We build new companies that accelerate a circular and regenerative food system

Fresh will launch in 2021 to work alongside you to address the world’s most pressing problems through scalable impact-ventures. Apply now for the coming cohort.

Apply Now

Fresh Ventures is a venture building program and startup studio based in The Netherlands. We co-found companies with experienced professionals and entrepreneurs to address systemic challenges in the food system.

Co-Found a sustainable food system with us

Match with complementary co-founders. Get access to a talent pool and a community of people with specialized skills.

Meet your co-founder & dream team

Work on opportunities based on thorough systemic analysis. Co-found a company structured for maximum scalable impact.

Supercharge your life's work

A clear program set-up that supports your leap to a new life: doing what you love, using your edge, building a better world.

Make a supported leap

Gain access to committed capital, sector knowledge, industry leaders and launching customers that want to see you succeed.

Get an unfair advantage

Meet your co-founder & dream team

Match with complementary co-founders. Get access to a talent pool and a community of people with specialized skills.

Supercharge your life's work

Work on opportunities based on thorough systemic analysis. Co-found a company structured for maximum scalable impact.

Make a supported leap

A clear program set-up that supports your leap to a new life: doing what you love, using your edge, building a better world.

Get an unfair advantage

Gain access to committed capital, sector knowledge, industry leaders and launching customers that want to see you succeed.

Apply Now

“Now that we know that venture building works, we need to use it as a tool to build enterprises that tackle the world’s wicked problems. Fresh is focused on exactly that.”

Tom Higgly

Founder of 10.10.10 & X Genesis, Advisory Board Member at Global Startup Studio Network

Join as an individual.
End up with co-founders and a venture you whole-heartedly believe in.

Join our program

You will have the opportunity to meet an exceptional, complementary co-founder that is equally passionate and mission driven.

You’ll be submerged in the challenges, opportunities and key players within the regenerative food system.

At the end, investable ventures will be introduced to our core-investors and invited in the Fresh Ventures studio to accelerate the venture and your impact.

1. Application

Open now until September

1

In applications, we look for mission-alignment, entrepreneurial grit, and a growth mindset

2

Interviews are focused around your strongest drivers, problem-solving capabilities, and your personal competitive advantage

3

Early deadline is June 25th and the latest deadline is September 30th. We accept individuals on a rolling basis, so the earlier you get your application in the better.

Apply Now

2. Digital program & preparation

Starts November 15th

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Learn about key knowledge, skills, and impact areas for food system innovation

2

Dedicate focused time on your personal mission development

3

Meet new people and your potential co-founder(s)

4

High-level of self-organisation, exploration, and peer learning

3. Core program

Starts February 7th

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Start with ‘problem loving’ where we build on learning from the digital program and dig into potential opportunity areas

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Then move into solution validation where we explore, test, and iterate possible solutions in real-world situations with end beneficiaries

3

Undertake the early stages of venture building, leveraging our ecosystem and expertise

4. Finale - Funding & Studio transfer

Happens in May 2022

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Teams that are ready and driven to join the studio and co-found the company with us receive around 100k in funding from our core investors.

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We incorporate if the core investors invest. Structuring the venture according to the principles of steward ownership.

3

If you haven’t found the right co-founder, need more time, or going a different path, we help you navigate our network of partners to continue your journey.

5. The Studio

Year round

1

Accelerate your access to funds, talent, and expertise by leveraging Fresh’s network

2

Work alongside the Fresh studio team to test and rapidly develop and your proposition

3

Found your business aligned with steward ownership principles

Frequently asked questions

What is the goal of the program?

The final goal of the program is to have a validated solution idea to a problem you identify during the program -  a solution that you then enter the Fresh Studio with to further develop with your team. 
To reach this goal, we help you to critically understand challenges in the food system from a systemic point of view. Secondly, we facilitate co-founder matching with inspiring people from all over Europe. Thirdly, we guide you through the process of going from a challenge area to an investable business idea.

Why should I join the Fresh program? 

1. The program will provide you with the opportunity to found a mission-driven venture by matching with complementary entrepreneurs in the cohort
2. We will also help you identify, test, and refine solutions with a systemic impact, rather than burden-shift solutions or develop short-sighted quick wins
3. You get the chance to work on your ideas with day-to-day feedback, and access to an extensive network of beneficiaries, subject matter experts, and mentors to co-design, test, and validate your ideas with

What does the program consist of?

