Meet our Partner: Alexandre Stephan
1. Why did you decide to specialize in the agro and food sectors, and when did you start?
"The combination of two major factors motivated me to follow this path, the power of Brazilian agribusiness (around 25% of Brazil's GDP) combined with the potential to create a more efficient and sustainable supply chain. Although I had previously been exposed to the sector in my career, my 100% focus on this industry began in 2013, shortly after returning from my MBA abroad when I started working at a private equity fund focused exclusively on this segment (Aqua Capital)."
2. How do you view the food waste thesis?
Food waste thesis refers to the argument that the current level of food waste in our society is unacceptable and that we need to take steps to reduce it. This thesis is supported by evidence that shows a significant amount of food is wasted every year, both at the production and consumption stages, while millions of people worldwide suffer from hunger and malnutrition. To address the issue of food waste, there are various strategies, such as reducing food waste at the source, improving food distribution systems, and promoting more sustainable consumption patterns. Reducing food waste can benefit society by improving food security, reducing environmental impacts, and saving resources.
3. What readings do you recommend for those who want to understand more about the thesis?
I would start with the brilliant book from Tristam Stuart, called "Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal".
The book explores the issue of food waste and its impact on society, the environment, and the global economy. It discusses the root causes of food waste, including cultural attitudes towards food, the industrialization of food production, and inefficient distribution systems. Stuart also highlights the environmental impact of food waste, including the greenhouse gases produced by decomposing food in landfills. In addition, it explores the economic and social implications of food waste. Stuart argues that reducing food waste can help alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce the strain on natural resources, and create new business opportunities. Last but not least, Stuart presents several solutions to the problem of food waste, including changing cultural attitudes towards food, improving distribution systems, and implementing better food waste management practices. He also highlights the role of individuals, businesses, and governments in addressing the issue of food waste.
4. How does Arado approach the issue of food waste?
Arado tackles one of the toughest operational pain points in agribusiness: the specialty crop supply chain. By connecting small & medium growers with restaurants and retailers, Arado drives food systems towards greater efficiency and climate resiliency. They transform small landholder farming, traditionally the most vulnerable and exposed activity in agriculture, into a more profitable and less risky business. Arado has been investing heavily in technology (proprietary WMS, OMS, Pricing and Demand Predicting algorithms, Fulfillment-as-a-Service platform, integration of OpenAI/ChatGPT features for customer service and conversational commerce, automation of product lists and checkout, among many other innovations) and in a unique business model to streamline and disrupt the $20B USD Fresh Food market in Brazil.
5. A quote that you live by.
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – Thomas Edison
Interview conducted with Alexandre Stephan
Alexandre Stephan is Partner at SP Ventures, São Paulo, Brazil.