Sprout welcomes Hannah Senior
The Sprout team is excited to announce that we have recently invited Hannah Senior to join us in 2020. She will be scouting for innovative companies in UK and Europe.
Hannah is an agritech entrepreneur and leader based in the UK. She has her MBA from Stanford University and is the owner and CEO of PBS International, a pollination control products business. She is also a board member for UK’s Centre for Agricultural Innovation for crop health and protection.
How did you get started in the Agritech/Food Industry?
I grew up in a farming village in Yorkshire, UK, so agriculture was part of my early view of the world. Growing up I moved away to London as a strategy consultant with a major retailer, and off to business school in California.
PBS International works solely with plant breeders and seed producers manufacturing products to control pollen flows. Acquiring this business felt like I came back to the agricultural and scientific world and it was like coming home.
I’d forgotten how awesome it is to be - quite literally - in the field!
What is your view on the current Agritech landscape?
There is so much opportunity to bring innovation to AgriFood.
Breakthroughs that are transforming other industries are only slowly become mainstream in a lot of areas of agriculture. This is changing and changing fast. Seeing a wave of innovation and investment transform how we do things across the AgriFood scene is really exciting.
Of course, challenges at a macro level are substantial - the industry is fragmented, subsidies distort incentives, there is a disconnect between consumers and producers, and, inevitably, hype around particular topics often generate more heat than light.
But overall I’m hugely optimistic.
As the opportunity and respect for technology in the AgriFood sector grows I’m confident we'll move towards solutions to some of the most intractable food related challenges, making the industry more attractive, more profitable and more sustainable.
Tell us about something that really excites you in the industry at the moment?
I think most farmers and producers do care deeply about the environment. So in particular I’m super excited about how many innovations - from biocontrols to swarm robotics - offer the potential of reducing the impact of food production on the wider environment, be it in carbon reduction, carbon sequestration, more focused intervention, less waste etc. Improving environmental impact while also boosting productivity has to be a win for everyone.
What energises you about joining the Sprout team?
When you’re putting your all into growing your business, getting support and advice from others is really important but it’s not always transparent whose interests are being served. One of the things I love about Sprout is the way that the Entrepreneur is put at the heart of the process so that she/he can pursue the vision for their company. I also love the international orientation. If you’re not thinking global, you’re probably not thinking big enough.
How would you describe your personality in five words?
Ooh-ee, that’s a tough one. Had to recruit outside input for this: Inquisitive, determined, thoughtful, insightful, pragmatic