Sprout Team Spotlight: Jonathan Good
“He’s just a machine — and a really lovely guy.”
Yes, these words are a compliment and they could not be more accurate when describing Sprout team member, Jonathan Good. The more we learn about him, the more we are excited about the dynamic experience he brings to both our team, and as an advisor to our Accelerator cohorts.
Jonathan has brought his passion for agritech to life in global agribusinesses over the last 10 years. Most recently he was the CTO & COO at Turners & Growers (T&G) Global (NZE:TGG), a $1B fresh produce marketing and distribution business.
Previous to T&G, Jonathan was the Group Manager of Fonterra, the largest dairy exporter in the world, where he headed up their $400M retail business.
Jonathan also co-founded the Y-Combinator backed, 1000memories which successfully raised capital from one of Silicon Valley’s premier venture capital funds, Greylock Partners (also investors in Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox). 1000memories was acquired by Ancestry.com.
Jonathan, you have quite the entrepreneurial history. How did it all begin and land you back in New Zealand?
I started my own business in 2010 in the USA. My two co-founders and I grew 1000memories from an idea, through 3 rounds of capital to a service used by millions of people. We were fortunate to work with great people, including Y-Combinator, Greylock and more. Our strong growth and engagement led to an acquisition by Ancestry.com and I moved back to New Zealand to pursue a focus as a "intrepreneur" first at Fonterra and then as CTO/COO for New Zealand's largest horticultural grower, T&G Global.
So if you had to describe your personality in five words, what would you use?
Passionate, activating, curious, enthusiastic, adventurous.
What is your involvement in the Agritech/food industry?
I've always been passionate about food....and agriculture. My grandparents were dairy farmers and at school (in Auckland) I studied agriculture for a year. I have spent the past 7 years working in agritech.
At Fonterra I first focused on the consumer and food service strategy and delivery, then led the transformation of RD1 to Fonterra Farm Source, including new design, technology and experiences.
At T&G Global I led our engagement with Abundant Robotics, trialing the world's first automated apple harvester, developed our online wholesale markets, orchard software and research programme.
Would you please give us your view on the current Agritech landscape?
It's an incredibly exciting time in agritech with more consumers, becoming more demanding and the technology that can change the way our food system works. Consumer expectations are increasing - people want food that is better for them and better for the world - this includes everything from personalisation to making sure that food production is a sustainable part of our broader environment.
At the same time technology can transform the way we grow food, the amount we grow and the environmental impact of it - with robotics and AI enabling precision and prescription. The opportunity exists to use this to build and transform businesses and help farmers and customers take advantage of these changes to deliver better products consumers love.
What energises you about being an advisor for the Sprout cohort?
I love working with entrepreneurs - their passion, boldness and willingness to try new things gives me energy. It's also great to be a part of the Sprout team as a collection of founders helping grow the next generation of agritech businesses.
You recently returned from the States where you were able to meet with our current international cohort members. Tell us a little about it:
I traveled to the East Coast of the US, to New Haven and Boston.
At New Haven I spent time with Symbrosia. I was able to work with the team and see their seaweed and shrimp growing system prototype. In Boston I was with Xibus who are working on a faster food pathogen detection system. This was a great chance for me to see the teams working in their lab environments and also to spend some time with them on their business.
While I was there I also met with a range of Universities (Yale, MIT), VCs, startups and other entrepreneurs. This was a great chance to see how the ecosystem works on the East Coast - there is a lot of focus and interest on Agtech and Foodtech and some great university and VC links but it was also a reminder how special Sprout is.
Our agtech focus and partner model were distinctive - the ability for startups to get expert industry know-how, validation and access to growers is something quite special about Sprout.