In addition to the investment of our financial capital, members of Vegan Investors provide value-add to our portfolio companies. From CPG experts to fractional CFOs, our goal is to support our portfolio companies in scaling!
Here is a glimpse of some of the members of Vegan Investors:
Alicia Robb is the Founder and CEO of Next Wave Impact, the Managing Partner of two early-stage venture funds, and the Research Director at Cruelty Free Investing. She is an economic consultant and prolific author on the topics of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance. She is an active angel investor, a limited partner in four early-stage venture funds, a mentor to various young firms, and a board member and advisory board member for various funds, companies, and nonprofit groups, including the Kachuwa Impact Fund, the Deming Center Venture Fund, Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary, and the Next Wave Foundation. She splits her time between the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado and Tucson, Arizona.
Donna Mo is a corporate law attorney and specializes in representing impact investors and social enterprises, with a particular interest in business ventures that reduce the suffering of animals. Her experience includes assisting equity and debt financings and entity formation and governance. She has been involved in the animal rights movement for over two decades and has assisted various animal rights nonprofits.
Salina Shah is an actuary and a Senior Vice President in health consulting analytics and a co-inventor on a health benefits optimization software patent. She has years of start-up and Fortune 500 experience with leading the design, development, and delivery of innovative consulting tools and solutions as well as with financial and risk modeling. Additionally, she is an active vegan investor and a supporter of plant-based initiatives, such as the Actuaries for Sustainable Health Care and the upcoming film “They’re Trying to Kill Us.” She also volunteers with To Empower Women, a non-profit that provides training and skill development for remote work to underserved women.
Sara Murray is a plant-based Registered Dietitian, a supporter of animal rights organizations, and an active investor in the vegan startup space. She has a B.S. in Economics from Duke University and an M.S. in Nutrition Science and Policy from the Tufts Friedman School. In 2004 she became a vegetarian and has been vegan for the majority of the time since then. She’s also a member of Womxn Funders in Animal Rights and is on the board of the Farvue Foundation. She lives in Washington, DC with a rescue mutt and a rotating assortment of foster cats and kittens.
Heather Courtney is the CEO and Founder of Alwyn Capital, an early-stage investment that focuses on removing animals from the consumer supply chain. She is a seasoned real estate investor who saw the opportunity align her investment portfolio with her animal rights ethos. Heather has been vegan for 22 years and, in that time, has witnessed the exponential growth of the plant-based food sector and knows the space intimately. Before founding Alwyn Capital, Heather worked as a lifestyle and portrait photographer in New York City for over a decade, helping fashion and lifestyle brands define themselves through visual storytelling. With a background in photography and visual communication, Heather is able to help new companies communicate through visual imagery.
Rocio Cavazos is an impact investing professional with over 20 years of experience in organizations such as Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, ProMujer and Women’s World Banking. She is currently a Partner at Social Investment Managers and Advisors (simafunds.com); Founder and President of the Vegan Entrepreneurs Association of Mexico (aevm.mx); and Founder of Ananda Group (theanandagroup.one), which offers early-stage investment to vegan businesses in Mexico and the US. She has been vegan since 2010 and is a founding board member of FaunAccion, a non-profit organization that promotes an anti-speciesist philosophy and lifestyle in Mexico. Rocio holds a BSc in Industrial and Systems Engineering from ITESM in Mexico and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Sarah Lahaye is a food systems sustainability expert, with ten years of experience in international development. She is committed to eliminating hunger and malnutrition within planetary boundaries and believes market-based solutions that transition humans off animal-sourced foods present one of the best opportunities for doing so. She is an avid trail runner, in love with the mountains, and spends as much time as she can out in nature with her husband and daughter.
Naomi Sachs spent the last 25 years leading operations, strategy and finance for both small and large companies, most recently as President and COO at Sittercity, a VC-backed digital marketplace for childcare. She is now focused on working with companies and organizations to fight climate change, end animal exploitation and create a more sustainable and equitable food system. Naomi serves on the Advisory Council for Factory Farming Awareness Coalition and the Board of Directors for the Material Innovation Initiative. She lives in Chicago and is an active member of an angel investment group that focuses at the intersection of sustainability, food justice, and nutritious food in the Midwest.
Pavan Katepalli was a volunteer lobbyist for the 2019 California Fur Ban Law that was passed. Previously, he was a very early stage C-level executive at Trilogy Education Services. As CLO, he led technology, education, and curriculum. Trilogy Education Services was the fastest growing education company in history and was acquired in 2019 by 2u (NASDAQ: TWOU) for $750M. Before that, he was the CTO and Co-Founder of INRTracker.com, a health and meal planner for people on blood thinners. He raised funding from Rodger Ford, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year. He lives in the bay area with his pets and wife, Veronica.
Eric Mahlstedt has founded and grown multiple research organizations within large technology companies like IBM and Oracle. His love of research and numbers first led him to invest in real estate and securities. Since becoming vegan in 2017, he has happily supported plant based companies through early stage investments. He lives with his wife, 3 children and dog who believe in living compassionately with all species and the planet we share.
Michiel van Deursen is a former tech entrepreneur behind the largest classifieds internet platform in Belgium, as well as an Amsterdam-based internet agency and a tech incubator, Michiel now invests solely in plant-based businesses. His passion for healthy living began while training for an Ironman triathlon when he learned not only what a plant-based diet can do for personal fitness but also of the wider positive impact on the planet. He was an early investor of The Vegetarian Butcher in the Netherlands, experiencing the massive growth of the plant-based food sector first-hand.
Lara Nuchowicz is an Associate at Planet First Partners, a purpose-led European growth investment platform partnering with entrepreneurs in Better for People (alternative proteins, consumer health, sustainable supply chain, and more) and Better for the Planet (clean energy, sustainable agriculture, low-carbon mobility, and more) spaces. PFP invests in disruptive European growth companies and supports their global expansion through its operational approach and ecosystem. Lara brings a few years of investment experience due to her involvement with her family office in various asset classes including Hedge Fund, PE, Venture. Prior to that, she worked at Flat World Partners, an impact investing advisory firm based in NY, where she built deep know-how of sustainability-related investment and developed strong business development skills. As an avid angel investor, Lara has developed a passion for food and better for your health investments and spends time advising entrepreneurs on how to start their business.
Tony Allard is Founder and President of Hearthstone Investments Ltd, a single-family office and private investment firm (commercial real estate and public equities) and founder and President of Sentient Investments Ltd, a subsidiary of Hearthstone that is focused on investments in protein alternatives. He serves as a Director of PharmaJet, a vaccine delivery company based in Golden, Colorado. He is trained as a securities lawyer and serves as Chair on the boards of various foundations and advocacy groups, including two directed at protecting wild salmon: Wild Salmon Forever and Wild First. Through Sentient Investments, they are looking to invest in start-ups in Canada and the U.S. for pre-seed, seed and series A and B rounds and can provide additional value in the form of expertise, contact networks and business advice.
Lisa Mirman is the co-founder of Investments in Sarasota, a boutique luxury real estate firm. While living above a bakery in Lucca, Italy, Lisa and husband Lee authored Your Guide to Florida Property Investment aimed at bringing transparency to the real estate process in Florida to help the global buyer invest successfully in Florida real estate. She is fluent in Spanish, with a BA in humanities from the University of Chicago. She holds a Duke MBA with a concentration in Marketing and has managed teams within companies ranging from Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurial start-ups. During her entrepreneurial graduate and post-graduate work, Lisa’s projects gave her the opportunity to work across all functional areas of business garnering experience in marketing, operations, strategic planning, and finance. During her tenure at a spin-off of Ericsson, she became known as Chief Relationship Officer for her ability to build strategic relationships with partners and clients. When she relocated to Sarasota, Lisa led the Marketing and Public Relations Division of a fixed enterprise wireless company until she started a family and business. Lisa is a passionate student and advocate of the principles of holistic health and wellness, mindful parenting, and environmental consciousness. She and husband Lee now have two high school-age children who are climate activists and nature enthusiasts. They were the catalyst to transition as a family to a vegan lifestyle. Now Lisa wants to invest in companies led by women in the plant-based space that share the ethics and values that are paramount to move in a healthier direction for the planet, for health, and for the welfare of animals and humanity.
Ekaterina Ivchenko is based in Vienna, Austria and originally from Moscow, Russia. She is a long-term financing and investment professional with experience in such firms as ING, Societe Generale and Commerzbank, focusing on green and sustainability finance in recent years. She is passionate about the vegan economy to make the world a better and kinder place. Founder and an author of bilingual blog Magic Green Kitchen #vegan, (www.magicgreenkitchen.com) youtube channel Vegan Bankery, and Russian podcast host Magic Green Kitchen, Food for Life.
Elysabeth Alfano is the Founder of Plant Power Consulting which helps brands navigate the plant-based landscape with media, marketing and communications. She is the host of the Plant-based Business Hour and Plant-based Business Minute. She is also a vegan investor and the Co-Founder of VegTech: The Global Vegan Impact and Innovation Index.