The program will be delivered in two main parts.

The first month is an online, part-time journey focused on building systemic knowledge of the food system, personal mission development, and beginning the co-founder matching process. 

The second part takes place after a winter break, when we will meet in Rotterdam for the full-time part of the program. During these three months, you will move from ‘problem loving’ - digging into the food system even deeper to understand where the opportunity areas are and why - to ideating and testing potential solutions. The final month will focus on prototyping one solution direction with relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries. 
Key to this journey will be the focus on forming a strong founding team, and working towards an investable business idea.

Can I join just for the digital or in-person part?

No, when you are accepted, you commit to the entire program. The winter break facilitates a recharge and gives space for relocating to Rotterdam for the in-person part of the Program.

What expertise will I benefit from in the program? And who will be mentoring / coaching me?

Our commitment is to help people found a high-impact venture which transforms the food system. To enable this, we will work closely with you over the duration of the program - benefiting from our expertise in systems thinking and the food system as well as venture development and teaming, like finding your co-founder. We will also engage a core set of mentors and subject matter experts from our ecosystem who will support you with their expertise - whether insight from the food system, or with practical expertise in venture development. We will also connect you to relevant stakeholders - such as end beneficiaries (i.e. food manufacturers, farmers etc.) who will be critical in the validation of your venture solution. We will be announcing new mentors and partners over the coming months before the program begins in November.

Do I need a team?

No, you do not need a team to apply for the Fresh program. In fact, one of the purposes of the Fresh program is to support individuals find and build a team as they identify a problem they’re committed to solving.

Can I join if I’m already part of a team?

Yes, you can apply with an existing team. However, Fresh is not an accelerator program; we work with participants to truly understand the challenges in the food system and develop innovative solutions that can address critical barriers. Each team member will need to apply separately, you should come with an open mind, and you should be okay with the theoretical possibility that a new person joins your team.

What if I don’t find a good match and want to build my own thing?

That’s okay too. There are many examples of entrepreneurs going at it alone in the beginning, and matches are not always easy to find. However, when it comes to selecting which ventures enter the studio, a well balanced team in sync with each other will be one of the criteria we’ll take into consideration.

Do I need an idea before joining?

No, you don’t. Some participants may come into Fresh with an existing idea, others will be in full exploration mode. While having an existing idea can be valuable pre-thinking, Fresh provides an opportunity to take a step back and fully understand what’s needed to create transformative change. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have an idea before you enter the program, and if you do have one, it’s important to come in with a critical and open mind.

Can I join when I’m already working on an idea or new business?

Yes, you can but keep in mind that Fresh is a pre-idea program and not an accelerator program. We start with deeply and further understanding the problems inherent in the food system. We ask every participant to take a step back from any ideas or preconceptions to take a fresh, critical look at their assumptions and idea development.

Can I apply if I have raised investment already?

Yes and no. If it’s a grant or a small investment amount in a general direction, then yes. But if it’s a serious seed investment, to us that implies that you’re already quite path-committed to an existing plan and deviating from that path would be problematic for you or your stakeholders. We want to ensure that participants have maximum flexibility when it comes to understanding the problems and designing solutions.

Will I retain rights to my ideas?

Yes, generally speaking. There are no IP agreements and you are entitled to work on any ideas that come to you during or after the program. However, Fresh does not sign NDAs with participants entering our program or entrepreneurs more broadly. You can protect your idea through standard legal means, but otherwise it becomes part of a toolkit of potential solutions for others, including participants in future cohorts, to solve problems. 

What kind of ventures would you like to see created during the program?

We aim to build ventures that address a systemic challenge by solving key barriers to structural, accelerated change. For the first few years, Fresh will focus on farmer-centric solutions that accelerate the transition of the cultivation side of the food chain: regenerative agri- and aquaculture and ‘landless’ farming systems. For a more elaborate answer, and a list of good examples of ventures, please read our blog under 'stories'.

What profile are you looking for in participants?

Yes! Fresh is looking for a diverse mix of people. Business-minded individuals, domain experts, and technical people of different stripes are all needed to create well balanced teams. Often what we see is that people from very different fields are capable of approaching these challenges in unique and innovative ways.

