The top 50: Erin VanLanduit, head of corporate ventures, Cargill

Erin VanLanduit joined US-headquartered agribusiness Cargill as head of corporate ventures at the start of 2021, where she leads a newly-established corporate venture capital team.

In support of Cargill’s global innovation strategy, the corporate ventures team makes minority equity investments in early growth-stage companies to enable delivery of lasting strategic value. “We are interested in building long-term, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with start-ups in cutting edge or emerging technologies that, for instance, could open new market segments or disrupt the agrifood industry in the future,” says VanLanduit. The unit also plays an important role in knowledge sharing across the businesses, ultimately having accountability for delivering strategic value from Cargill’s venture portfolio.

The portfolio today includes over 20 investments on 5 continents, across FoodTech, AgTech, E-commerce, Sustainability and other verticals. Deep expertise in operational areas such as product development, supply chain, regulatory, channel management, and a vast network of global resources allow Cargill to offer significant value to portfolio companies beyond financial investment.

Among Cargill’s recent investments include participation in the $8m venture round for Brazilian digital commodities trading platform Grão Direto and the $100m series B raise for Wildtype, a cellular agriculture company. Other notable investments include AgTech software company Bushel, carbon MRV technology company ReGrow, and cultured meat companies Upside Foods and Aleph Farms.

Prior to joining Cargill, VanLanduit spent over a decade and a half in various operational, business development and corporate venture capital roles at CPG companies including Tyson Ventures, SC Johnson, McCain Foods, Kraft Foods and Terlato Wines International.

Preceding her corporate career, VanLanduit served six years as a field artillery officer in the US Army. She was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

VanLanduit holds a bachelor of science degree in American legal studies with a concentration in nuclear engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.