Rockstart AgriFood Insider #2:
empowering startups internationally

This year, Rockstart AgriFood has enabled over 20 different agritech and foodtech startups from as far away as Bangkok, Boston and Tanzania to pitch their companies to investors, corporates and partners. We’ve co-hosted with comedians, mingled with the King and rocked it in Copenhagen with some of the best AgriFood startups out there…

…all in the name of building the best AgriFood program to give startups access to capital, market, community and expertise!

Investors Confirmed for Rockstart AgriFood

Rockstart AgriFood is delighted to announce private investment confirmations to the AgriFood fund. The €20 million fund will comprise of a mixture of Angels, Super-Angels, Corporate investors and institutional contributions.

Erik Jantzen – founded his first company 30 years ago and has since embarked on a lifelong journey of entrepreneurship. Today, 17 companies later, The Jantzen Group operates across three different countries holding stakes in 7 companies mainly centered around agriculture and residential real estate. Most notable shareholdings are in Jantzen Development, JD Agro-Cocora, Dan-Slovakia Agrar and Jantzen Properties.

After being part of the European agriculture industry for more than 30 years, it’s exciting to invest in Rockstart AgriFood, and try to help entrepreneurs and startups within our industry.” – Erik Jantzen

The majority of Erik’s career has been centered around developing large agricultural projects. This has resulted in the acquisition and operation of more than 35.000 ha of farmland in Denmark, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Over the past 20 years, The Jantzen Group have invested upwards of EUR 200M in agricultural projects in Eastern Europe. Furthermore, they have helped numerous foreign investors acquiring and exiting farmland as their partner.

We are excited to have such an industry expert supporting Rockstart AgriFood with strong ties in Denmark and Eastern Europe.

Other confirmation comes from a Swiss family office who has experience investing in innovative agriculture, vertical farming, and impact-driven projects internationally. We are delighted to have such a trusted and experienced investor on board who has strong connections in Switzerland, India and East Africa.

Rockstart AgriFood is a €20 million program, investing in and supporting AgriFood startups through the Rockstart accelerator program and with follow-up co-investment up to Series B. Rockstart AgriFood is planned to launch in 2018, at which point we will be taking subscriptions. To learn more about the opportunity please contact our Program Director, Mark Durno. (mark@rockstart.com).

AgriFood Advisory Board

We at Rockstart AgriFood are extremely proud and excited to welcome our first two Advisory Board members to the team! The Advisory Board will work together with the Rockstart AgriFood team to empower the startups and build the number one program for access to capital, market, expertise, and community.

Positions on the Advisory Board will bring complementary skills and experience, ranging from industry insights and investment process to R&D rigor, corporate clout, and startup tenacity. Our first two appointments set the bar for quality, and we are super excited to be working with such talented people.

Michael Ingemann – Michael is a thought leader in the food industry. A London-based Dane, he is a director and company advisor, primarily working with restaurants, food and technology companies.

He is executive chairman of Claus Meyer Holding and restaurants within that group, including Michelin-starred Aska (2 stars) and Agern (1 star), as well as the Great Northern Food Hall in New York, Studio in Copenhagen, Gustu in Bolivia, and Dublis in Lithuania. He is also chairman of Manq’a, a charitable organization that seeks to combat poverty and malnutrition through 12 cooking schools in Latin America.

Michael is an investor, mentor or board member in a number of companies, such as Fooducer, a Danish VC-backed digital platform for the food sector, Nordic Harvest, that aims to be Northern Europe’s biggest indoor vertical farm, and Chabber, a leading Scandinavian platform for freelancers in the hospitality sector.

After completing his MBA from Dartmouth College in the US, Michael spent a number of years with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, as founder/CEO of an online media group in Scandinavia, and with venture capital firms in London. In addition to his food-related ventures, Michael is a managing partner in Corpro Consulting that advises private equity firms and corporate management teams across Europe on strategy, operations, and M&A-related issues.


Michael Dean – Michael is co-founder and Chief Investment Officer at AgFunder, a San Francisco based online investment platform for global agriculture and food technology.

Michael has over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience. He leads the AgFunder investment team and oversees deal identification, origination, and execution on the AgFunder platform. A seasoned agriculture investor and operator, prior to starting AgFunder, as a founding partner of SeedRock Capital Partners, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture (SRAA), an African impact agribusiness based in West Africa. SRAA incorporated farming operations on 3,000 hectares including a 1,500 strong local farmer out-grower program; a 12,000 ton per annum edible oil processing facility and the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand. SRAA holds official government leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land across three West African countries.

A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest investment and operating corporations on their acquisition and development activities across the property, agribusiness, renewable energy, resources, and construction sectors. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects and acquisitions incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael is a regular speaker on food and agriculture technology investing at various global conferences, and sits on the advisory boards of the World Agri-Tech Investment Summit and the Ag Innovation Showcase. He is a start-up mentor for several agrifood tech accelerators and is a board member of the Australian SproutX Agtech Accelerator. He holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Nestle Henri

Nestle wants to feed the world and create jobs for millions of young people. At Rockstart AgriFood, we care about the same things, so we teamed up to support their efforts!

To tackle the challenges of youth unemployment and a reducing number of young people active in agriculture, Nestle is using its HENRi initiative to connect with startups. Through HENRi, Nestle aims to partner with promising entrepreneurs and startups to launch new digital solutions and services for farmers. By connecting the brightest ideas and innovation with Nestlè’s businesses, expertise, and market insights, the goal is to make the biggest impact possible.

Every accepted project on HENRi has signed-off funding of $50,000 to pilot a proof-of-concept in the market with help from one of Nestlè’s business units. From there, more financing and partnership support is available.

To check out the project, launched last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, you can apply here.

Tonic 17

We’re helping out our friends at Arctic Startup with their pre-SLUSH event, Tonic 17 – Food Tech Innovation on 29th November.

Our Program Director, Mark Durno, will be talking about innovation in the AgriFood space and what it takes for startups to survive and succeed in a sometimes conservative and difficult industry. Mark will draw on his background, talking candidly about vertical farming scene, access to capital and his experiences in food startups.

Join us on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 from 11:30–17:00 at Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel to experience the latest in food and technology. There are plenty relevant players under one roof—food manufacturers, retail chains, hotels and restaurants, investors, startups, scientists, and media.

If you would like to meet up with Mark at Tonic 17 or SLUSH, please do not hesitate to contact him (mark@rockstart.com).