I'm technically oriented but without any business experience. Can I still apply?

Yes! Not only will you have the opportunity to pair yourself with someone who is stronger on the business side of things, but the Fresh program and Studio are designed to develop and compliment your skills in that area. We also have a broad network of experienced entrepreneurs who can guide you during the program.

Do I have to relocate? Or can I join remotely?

We require all participants to locate to (or close to) Rotterdam for the physical part of the Program, which takes place from February 2022 until the end of April 2022, so expect to move to the Netherlands in January 2022 to get set-up! Covid-19 has illustrated that more remote opportunities should be embraced, but building relationships with other potential co-founders and teammates ultimately requires proximity. Relationships are built over dinners, drinks, and struggling through a challenging process together, not over video chat.

What if I live outside the EU?

Currently, the Fresh program is available only to those with EU citizenship, residence, or a visa that enables them to participate. We are working to make it possible for international applicants from outside the EU and without existing working permissions to join the Fresh program in the future, but for now it’s unfortunately not possible.

Do I need to pay to join the program?

No, the program is delivered free-of-cost to participants. We view it as an essential investment in capacity building and building early progress.

Does the program offer financial support for its participants?

Yes, Fresh offers €500 per month per participant to cover some of the basic living expenses, or for resources towards your venture during the physical part of the program.

Do you help with finding a place to live in the Netherlands?

Yes, we help participants with housing. At minimum, we’ll make sure everyone receives guidance that simplifies the process, can access proven resources, and can coordinate with other participants.

Can I work on something else while doing the Fresh program or could I do the program part-time?

The first digital starting part of the program, from mid November until mid December, is a much lighter commitment. It takes place during two weekday evenings and Saturday each week, which makes it possible to do alongside an existing full-time commitment. However, the physical program (Feb - May) is a full-time commitment and must have participants’ full attention.

Can I join the Fresh program if I also have a job?

The digital leg of the program, from mid November until mid December, is designed so that it’s possible to do next to a full-time job. However, by joining the entire Fresh program, you commit to making yourself fully available during the physical leg of the program from February to early May, which cannot be done next to a job.

Can I defer my acceptance in the Fresh program?

In general, we do not allow accepted applicants to defer their participation. A lot can happen in a year, and our focus areas for future programs may shift. However, we will work with accepted applicants to defer their participation for cases due to extenuating circumstances.

Is there a deadline to apply?

Yes. The final deadline for the first cohort is September 30th, 2021. But we will accept individuals on a rolling basis, so the earlier you get your application in the better.

What happens at the end of the program?

At the end of the program, venture teams will have the opportunity to join the Fresh Studio to co-found and build their venture with us. That decision needs to be a mutual choice; should either the venture team or Fresh not see an ideal fit, the venture team is free to continue building the venture on their own. If there is a match, we deliver an investment proposal to our investment committee and core investors to make a decision about in which teams they would like to invest.

Do I receive an investment or any other funding when I join the studio?

Yes, our ventures that enter the studio receive roughly EUR 100,000 in investment as seed capital. This capital is provided by a group of core investors who are aligned with the principles of Fresh. We also work with entrepreneurs to bring in relevant funding from grants, subsidies, and early customers to resource early venture building efforts.

Find more detailed information on how we structure and finance ventures when they join in this blog: How we revolutionize ownership and why it helps us transform the food system

Does Fresh take a stake in the venture I start?

Yes, when you transfer to the studio we co-found the venture alongside you. We see the program support, fundraising, network development, extensive recruitment, opportunity due diligence, and our hands-on support as part of our investment. However, Fresh is adopting a Steward Ownership model which has a big impact on how shares are dealt with. Steward Ownership splits decision-making and profit-sharing rights and creates multiple types of stakes and shares.

You as founder will receive 100% of the exclusive decision-making shares, meaning you have the hands on the steering wheel. As a founder, you will also have a non-tradable economic share. With a capped return that you as a founder receive for the hard work, the risk you take, and investment you are making at an early stage.

Investors will receive no decision-making rights. They will however receive economic rights which involve a capped return on their investment. After these investors have received this return, the shares are dissolved. 

