognized David as Technology Pioneer for a nanotechnology company he founded and built and in 2010 as a Young Global Leader.
David received his BA from UNC Chapel Hill and holds an MBA from Columbia University. He competed for the U.S. in fencing where he was a finalist at a world cup and represented the NYAC, winning three U.S. National Team Fencing Championships and two individual silver medals.

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Lee Recht, Ph.D
Head of Sustainability - Aleph Farms

Lee’s main passion and dedication lies between sustainability and innovation with a personal devotion to promote resilience in the global food systems. Dr. Recht is Currently Head of Sustainability at Aleph Farms, an Israeli-based food company and a global leader in developing cultivated beef steaks with 3D tissue engineering. Her recent positions include working with the Global 1000 companies, leading NGOs and high-level government officials from around the world, building them tailor made ways to help identify and implement innovative solutions according to the strategies and efforts. Lee established and directed The Builders R&D Innovation and led the Israeli ETA hub (External Technology Acquisition) by The Coca-Cola Company, delivering a continuous stream of original and ground-breaking technologies that contributed to fulfilling short and long-term goals of Coca-Cola’s Global R&D. Dr. Recht played a role also as a Scientific Advisor for the Energy and Clean-tech Sector at the Office of the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Economy (today: Israel Innovation Authority, IIA), where she promoted the Clean-tech sector within the government by initiating and establishing IIA programs together with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance both supporting Cleantech technologies and Israel’s support in developing markets. Lee is also a mentor in four innovation and acceleration programs, focused on Space, Impact and Agri-Food-Tech. Lee holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the Ben Gurion University, a B.Sc. in Food technology from the Hebrew University and an MBA specializing in Strategy and International Management.

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Hayley Collen
Investment Manger (Responsible Consumerism) - ClearlySo

Hayley spent more than a decade managing private equity portfolios for 3i Group and Lloyds Bank which involved working with more than 300 companies in all sectors.  At ClearlySo Hayley works with companies that make a positive social and environmental impact as well as a financial return to raise £2m – £30m investment.  Hayley mentors early stage entrepreneurs working with UnLtd, Imperial College and Zinc VC.

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Mikael Eydt
Co-Founder and CEO - Beyond Leather

Mikael Eydt is Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Leather Materials, a producer of fruit-based leather that is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Beyond Leather has developed a patented technology that can turn fruitwaste into a truly sustainable leather alternative to animal and synthetic leather. The company has closed it´s first financing round in July 2020 and secured €1.1 Mio. from Vaekstfonden, Rockstart and Jensengroup.

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Sasha Babitsky
CEO - Entoprotech

Sasha Babitsky is the CEO of Entoprotech, a circular economy company that harnesses the power of Black Soldier Flies to convert food waste into insect protein and other products. Entoprotech is at the forefront of cleantech, processing 15 tonnes of organic waste daily in its fight against rising greenhouse gas emissions and landfill volumes. He holds an MBA from the Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), and is a graduate of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Sasha is also the founder of management consultancy NDN Advisers and has held seats on the board of other startups including Gauzy (smart glass nanotechnology) and Utilight (solar energy), as well as being a Venture partner at Waarde Capital.

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David Aldridge
Senior Lecturer in Aquatic Ecology, Department of Zoology - University of Cambridge

Dr. David Aldridge’s work focuses on applied freshwater ecology, with a particular emphasis on bivalve molluscs. His particular interests are the conservation of rare species and threatened ecosystems, the biology and control of invasive species, and the use of biological processes to develop sustainable remediation and monitoring programmes for degraded waterbodies. A considerable part of his work involves collaboration with the water industry, government agencies and NGOs, and these collaborations provide a significant part of his research funding. He is also the director and co-founder of BioBullets Ltd., a company that has developed a novel and environmentally-friendly way of controlling some of the world’s biggest aquatic pests. He currently has collaborative projects running in Europe, North America, South America, Bangladesh and China.

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David Farquhar
CEO - Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS)

David joined IGS as CEO in November 2017. David’s strategic appointment has successfully delivered a Series A funding round and seen the recruitment of a world-class management team. He now leads the company forward to drive global expansion.

 

David is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, with a track record of driving shareholder value, based upon building an empowering, collaborative Culture as a Platform for growth. Most recently he was CEO of global SaaS vendor Workplace, leading the team through a hugely successful turnaround, transformation, growth and exit delivering a double-digit money multiple return in less than 3 years. In the past 27 years he has completed almost 30 transactions as a founder/CEO, angel investor and board director, including risk capital investments (PE, VC and angel), acquisitions and trade sales in Europe, North America and Asia.

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