Beatriz Franco
IMPACT INVESTING

Beatriz Franco

#135

Listen on

Apple Podcast
Spotify

Managing Partner, Vita Ventures – Early Stage Food Tech Investor

Caring about diversity – Beatriz Franco

“You need to be a little crazy. But, you also need to have a very good idea in the sense that it’s fixing a real need and not just a nice thing to have”

ABOUT

Beatriz Franco is a Managing Partner at Vita Ventures, an early-stage fund supporting innovations across the food industry while reducing demands on our planet.

Beatriz is also a Lead Investor at Portfolia’s Food & AgTech fund, angel Investor, and advisor. In 20+ years of experience, she has held many leadership positions in multinational environments including CEO of an AgTech company, director of investments at Plum Alley Investments, Wall Street investment banker at JPMorgan, as well as corporate lawyer at top law firms in Silicon Valley (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati), in New York (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett) and Brazil (Pinheiro Neto Advogados).

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Ryan Else

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor I’m your host Jeffery Potvin and let’s please welcome Beatriz Franco managing partner at Vita Ventures early stage food Tech investor super excited as our investor for today welcome vitrus it’s a real pleasure having you join us.

Beatriz: Thank you very happy to be here.

Jeffery: It’s exciting because we don’t always get the opportunity to talk people who are in food and cpg like it’s like I think we’re two investors in uh five billion people like nobody really I don’t know who invests in these companies or how they get off the ground but it seems like investors just don’t pop up and they’re not everywhere out there they’re always into Tech and SAS so it’s really exciting to be able to Deep dive into a conversation with you around food and what’s going on in that world and uh real pleasure to have you here today.

Beatriz: Thank you I think at Vino we have both worlds that’s why

Jeffery: It does make a difference and I guess that’s probably a way to sustain your business of investing at the same time but really cool so the way we like to to kick off our show is that um we want to be able to Deep dive on yourself share a little bit about where you came from all these great things that you’ve done and you can go all the way back to your legal side from uh even JP Morgan all the way to Thatcher and forward even when you were a CEO please we want to dive into that too because all of these things bring a lot of value to the to the community and then while you’re sharing that one thing about you that nobody would know

Beatriz: All right so let me start with the one thing that some people will know but anything like it’s a fun fact I guess um I am addicted to taking classes uh I can’t explain why but I think I have this feeling that life is too short um and since I was I don’t know since elementary school I was taking seven or eight after school classes and it was never enough and it was sports music language you name it like I want to take everything and the day just wasn’t long enough later in life I continued to do that as long as work would allowed I took skateboarding I took a serious amateur cooking class I took all these things and and my friends at JP Morgan would make fun of me because a lot of times I had to leave the happy hour or whatever it was to go to like a hotel management class and they’re like come on are you really opening a hotel and I was like not anytime soon but this is pretty interesting so so yes I have a problem with that kind of addiction I guess

Jeffery: That’s awesome that’s a good addiction to have I think learning is the best thing and trying new things is certainly more creative it allows you to meet new people in different areas you never know what you’re going to get yourself into so that’s pretty exciting yeah very cool

Beatriz: all right so back to your question on my career um definitely not a linear path by any means um I’m from Brazil I’m from a generation that did not ask the question what do I really like and what should I do in my life that has bigger meaning or impact that was not you know allowed at that time something we thought about was is this a good career is this gonna you know allow me to be independent and have a decent living so I didn’t plan my career around what I liked and I plan around what would be good right so I started as a corporate lawyer first in Brazil at a firm called pietoneto then in New York got a firm called Simpson Thatcher and then in Silicon Valley I referred called Wilson City so I did that for almost a decade I worked a lot a lot a lot night you know all-nighters weekends but you know I really learned a lot as well it was so exciting to be part of very large transactions that involved companies that you were reading about in the financial times I particularly liked going through IPO processes and seeing what took you know to get them there so overall was a great experience I met so many smart and interesting people some of my best friends are from my lawyer days and and to be honest I still feel at home when I go to the law firms to see them um but I reached a point in my career that I wanted to be closer to the business decisions and that’s when I decided to take a risk and switch careers completely so I became an investment banker uh believe it or not I worked last hours people say investment bankers work a lot but compared to lawyers not as much uh earlier though we started our days very early so I was an investment banker Japan market for almost a decade as well I uh Japan Margo was an amazing school I started in the debt Capital markets desk then derivatives and then I moved into credit structuring um I think I like the credit deals the best we had this small group uh people sort of a mix of sales trading structuring that work together like a little small business within the bigger firm and and it was fun it was fun working with them our goal was to Source structure and place non-vanilla deals so basically the deals that were not easy to to get done and we had to figure out how to get yes from all the parties involved um sometimes at a guarantee sometimes the higher interest rate sometimes a different maturity um you name it so so that was that was really interesting and then at some point I started asking the question that I had not asked before in the beginning of my career which was what do I really like and and how can I have a bigger impact with what I’m doing so that’s when I left the corporate world I started Consulting for startups I joined a fund that invested in women Founders and during that time I was Consulting for an agriculture attack company which I then ended up joining as Chief strategy officer at first and then became the CEO we were working on a technology development MIT for sustainable fertilizers and from there I started getting deeper into the food system as a whole and the more I learned about it the more I realized how unsustainable it really was right on the one hand we have population growth reaching close to 10 billion by 2050 and on the other hand you have a system that can’t maintain its levels of production as is let alone increase you know production for more people so I you know natural resources are limited climate change is making it harder to produce the sa