The mentor network with The Land Accelerator supports the cohort members before, during and after the program.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor for 2020, please our Mentorship Program page for more details and to sign up.
2020 Land Accelerator Highlighted Mentors
The Land Accelerator is excited to have confirmed over 25 mentors for the program for 2020. Below are profiles of a few of the mentor pool.
Jeff Hoffman, Co-Founder, Priceline.com
Jeff Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known successful startups, including Priceline.com, Booking.com, uBid.com and more.
Jeff Sheely, Co-founder, Urban Stems
Ajay Kori, Co-founder, Urban Stems
UrbanStems is the online flower delivery company that creates a one-of-a-kind gifting experience. They offer Rainforest-Alliance Certified flowers direct from fair-trade farms in Colombia and Ecuador. UrbanStems has raised over $13M in funding from top VC firms including SWaN & Legend, The Motley Fool, Kevin Plank & Under Armour, and NextGen Ventures.
Catherine Cook, Founder, The Meet Group
Catherine is co-founder of The Meet Group (NASDAQ: MEET), a portfolio of mobile social entertainment apps designed to meet the universal need for human connection. Their apps, MeetMe®, LOVOO®, Skout®, Tagged®, and Growlr® entertain millions of mobile daily active users, generating untold numbers of casual chats, friendships, dates, and marriages.
Dave Simnick, Co-founder, Soapbox Soaps
Dave Simnick is the CEO and co-founder of SoapBox Soaps, a company whose mission is empower customers with the ability to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. SoapBox products are currently shelved in tens of thousands of stores across the United States and beyond.
2019 Land Accelerator Mentors
Adam Camenzuli has experience in finance, international trade and has also founded an award-winning social enterprise in East Africa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), a Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary), a Laureate Global Fellow, a UN Global Accelerator, a Canadian Top 30 Under 30 and has a US patent. His work has been featured in Forbes Africa and CNN. He has language skills in Swahili, German, Spanish and French and has presented and won awards on five continents. He is a CFA Charterholder and has an International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) degree from the Schulich School of Business, York University (Canada).
Camille Rebelo is the Co-Founder & COO of EcoPlanet Bamboo and is responsible for the origination, implementation and management of the company’s commercial operations in Nicaragua, South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda. Through EcoPlanet Bamboo, Camille developed global and local frameworks within which bamboo can be a positive tool for achieving landscape restoration. Prior to co-founding EcoPlanet Bamboo, she managed forestry projects ranging from large-scale commercial plantations to smallholder operations in more than 20 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Camille is an expert in forest certification and carbon markets.
Charles Tonui is a Research Fellow at the African Centre for Technology Studies www.acts-net.org in Nairobi, Kenya. Charles participates in action research, policy analysis, capacity building, building networks, negotiations and discussions on leveraging community-based adaptation to climate change. Charles has co-authored several articles on green economies and infrastructure (water, energy & transport) in East Africa, and climate change impacts and adaptation in Africa, especially in relation to agriculture. Charles provides guidance to African entrepreneurs to integrate environmental concerns into their business and financial plans.
Dow Maneerattana is a Manager at the World Resources Institute (WRI). She oversees projects and research in Rwanda, including funder-to-farmer finance matching and measuring country-wide progress of restoration. In her previous role as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Manager, she supported monitoring systems, reporting, and evaluations with the Forests Program. Prior to WRI, Dow managed performance and impact evaluations of governance programs in Asia and Africa and built M&E capacity through e-learning at the National Democratic Institute. Dow has an MA from George Washington University and a BA from University of California, Irvine
Iain Church is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army. He has been the COO of a 3,500 strong Army organisation and has managed equipment budgets of £1.7 billion. In 2016 Iain traded a career in bomb disposal for a career in establishing a social enterprise based in Malawi – Moringa Miracles Limited (MML). A firm believer that actions speak louder than words, Iain will oversee the denotation of 3.4 million trees to 66,000 smallholders across southern Malawi. Iain aims to make MML the largest moringa producer in Africa and in so doing aims to demonstrate how the aid cycle can be broken within rural Malawi. He graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018.
Kuki Njeru is a founder of Green Pot, which was established in 2014, with the aim of afforesting and offering alternative investment options. Her blend of training skills, energetic personality, passion, and people skills have seen her open new markets and frontiers. She has gone to lengths to master what she now considers her new path – trees and the environment. Her bamboo expertise has seen her train many stakeholders including government officers, farmers and private landowners. She is the Vice Chair of the Bamboo Association of Kenya and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems and Technology. She graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018.
