“As a capital partner, we’re making a tangible impact by funding the growth of human-scale regenerative agriculture,” said Daniel Miller, CEO, and Founder of Steward.
PORTLAND, Ore. (PRWEB) September 22, 2021
Steward, a funding platform working to accelerate the growth of regenerative farms and food producers, announces the closing of its $8.8m Series A investment round. The investment, led by The Grantham Foundation, Tripple, and Ponderosa Ventures, represents intergenerational capital now committed to the success of human-scale agriculture across the United States.
Founded in 2017, Steward partners with sustainably-run farms, ranches, fisheries, and food producers to access the capital they need to sustain and expand their businesses. Through Steward’s online lending platform, users can participate in secured, interest-bearing loans that fuel the growth of regenerative agriculture. To date, Steward has provided over $7m in farm loans to fund 50 unique agricultural projects, backed by more than 1,200 participating lenders.
“As a capital partner, we’re making a tangible impact by funding the growth of human-scale regenerative agriculture. But we don’t do it alone—we bring together a diverse community of values-driven lenders who join in our mission, putting their own resources to work to effect change,” said Daniel Miller, CEO, and Founder of Steward.
The investment round was led by Neglected Climate Opportunities LLC, The Grantham Environmental Trust’s venture capital vehicle. Steward joins a portfolio of forty other investments in emerging businesses bringing climate solutions to market. When asked why the Trust chose to invest, Eric Smith, Director of NCO, stated, “We have consistently found that access to capital is one of the primary barriers to growth for innovative growers. When your production model doesn’t fit squarely into the mold of a traditional farm lender, you are underserved. Steward is working to fix that, bringing a model of finance that unlocks capital for producers so they can supply a market that is currently exploding.”
Also leading the round is Tripple, an Australian private investment firm using capital as a force for good. Investing in Steward aligns closely with their mission to catalyze solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Rebecca (Bec) Milgrom, Executive Director of Tripple, added, “At Tripple, we see access to finance as one of the major barriers to a global regenerative food system. Steward tackles this challenge by providing innovative debt solutions, designed in partnership with farmers and demonstrates the possibilities of community participation. With Dan’s history of success at Fundrise, we are excited to see him translate that experience in building Steward and contribute to a food systems transformation so urgently needed.”
In addition, participation in the round came from Evi Steyer, General Partner at Ponderosa, as well as Kat Taylor, regenerative rancher, beneficial banker, and angel investor. Ponderosa is an impact firm backing seed-stage companies in the food, agriculture, and ocean sectors. Evi Steyer added, "Steward and its community of lenders are also well positioned to provide much needed capital to a diverse set of producers who have been excluded from capital and land access, counteracting racial and gender bias that have pervaded the sector historically."
The funding, which also included other mission-aligned angels, high net-worth individuals, and investors, will allow Steward to ramp up its staff, customer support, technology, and marketing as it continues on its rapid growth trajectory. Along with their investments, Eric Smith, Bec Milgrom, and Evi Steyer will join the Steward Board of Directors, playing pivotal roles in guiding Steward’s future success.
Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping human-scale, regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. By providing access to flexible financing and expert support services, Steward partners with agricultural businesses to scale their operations, improve the health of their lands, and bolster local food systems. Steward is proud to be a Certified B Corp. Learn more, seek capital, or lend support at gosteward.com