“ReFED Profiles'' is a new series taking a peek behind the curtain to introduce you to the ReFED team members working on critical projects in support of our mission to cut food waste by advancing data-driven solutions. By illuminating the people behind some of our biggest initiatives, we hope to shine a light on the talented minds, community collaboration, and tremendous passion that goes into our work.
Senior Manager, Capital, Innovation, & Engagement
Alejandro joined ReFED in 2020 to build his career with an organization focused on addressing climate change after several years in different areas of the financial services sector. Like many people, he didn't realize the connection between the climate crisis and food waste, but when he came across ReFED, he could see right away that the organization’s mission aligned with his goals, and that he could use his previous experience to bolster ReFED’s work in food waste funding.
As a Senior Manager on the Capital, Innovation, & Engagement team at ReFED, Alejandro monitors and analyzes all of the investment that's happening in the space and develops tools and resources – including the Insights Engine Capital Tracker and the Capital & Innovation Market Update newsletter – to make that information accessible and actionable for both capital providers seeking to fund food waste solutions and solution providers looking for funders. His deep understanding of the food waste funding space comes from studying large amounts of investment data and synthesizing it into understandable insights.
“The basis of my work is being able to keep on top of what is going on in food waste but also what is emerging,” says Alejandro. “So I would bucket my activities as reading reports, reviewing and revising our investment data, and then speaking both to organizations that are doing amazing work and to potential funders that are interested in the space and want to learn more.”
Alejandro’s mission is simple, but not easy: increase funding for vetted and viable food waste solutions. To do so, he works to make crucial information available to private, public, and philanthropic funders. ReFED’s latest Insights Engine tool is the Capital Tracker, and it is the result of more than a year of work led by Alejandro. Launched in 2022, updates are continuously being made to make the tool as comprehensive as possible. The tool currently contains private funding data, and Alejandro is adding philanthropic funding this spring and is working to add public funding later this year. It is no small task, and it takes a sharp eye to sift through such a mountain of data.
Another resource that Alejandro uses to share his market insights is through the bi-monthly Market Update, a unique analysis of the latest happenings in food waste funding news – including new deals, expert analysis, and estimates based on data and trends. To stay on top of everything that goes on in the industry, Alejandro reviews his favorite sources, including ImpactAlpha, AgFunder News, and TechCrunch, and his unique perspective on the space has earned him a spot as a regular contributor to key publications.
“Knowing where funding is going allows me to research trends, identify funding gaps, and really dig into the work of organizations fighting food waste – this comes with a lot of reading through the web, conversations, and multiple drafts of my findings. Some of these thoughts end up – hopefully! – being coherent enough to create reports or blogs that are being used by future funders but also informing companies on the activity going on,” explains Alejandro with a chuckle.
Seeing its growth first hand, Alejandro is optimistic about the future of the food waste movement – and ReFED as an organization. While he acknowledges there is a need for more funding to drive innovation, he is also convinced it is time to see more adoption of existing solutions.
“ReFED is serving as the data hub, and increasingly the work now needs to shift to sparking action from the knowledge we consolidate and provide,” he says. “Although the challenge is difficult, it is heartening that there are companies and people everyday pushing forward. We are at a point in the space where the solutions are there, and now we need to move into the adoption phase.”