VANTEC’s mission is to grow the Angel investor community in BC and to help investors find more investment opportunities they want to invest in. Entrepreneurial programs, incubators and accelerators provide valuable support to budding entrepreneurs and their companies and help them on their journey to become a thriving business.
The February 7th VANTEC meeting focused on Investing in Food & Ag Tech has brought 4 great organizations together that each provide unique and valuable services to entrepreneurs by supporting them in the journey to become investment ready.
Interview with Keith Ippel of Spring
What is your organization's mission?
Spring is THE global community for purpose-driven leaders. We provide the tools, knowledge, mentorship, and support network to help entrepreneurs to launch, grow and change the world. Through our Leaders Roundtables, Impact Startup Visa Program, workshops and advisory services, we support early stage and growth entrepreneurs leveraging technology to make the world a better place. Spring is making impact mainstream by being action-oriented, connected, open and fiercely entrepreneurial. We believe in changing the world through entrepreneurship.
What excites you about the investment opportunities in Food and Ag Tech today and looking ahead.
This is one of the hottest markets right now as we tackle big issues in food sustainability from local to global markets. This need is creating amazing opportunities for solid businesses with effective technology and business models to win big in the coming decade.
With startups working on exciting new projects like irrigation innovations to beat draught, nut and citrus orchard management software using satellite data, a new oxygen management technique that extends the shelf life of fresh protein and so many more, people are starting to put money into ventures that are actually going to change the world.
What do you see as some of the biggest challenges that new entrepreneurs have to overcome on their journey to become investment ready? How does your organization help them with that?
There are a few. First, entrepreneurs need to focus on ideal investments and ignore geography when seeking and engaging investors. Second, Canadian entrepreneurs need to think global from day one in their sizing and pursuit of the market. Lastly, entrepreneurs need to get on their due diligence early to be ready to move quickly when investors start to show interest.
Spring supports entrepreneurs through the most complete training workshops and programs (in person or online with New Ventures BC), and with funding Roundtables which provide ongoing mentorship, advisory, and introductions all the way to the end of the round.
What proof are you seeing that entrepreneurs benefit from working with you and from being part of your community?
Spring has helped companies raise more than $12M in early stage equity in the last three years. Since 2015, we have worked with over 650 alumni, created over 280 companies and 300+ jobs across 13 different industries.
We also have an upcoming Meet and Greet info session on March 6 for those who would like an introduction to Spring and our Leaders Roundtables. At the Meet and Greet, they will get to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs, chat with current members and alumni and meet the Spring team to ask any questions they may have on our programs. We also hold a short panel discussion and Q&A with select members to shed some light on how the whole thing works.
We are seeing rapid changes in how people can invest in Food and Ag. What opportunities do you see for seed stage investors to benefit from these opportunities? How can they add value to the local eco-system?
The global food system needs to increase productivity by more than 70% just to feed the population within 20 years. There is huge pressure on the desire for local and ethically sourced nutrition from both millennials and baby boomers and the economic opportunity of responding to these trends is huge.
Investors can bring industry and business model experience, along with their network, to help these entrepreneurs to launch and grow well.
Is there an other organization that you’d like investors and entrepreneurs to know about?
A number of the best food & ag startups will be at the pitch event on the 7th, and we can’t wait to hear from each of them. Feeding Growth is a great community of progressive food entrepreneurs, led by UBC Farm, Fluid Creative, and Vancity.
Keith Ippel, CEO & Cofounder
With over 15 years experience as a leader in technology centric businesses, Keith has accelerated the growth of both small and large companies, launched new products, and raised over $20m in angel investment and venture capital. He has an unparalleled ability to collaborate with entrepreneurs, employees, and investors to deliver amazing products to the market. Keith is passionate about creating opportunities that previously did not exist for people and co-founded Spring to bring that into the social venture space.