(Published July 8, 2020)
We started Tenacious Ventures to bring high conviction support to remarkable founders solving the world’s biggest challenges in agrifood. Our first investment is a perfect example of what we’re looking for and why we do what we do.
Goterra provides decentralized, modular infrastructure to enable biological services. Their automated shipping container-based system uses insects (black soldier fly larvae) to eat food waste, thereby diverting it from landfills and creating a local source of animal feed. In other words: a maggot robot.
The waste management services market is dominated by large, incumbent players who are facing major constraints to their current business practices. Transporting waste to landfills is expensive and environmentally costly, and we’re running out of capacity. We’re also running out of space in the areas where we produce waste (e.g., cities), rendering large, centralized waste management facilities sub-economic.
Goterra offers an attractive, cost-effective alternative to landfill by working with insects in small, modular units to deliver waste management close to the source. The biological solution enables Goterra to manage a range of waste streams, from post-consumer food waste through to “nasty” industrial and agricultural waste streams. It also creates secondary revenue streams for the byproducts: soil conditioner and insect protein.
With a background in agriculture and marketing, having worked on high profile political campaigns and as a wool classer, Olympia is humble, yet ambitious.
Olympia is an exceptional founder. She started Goterra by literally catching flies and farming them herself, learning over time how to scale the colony and introduce technology to automate the processes.She consistently chooses the right answer over the easy one.
With a background in agriculture and marketing, having worked on high profile political campaigns and as a wool classer, Olympia is humble, yet ambitious. She combines hard-won value chain and business expertise, consistently executing to the highest level to achieve her commitment to impact.
The solution became clear: we needed to create a dedicated fund to focus on this opportunity
A big reason we started Tenacious was because we were inspired by founders like Olympia Yarger and companies like Goterra. We had been helping to build the early-stage agrifood tech startup ecosystem in Australia as advisors and hands-on operators, but we kept hitting the same challenges.
Startups were not moving far enough, fast enough. They were getting good support from accelerators and incubators, but taking too long and working too hard to progress from there, fighting an uphill battle to navigate a siloed industry built for research. Investors were enthusiastic about the opportunities, but daunted by the complexities of early-stage investing in agrifood. The solution became clear: we needed to create a dedicated fund to focus on this opportunity.
We’re thrilled that now we do have a fund, Tenacious Ventures. And we could not be more excited to co-lead Goterra’s $8M Series A alongside Grok Ventures as our first investment.
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