Lauren Fletcher is the inventor and pioneer of tree planting drone technology for ecosystem restoration. He is the founder of β-Earth which focuses on finding solutions for global scale, environmental problems. He has 20+ years of experience as an Engineer and Scientist for NASA and Lockheed Martin across Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Mars exploration programs. He is a serial entrepreneur, a member of the founding faculty of Singularity University, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Desert Research Institute (Nevada, USA). Lauren holds a PhD in Physics (Oxford) and an M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering (Stanford
Laurie Gelb is a freelance strategist, content/copywriter, and market researcher, utilizing traditional, digital and social platforms. She has worked in, consulted to, and mentored startups to multinationals, in scientific, commercial and operations capacities. Clients have included Sustainable Seattle, Sustainability Ambassadors, and Seattle Parks, along with municipalities, tourism/economic development bureaus, public utilities, and transit agencies, toward stronger infrastructures, value-added offerings, and improved stakeholder engagement. Laurie has mentored social entrepreneurs for more than a decade and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas.
Margaret Barry is a seasoned operator, financier and entrepreneur, having been the CFO and COO of growth retail, wholesale, and CPG startups. Recently she moved into the agriculture space, which sits at the intersection of her two passions: environmental conservation and sustainable food. She is the Senior Director of Development at myAgro, a nonprofit that supports smallholder farmers in Africa by using a novel layaway financing technique. Margaret’s experience spans three continents and includes her own retail coffee startup. Margaret has a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania
Mavis Nduchwa is the founder and managing director of a Kalahari Honey (previously Chabana Farms), in Francistown, Botswana. The business was established in 2011 and occupies 247 acres. A huge part of the farm is focuses on conservation, with a large part of the farm being used as a demo. Mavis is currently doing her Masters in Agribusiness at Rome School of Business, Italy, and she is an executive committee member of the African Union AYL-FAIN as a Financial Controller for SADC region. She is a 2018 Tony Elumelu Outstanding Entrepreneur awardee. She graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018.
Moses Kimani is a social entrepreneur who started Lentera to address the need by smallholder farmers for improved soil health and a more balanced crop nutrition regime. “At Lentera, we aspire to grow into an African multinational that has immense impact on farmers across Africa, being at the forefront of helping farmers adapt to the new reality of climate change while creating a profitable business.” Prior to starting Lentera, Moses worked at TechnoServe Inc. and the Dow Chemical Company. He has an MBA from IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. Moses graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018.
Naveen Sikka is the founder and CEO of TerViva. He is a recognized thought leader at the intersection of agriculture and renewable energy. Prior to starting TerViva™, Naveen completed his MBA from UC Berkeley, where he focused on energy and resource economics. Prior to earning his MBA, Naveen worked as a management consultant at Gemini Consulting and TPI (formerly a part of the Monitor Group), in the realms of biotech, finance, and human capital. Naveen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University, during which time he also studied and worked in France and West Africa. He is fluent in French
Rebekah Braswell is a founding member of Land Life Company and leads its commercial activities globally. In her capacity as COO, she works with global corporations, governments and NGOs to develop large-scale reforestation projects that mitigate climate change and revitalize ecosystems. Prior to Land Life Company, Rebekah was an associate partner with Monitor Group and worked on issues of economic development and food security across the Middle East and Africa. She received her B.A. in Political Science at Brown University and her Masters in International Development from Oxford University.
Ryan Ramkhelawan is a serial entrepreneur. After taking two medical device startups through FDA clearance, market entrance, scale and one to exit, he joined Start Co. as Director of Acceleration. He oversees investment opportunities for accelerators focused on agricultural technology, medical devices, logistics, smart cities and smart home technology. Also, he teaches lean startup principles and acts as an executive coach to new startup CEOs. His accomplishments have allowed him to become a founding member of the Forbes Technology Council and a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He was recognized in the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40
Samuel Rigu is an environmental conscious agribusiness manager, a social entrepreneur and an innovator with a BSc. in Agribusiness Management from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Samuel comes from a rural Kenyan farming family and grew up witnessing how farms in his village were degraded by the dependency of synthetic fertilizers. Samuel founded Safi Organics in 2015 a company that decentralizes fertilizer production, converting farmers’ crop waste into high-yielding, carbon-negative organic fertilizers. Previously he founded a company producing eco-friendly mosquito coils from biochar. He graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018.