Fresh, as co-founder in the ventures, receives non-voting shares with a predefined capped return on our investment. We calculate our investment as a co-founder at 100k. After we have earned a predetermined return over our initial investment, the shares are dissolved and the venture is able to run autonomously. 

What happens in the studio?

The Studio is an institutionalised co-founder that supports the venture on a day-to-day basis in the first 2-3 years of its development. The studio takes a hands-on approach and works alongside the entrepreneurial team to organize capital, connect to expertise, build a team, and deal with a lot of the nitty gritty like legal, accounting, design, and finding early customers. The objective of the studio is to help ventures it builds become fully autonomous as they find success and traction.

Building a regenerative food system is the number one challenge of our generation

Current food system

Our global food system is arguably the biggest and most important system on planet earth. And it’s in really bad shape.

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Number 1 cause of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss
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69% of water use, leading cause of draught
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Leading cause of nutrient imbalances while our foods decline in nutrient density
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Largest employer of people below the poverty line, employing over 1 billion people
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800 million people remain malnourished

Future food system

While immense and complicated, given its size and impact, we know that if we can address key challenges in the food system, we can address key challenges in our society.

1
Number 1 carbon storage opportunity
2
Best pathway for restoring biodiversity
3
Leading driver of a sustainable water cycle
4
Best opportunity for healthy rural livelihoods
5
Nutritious foods are widely accessible

Face the challenge and join us on our mission

Apply Now
current food system

Number one carbon emitter

future food system

Number one carbon emitter

current food system

Number one carbon emitter

future food system

Number one carbon emitter

current food system

Number one carbon emitter

future food system

Number one carbon emitter

current food system

Number one carbon emitter

future food system

Number one carbon emitter

current food system

Number one carbon emitter

future food system

Number one carbon emitter

our focus

Unlocking transformational potential

Fresh is starting off with a focus on cultivation and production systems--the beginning of the chain where most of the impacts and challenges can be found. Building systemic ventures in these areas involves addressing critical barriers and unlocking key capacities that enable the broader sector to shift to a fundamentally sustainable state.

Terrestrial Agriculture

Accelerating the transition to fully regenerative and climate-smart agriculture, combined with evolving horticulture and indoor production systems.

Aquatic Agriculture

Utilizing our oceans, lakes, and rivers to support the sustainable production of food and biomass while regenerating ecosystems.

Potential areas

Ecosystem service valorization

Transition finance

Distributed and democratized data

Regional supply chains

Restoring ecosystems

Agroforestry and mycology

Machine learning and IoT

New market channels

“There’s no time left to cherry pick the easy solutions. Fresh uses a systems understanding to target the really hard challenges and makes addressing them the priority.”

Eva Gladek

CEO Metabolic

Looking for: Future Founders!

We are looking for people with the ambition to transform our food system and the entrepreneurial itch to address the world's most critical challenges by founding a new venture with us.

Mission-drive
Working with Fresh means you have a tremendous, primary drive to change the food system. Ventures to us are not a goal in itself but a means to an end. The drive of our founders is informed by their experience and helps them to dig deep in order to analyse and solve difficult problems.
Growth mindset
Working with Fresh requires the ability to deal with uncertainty and appreciate confronting lessons, everyday. We look for people able to self-propel, constantly critical of their own assumptions and not afraid to surround themselves with other excelling people.
Entrepreneurial grit
We seek entrepreneurial, persistent people capable of agility - willing to re-route or cut through challenges to get to where they want to go. People willing to get their hands dirty in order to build their life’s work, with the openness to develop (more) entrepreneurial savviness.
Systemic impact
We seek people who put impact first but who realize the implications of building a scalable business. We are looking for people that understand the importance of solving root challenges and expect our founders to be willing to kill darlings or change course when impact is insufficient.

Become a future founder

Apply Now

Our philosophy

Regenerative Entrepreneurs, Ventures & Ecosystems

Mission-driven

Impact first; profit serves purpose. While growth plays a role in making impact happen, it is always governed by an impact strategy. We play the long game.

Systemic

Not only do we look at interdependencies at different levels, above all we strive to address root causes and structurally transform systems.

Regenerative

We are redesigning for systems to heal and spiral upwards. This goes for individuals, teams, organizations--basically everywhere we go.

Curious

Opening our hearts and minds enables us to uncover insights others don’t see while ensuring that we are building the right solutions for the right people in the right contexts.

