On Monday evening, we launched our new Clubhouse partnership with Food+Tech Connect in the best way possible; by celebrating women innovators in food on International Women’s Day.
We had over 50 women tell an audience of over 600 people what they’re working on. We were so inspired to hear about the many incredible food innovations and businesses women are working on today, and based on the feedback we got, those listening in were too.
I’m sure for many of you reading, it’s no surprise that this was important to us but to reiterate the current landscape for female innovators in food and agriculture: according to a 2019 report put out by AgFunder alongside Karen Karp of KK&P and Kate Cox from The Counter, just 7% of venture deals in agrifooodtech were closed by female-founded companies. Women’s share of dollar funding was even lower with only 3% of all venture dollars for agrifoodtech companies going to female-founded companies, according to the research that was supported by S2G Ventures.
When you think about the challenges that lie ahead for all of us across the food system — whether that’s reducing the climate impact of agriculture, ensuring fair pay and diversity across the food system workforce, reducing food waste, eliminating food deserts, or battling major health crises related to poor quality food — we need the best and brightest minds, and true diversity of thought to take these on. It makes no sense to leave so many women on the sidelines — women who apparently still make the majority of food purchases and make up the majority of the farming workforce in many nations around the world; no doubt this is hindering innovation.
I’m super proud that AgFunder’s investment portfolio features so many female founders – at last count, it was just under half the portfolio – but there are always ways we can do better and so on Monday we wanted to shine a light on as many women as possible.
Get in touch if you’d like to listen to the full 3-hour recording, but here’s a sample of some of the amazing women present:
- Riana Lynn introduced JourneyFoods.io, an AI-powered data services and product management software for food companies. It analyzes millions of ingredients via nutrients, supply chain insights, and more to help companies discover the perfect ingredient for any product.
- Lynette Astaire, a plant-based chef with experience of 4* restaurants to franchises, told us how she founded Superfood School with a mission is to help people get more plants on their plates, easily and deliciously.
- Christine Gould, once an agribusiness corporate employee, turned her attention to inspiring future foodtech and agtech innovators by founding the Thought for Food platform, now a leading network and connector globally.
- Chef Mavis-Jay Sanders blew our socks off with her story of turning her back on fine dining to become an educator and community activist, and cofound Food Plus People, a Black-owned CPG company.
- Sujala Balaji is a scientist and engineer obsessed with alternative proteins and millets and has founded two companies, one for alternative dairy products, Rainfed Foods, and the other a social enterprise working with millet farmers in India, Kosha Foods.
AgFunder has partnered with Danielle Gould to launch the Food+Tech Connect Club on Clubhouse to host conversations about making our food system more resilient, equitable, sustainable, accessible, nutritious, biodiverse, climate-smart, regenerative, and diverse. We’ll be hosting a variety of rooms each week in a range of formats and we’re keen to collaborate with others who want to host under our club. Please get in touch via email, or via our social media channels to suggest topics, guest speakers, and more.
We can’t wait to hear you!
Next up on the Food+Tech Connect Clubhouse agenda:
Reimagining Restaurants: A conversation with the co-founders of sweetgreen about its latest commitment to go carbon neutral by 2027 and the future of restaurants.
Join Nicholas Jammet and Nathaniel Ru in conversation with Danielle Gould and Louisa Burwood-Taylor
TODAY: March 10, 5pm PT/8pm ET
ASEAN AgriFoodTech: a lively and practical AMA about agrifoodtech innovation in ASEAN
Join Christine Gould, Jana Stolz, Melissa Ong, Caroline Steiblin, and Louisa Burwood-Taylor to hear how to get started and gain investment if you are a next-gen innovator and purpose-driven entrepreneur.
Friday, March 12, 8am GMT, 9am CET
Book Club with AgFunder: Decoding the World by Arvind Gupta and Po Bronson
Join Gupta and Bronson in conversation with AgFunder’s Rob Leclerc, Manuel Gonzalez and Louisa Burwood-Taylor
Thursday March 18, 8:30am PT/11:30am ET/ 4:30pm GMT
Women entrepreneurs are a missed opportunity in venture capital. Here’s how investors and policymakers can change that