VC interview: Adam Anders, managing partner at Anterra Capital

Here, Adam Anders, co-founder and managing partner at Anterra Capital explains what sort of innovative businesses the VC firm is looking for.

The world is moving away from a meat-based diet and the opportunity is there for businesses to help transform the agriculture and food sector.

According to non-profit group FAIRR, 57 investors (as of February 2018) with £2.4 trillion under management have backed an engagement project to push global food companies to use more non-meat-based proteins in their products.

VC firm Anterra Capital is in the game too. Backed by Rabobank, the food and agriculture bank, and Eight Roads, the investment division of Fidelity, the company want to invest in companies that are helping to innovate the global food chain.

What are the details of the company,when was it founded and why?

Anterra Capital is a specialist venture firm. We invest in the visionaries who are building the food system of tomorrow. Anterra was started within Rabobank, a global leader in food and agricultural banking, and became an independent investment firm in 2013.

We leverage the experience of our backers, Rabobank and Fidelity, as well as the deep industry networks we have developed, to identify, invest in and accelerate the best opportunities across the food supply chain. We are headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in Boston and London.

What is the vision of Anterra?

We believe in the need for innovation to transform the way we produce, move and consume food. With a growing global population expected to increase to 10 billion by 2050, our food system is increasingly strained. Stagnant crop yields, inefficiencies in the supply chain resulting in 40 per cent waste from seed to plate and a mismatch between where food is produced and where it is needed are all major challenges requiring out-of-the-box solutions.

“We have witnessed digital and bio-technologies reshape most industries. Food and agriculture are up next”

Capitalising on this opportunity will require close collaboration across our industry. By bringing together the entrepreneurs, corporations, academics, and investors poised to disrupt our inefficient food supply chain, we believe we can unlock extraordinary value.

Further reading on VCs

What should entrepreneurs critically consider when seeking investment from you and what are the key metrics that you consider when a company seeks investment?

Anterra looks to invest across the food supply chain, in a variety of sub-sectors, business models and types of innovation. We do not think there is a single correct approach to transforming the food system. That said, our sector holds a number of complexities which in part explain why it lags in embracing innovation. We are particularly excited by entrepreneurs who understand the specific challenges of food and agriculture and have a clearly articulated view on how to tackle them.

A few common features of companies that we have found impressive are the following:

  • A team that blends both domain expertise in food and agriculture with technical know-how, in either software or the life sciences.
  • Awareness of the channel partnerships and distribution strategies needed to gain or accelerate commercial traction. The value chain in our sector is uniquely concentrated; the most successful innovators understand and often collaborate closely with the established corporates who dominate it.
  • Much of the disruption that has occurred in other industries can be applied to food and agriculture. We are attracted to models that efficiently leverage proven innovation rather than re-invent the wheel.

What high profile fundraisers has the company orchestrated and what is the stand-out transaction of the firm in recent months and how did it apply its expertise to contribute to a successful deal?

We recently led the Series B round of a fast-growing US fintech platform in the agriculture vertical. Our expertise in the agricultural value chain allowed us to rapidly understand and diligence a complex business model, and clearly articulate how we could add value as an actively involved investor. In particular, our network of corporate contacts in the space enabled us to facilitate a number of relevant introductions to the company, accelerating their progress on business development and partnerships.

This approach gave us a competitive edge during the investment process and cemented our relationship with the management team. Lastly, we introduced a strategic investor who joined the round of investment and may have a transformational impact on the company’s long-term trajectory.

What key advice would you give to entrepreneurs seeking investment from venture capital and may not be familiar with the process?

Start early: many first-time entrepreneurs underestimate how long it can take to raise funds, even at an early stage. Get to know the relevant venture capital investors in your segment before you actually need funds so that you can move swiftly when the time is right.

Know your audience: target the venture capital firms and specific investment professionals that have a background and experience that will make them more excited about your business and able to add value. Be clear about why you would like them specifically at the table.

Be very clear on why you are fundraising: beyond your overall vision, investors will want to understand what their funds are being used for, which milestones you expect to achieve by spending their money, and which key performance indicators you are tracking to measure progress against those milestones.

Adam Anders is a managing partner at specialist food and agtech firm, Anterra Capital

Watch a discussion with Anders at Pioneers Festival

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for from 2018 to 2019.

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