SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AgFunder, the leading foodtech and agtech venture capital firm, is excited to announce that former Rabobank innovation head Manuel Gonzalez has joined as Partner.
Gonzalez joins founding partners Michael Dean and Rob Leclerc in managing AgFunder’s growing number of foodtech and agtech funds, and will take the lead on fundraising for the firm’s Fund IV later this year.
Most recently, Gonzalez served as Global Head of Food & Ag Startup Innovation for Rabobank, one of the world’s leading agrifood-focused financial services providers. During that time, he launched the bank’s startup innovation platforms FoodBytes! and TERRA. Gonzalez also served as Managing Director and General Manager of Rabobank West Coast in the US, in charge of working with corporate clients, and General Manager of Rabobank Mexico.
Before joining Rabobank, Gonzalez was the founder and CEO of González Guzmán Alimentos, a yogurt and sour cream production and distribution company in his home town of Guadalajara, Mexico. He has an MBA from Georgetown University, Washington DC.
“I couldn’t be more excited about joining AgFunder. I met Rob and Michael in 2015 and I was immediately drawn to what they were building and the huge impact they’d already had on building the agrifoodtech ecosystem globally,” says Gonzalez. “They’ve built a fantastic team that’s talent-deep, not process-deep; it’s a team built to do exceptional things, like the founders we back. They were also ahead of the curve in understanding the power of media and technology to create the venture capital firm of the future alongside just a handful of other visionary VCs such as a16z.”
“Bringing Manuel into the AgFunder family was really just a matter of time,” says Dean. “And whilst we are fortunate to gain a partner with Manuel’s skill set and background in food and agriculture, it is the person we are gaining that is most exciting.”
“Bringing a partner onto your team is like a marriage, and Michael and I are fortunate that we got to know Manuel as both a close friend and advisor over the past six years,” says Leclerc. “Where Michael has a law and environmental background and myself science and engineering, Manuel brings a rare food and ag finance background overseeing billions in AUM that really helps complete the partnership.”
Foodtech and agtech venture capital has been a resilient asset class during the Covid-19 pandemic and investment in the space grew again in 2020 to record-breaking levels, according to AgFunder data. However, the global pandemic did highlight many weaknesses in the global food supply chain, underlining the importance of new technologies and innovation to build a sector fit for the future.
“Foodtech and agtech have become part of the zeitgeist. Whether it’s alternative protein, food as medicine, delivery and logistics, or carbon reduction, foodtech and agtech is going to be a major investment theme over the next couple of decades,” adds Leclerc.
AgFunder is one of the world’s most active foodtech and agtech VCs. Learn more: agfunder.com