26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Harrie Vollaard, head, Rabo Frontier Ventures

Harrie Vollaard has been leading Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV), the strategic investment subsidiary of Netherlands-based financial services firm Rabobank, since the beginning of 2017.

To date, RFV has 23 portfolio companies and three divestments including mobile platform MyOrder which was purchased by payment service Easy2pay in mid-2018. The vehicle targets four main areas: financial well-being, platform banking, emerging technologies and the cross-over between FinTech and AgTech.

Wiebe Draijer, chief executive of Rabobank, said: “As a bank, we have to renew ourselves continuously in order to solve the clients’ needs of tomorrow and the social challenges we are facing.

“Corporate venturing creates new opportunities for the future of the bank and is an important instrument to reach out to the game changers in the market. Especially the ones in the food and agri market have a special interest to us.”

In February 2019, Rabobank provided an additional €80m ($90m) of funding for RFV. The fund now has €150m under management and the added capital is used to identify new opportunities in locations such as San Francisco, Singapore and Tel Aviv.

The unit has set aside €120m to invest in early to growth-stage software startups in financial and agricultural technology spheres, while €30m will be used for its fund-of-funds tactics worldwide.

Vollaard said: “We extended our mandate with a fund-of-funds strategy in order to access geographies where we have limited presence and to accelerate our deal flow with high-quality leads.

“We are currently deploying our funding reserved for the fund-of-funds investments. We looked at 300 funds globally. We were able to close three fund investments so far, with another one in closing status and three others in the pipeline for this year.”

RFV made limited partner (LP) commitments in funds run by VC firms Speedinvest, Northzone and Valar.

Vollaard added: “We extended our mandate to include the agtech sector, [in addition to the existing fintech sector]. Rabobank is a global leader in the food and agri space. Our unique selling point as a corporate venturing fund is the cross-over between agtech and fintech. We were able to close three deals in this space so far.”

RFV’s agtech and fintech-focused portfolio includes agricultural finance and technology provider ProducePay, smart farming input supplier AgroStar and agriculture data hub JoinData. The unit aims to conduct eight direct and indirect deals by the end of 2020.

Vollaard added that the RFV team also strives to set up an investment framework for Rabobank’s management board in a bid to make an informed decision when to partner, invest and acquire. He also wants to add an alliance team that sits in Rabobank whose primary task will be to help portfolio companies to secure the assets of the bank.

After finishing his master’s in biochemistry from Radboud University, Vollaard started as a lab technician at University of Arizona before switching to the IT industry and eventually forming and running the innovation department in the Rabobank. He said: “I was able to set up several ventures, establish many partnerships and build out a venture building program which led to several spinoffs.”

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF