About Us

Our Team

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About Us

Our Team

AgFunder is the premier marketplace for the most promising Ag and AgTech startups seeking to raise investment capital from accredited investors. AgFunder was co-founded by a dedicated team of technologists and Ag industry professionals.

Rob Leclerc, PhD

CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Entrepreneur, scientist, and engineer. Rob is a leading expert on agtech with a PhD from Yale University.

Michael Dean, LLM

CO-FOUNDER & COO

Michael is an entrepreneur and investor with a background in agriculture, finance and law.

Melissa Tilney, JD/MBA

CO-FOUNDER & HEAD OF MARKETING

Melissa brings over 12 years of experience in technology, marketing and agriculture.

Rob Lecher, LLM

CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Michael Dean, LLM

CO-FOUNDER & COO

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Melissa Tilney, JD/MBA

CO-FOUNDER & HEAD OF MARKETING

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Sara Hanks

GENERAL COUNSEL

Sara is a former senior staffer at the SEC, and has practised corporate and securities law in government, Congress and private practice for 30 years.

Robin Chauhan, BASc

LEAD ENGINEER

Engineer, data scientist, program manager. Robin is a former technical founder specializing in SaaS platforms.

Mike Betts

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT

Mike has a background in investment banking, technology, and startups. He grew up in Kansas with family in farming.

Melissa Tilney, JD/MBA

CO-FOUNDER & HEAD OF MARKETING

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Robin Chauhan, BASc

LEAD ENGINEER

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Mike Betts

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Justin Bruch, MBA

ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN

A leading agronomist, Justin has managed large-scale farms on four continents and is a frequent speaker at global Ag conferences.

Brad Farquhar

SENIIOR ADVISOR

Director of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (TSXV: YAK), a commercial real estate company in Mongolia.

John Simon, Ambassador

SENIIOR ADVISOR

Served as US Ambassador to the African Union, Special Assistant to the President, and Executive VP of the Overseas Investment Corp.

Mike Betts

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Mike Betts

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

Mike Betts

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT

Michael is a co-founder of AgFunder and brings over 20 years of legal, business management and project development experience to the team. Michael oversees operations and all deal origination and execution on the AgFunder platform. Prior to starting AgFunder, Michael founded and operated SeedRock Africa Agriculture, an African agribusiness.

He managed all development activities in West Africa including the implementation of farming operations; the construction of the company’s edible oil processing facility; the launch of the “Africa Gold” sunflower oil brand and the granting of official leaseholds to over 43,000 hectares of agricultural land. A qualified lawyer, Michael previously advised many of Australia’s largest development and investment corporations on the acquisition and development aspects of their property, agribusiness, resources, renewable energy, construction and associated investment activities. He has substantial experience of large-scale projects incorporating complex development and structuring issues. Michael holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.