On September 20, 2023 Trailhead Capital—a Boulder, Colorado-based, mission-driven venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies offering tech-enabled solutions to expand regenerative agriculture practices and products—announced the closing of its inaugural fund.
The Trailhead Capital Regeneration Fund I has total commitments of approximately $50 million, which underscores the strong investor confidence in the an investment strategy based on regenerative agriculture, which was first documented in the groundbreaking 2002 book, The Restoration Economy.
The Fund, which has already backed 22 companies (with 2 exits to date), was oversubscribed and received support from a global base of aligned investors including agricultural firms McDonald Pelz and the Rodale Institute; foundations such as The Argosy Foundation, Cisco Foundation, and the Zero Gap Fund (an impact investing collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation); climate-focused funds-of-funds including the Wire Group and WovenEarth Ventures; as well as several other high net worth individuals.
Jane Woodward, founder and Managing Partner of Palo Alto based WovenEarth Ventures says of her fund’s commitment, “WovenEarth Ventures is excited to invest with Trailhead Capital, an early category leader in U.S. early-stage climate tech focused on regenerative agriculture.”
Trailhead Capital is a mission-driven investment firm creating outstanding financial, societal, and ecological returns by backing entrepreneurs who are building the regenerative future of food and agriculture.
Referencing the Fund’s closing and its overall mission, Bobby Pelz Jr., Founding Partner of Trailhead, says “I could not be prouder of our team for putting together a world-class group of investors and for so thoroughly selecting and vetting opportunities in this exciting space. Having been in the grain industry for 45 years, it is clear to me that regenerative food and agriculture is a major component of our future, and we are here to help drive its wider adoption.”
“The current food system has done what it was intended to do: feed the world,” notes Trailhead Managing Partner, Pete Oberle.
“Regenerative agriculture can improve upon that through its unique ability to transform an industry from a major carbon source to a huge carbon sink, minimize the 30%-40% of food that is wasted every year, and improve the quality of the food we eat. Spurred by the convergence of tech progress and consumer demand, accelerating corporate commitments, government funding and investment dollars indicate improved recognition of that potential, and we’re honored and humbled to be partnering with our investors and entrepreneurs to make it a reality,” he explained.
Trailhead is uniquely positioned to build a bridge between the old and new paradigm in food and agriculture with an unparalleled network of the biggest established global players, as well as the start-ups working to disrupt their businesses. The firm says it believes that regenerative agriculture represents the single greatest opportunity to improve human, soil, animal and planetary health today, thereby leading to outsized returns for all stakeholders.
“Transitioning our food system towards one that is regenerative is critical for the planet and global health,” said Sunit Shah, Director of Innovative Finance at The Rockefeller Foundation.
“We believe Trailhead will play a leading role in enabling that transition by supporting the entrepreneurs and technologies necessary, and bringing the market along with them,” he added.
The Fund targets Seed and Series A investments in innovative, tech-enabled companies spanning the entire food value chain (from farm to supply chain to consumer). Trailhead Capital, is a Certified B Corp and was founded by Bobby Pelz and Tripp Wall, and the Fund is currently managed by Managing Partners Mark Lewis and Pete Oberle.
Photo courtesy of Trailhead Capital.