Invested

We are invested in our mission, have skin in the game, and build alongside our partners in determined fashion.

Collaborative

Always building with, not for and always building towards a community that rallies for the commons. Building upon existing progress, together with others with a shared mission.

Meet our team

Alice MacNeil
Program Lead
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Bart van der Zande
Co-Founder, Director
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Chris Monaghan
Co-Founder, Studio Lead
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Huub Dekkers
Co-Founder, Team & Recruitment Lead
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Jack Angela
Innovation & Growth Hacking Intern
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Murray Gray
Venture Builder
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Paul Musters
Teaming Expert
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Saskia Rademaker
Sourcing & Selection Expert
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Seadna Quigley
Co-Founder, Finance Lead
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Susanne Dekker
Project Manager - Farm Transformation
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Fortunate Malago
Recruitment Intern
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Paul te Hietbrink
Program Assistant Intern
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Valeria Kolarova
Recruitment Intern
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Sophie Schumacher
Regenerative Agriculture Intern
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Giampiero Maietti
Marketing & Communication Expert
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Partners & investors

stichting doen logo
Purpose Ventures logo
4 impact logo

Coming up

Join our meetups and conversations on topics we care about

08

Sep

12:00 PM - 13:00 PM CEST

15

SEP

12:00 PM - 13:00 PM CEST

Our ecosystem of mentors, investors & partners

These are the great people that want to help you and the ventures we build succeed! We will be adding more.

Michiel de Man

Business Developer planet B.Io Former co-founder & managing director @ Commonland

As one of the co-founders of Commonland, Michiel has extensive experience in business development and venture building to regenerate landscapes. Now active in biotechnology giving him a broad perspective on the needed transition.

Lindy Hensen

Director, Investor & Innovation Lead Tekkoo

An innovation do-er and investor that set-up or was involved in the creation and growth of multiple businesses, like the Peel Pioneers. Tekkoo and Lindy have a speciality in building new business that create new value from ‘waste’ streams.

Joost Wouters

Founder & CEO The Seaweed company, co-founder Climate Cleanup

Joost is a Blue Economy activist and experienced founder. Currently regenerating our oceans and soils with regenerative seaweed concepts. 

Koen van Seijen

Founding partner Garnell Capital Partners, Host of investing in regenerative agriculture podcast

Koen has been a part of our journey since day one. As a senior manager at Toniic and as the host of Investing in regenerative agriculture he is probably one of the most well connected and most up to date people in the regenerative food space.

Danielle de Nie

Founder & Director at Wij.Land

Danielle is trained as a Soil Scientist and Physical Geographer and has a broad understanding of the functioning of landscapes. With Wij.Land she has a lot of experience working on the challenge related to a transition to regenerative farming.

Wouter-Jan Schouten

Theme Director Sustainable Food Systems TI Food & Nutrition

Wouter-Jan is a seasoned General Management consultant with broad and international experience in Consumer Goods and Agro-Food industries. In his role as a member of the advisory council at Commonland and at TIFN he has a very strong network and experience in the transition to a regenerative food system.

Yanniek Marijn Schoonhoven

Co-founder Regeneration Aacademy - co-author EIT Food Regenerative agriculture manual

Yanniek is living in Spain on a big organic regenerative farm and has a passion for regenerative agriculture, rural development and entrepreneurship. She co-authored the EIT Food’s regenerative agriculture manual and trained a lot of students and farmers on regenerative agriculture.

Bas Van Ecke

Impact investor & successful entrepreneur

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Eva Gladek

Founder and CEO at Metabolic

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Tom Kools

Climate-, biodiversity strategy & Sustainability at Vestegen Spices & Sauces

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Achim Hensen

Co-Founder at Purpose Foundation and Purpose Ventures

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Brian Shaw

Agrifood & biodiversity lead Metabolic

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Alexandre Santos

Founder & CEO Snood Foods

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

João Ferrão dos Santos

Impact Venture Advisor

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Francine Snoek

Investment Manager iFund

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.

Jan Maarten Dros

Program coordinator sustainable business models at Wij.Land

Bas is a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor with experience in and an interest for ways to revolutionise the way we structure ownership, like through Steward Ownership. Bas is involved as one of our core-investors.