Grounded’s origin story, partnerships and philosophy

Grounded Investment Company is open for mission-driven investors who want to make a tangible impact

We are very proud to announce that we have launched the Grounded Investment Company (GIC) – a highly specialized permanent investment company, committed to improving and developing the agricultural sector in Africa. This vehicle will allow us to rapidly scale our impact.

By Thekla Teunis

20 January 2023

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We are currently open for a second round of investments and aim to close the EUR4 million round in June 2023. In its first round, the GIC raised EUR1 million and made its first investment in Tanzania in 2021; it is preparing a second investment in East Africa this year.

The GIC invests in agricultural entrepreneurs in East Africa, with a focus on processing companies for non-perishable high-value crops such as tea, spices and herbs. We invest primarily in equity. Especially in the early years of engagement, we take a very hands-on approach to help solidify our impact; to this end, we typically provide a management board member to the executive team. 

“Never underestimate the power of ‘getting the basics right’. This is a vital first step before you can move away from an ad hoc business model with low margins, to one that gets rewarded for quality and impact.” –Eric Fishel, Company manager – Trianon spices (Tanzania)

Our focus on and deep expertise in regenerative agriculture is unique. We assist farmers in their transition towards regenerative agriculture; we get organic (or other relevant) certifications in place; and we assist with premium market access. We manage for impact, and reward farmers financially for quality, as well as regenerative farming practices.

“Only a third of the transition towards regenerative agriculture happens on the land. A transition changes everything – and requires a business turnaround.” –Gijs Boers, co-founder of Grounded

The GIC is run by Grounded and its highly experienced team. Since 2013, Grounded has built three agri-businesses from scratch in Zambia and South Africa – in some of the most challenging and remote environments. This work has equipped the team with profound operational and entrepreneurial experience.

Globally there is a rapid increase in demand for regeneratively produced ingredients, while reliable supply is lacking. This is where the GIC investees will have a unique competitive advantage. Through Grounded Ingredients, also part of the Grounded group of companies, access to a premium market is generated.

The GIC provides investors with a unique opportunity to access an underinvested asset class, while generating a long-lasting impact on the environment, farmers and their communities. Our strong focus and experience in regenerative agriculture – which we believe is vital to making agriculture a sustainable driver of economic growth on the continent in the long run – is what makes the GIC stand out.

The target return for the fund is between 4 and 8% IRR over 10 years. The fund is an evergreen facility, but we expect investors to be able to exit after 5-8 years. 

DOEN Participaties is considering an investment in the fund and is currently doing their due diligence. DOEN welcomes investors who are interested in joining this round to contact them for more information. Gijs Boers and Thekla Teunis, the founders of Grounded and the Grounded Investment Company, are also available to answer questions. 

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