Kirchner Food Fellowship Announces Investment in Innovative Soil Health Company

Solena is a Mexican based biotech company developing customized soil solutions

Leon, Guanajuato and Birmingham, Alabama, September 6, 2018 – The Kirchner Food Fellowship is pleased to announce today that it has completed an investment in, Grupo Solena S.A.P.I. de C.V. Solena has developed a methodology that allows farmers to asses and manage their soil microbiome, which helps to increase yields, prevent disease and improve overall soil health.

Solena started in 2015 as a university project, where the founding partners were studying Biotech Engineering at the National Polytechnic Institute in Silao, Guanajuato. Today the innovative and profitable company supports more than 2,000 farmers across Mexico.

The company measures, appraises, and improves farmers’ biological capital, helping facilitate farmers’ decision-making and providing them with the tools to achieve a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to modern agriculture.

“For us, it was important to find a profitable company that was helping smallholder farmers in Mexico, but with potential for international expansion,” added Adrian Garcia-Casarrubias, 2017-2018 Kirchner Food Fellow. “Our extensive diligence deliberation reflected the Kirchner Food Fellowship’s internal commitment to proceeding with the highest standards, and simultaneously speaks to the social, agricultural, and economic impact we anticipate Solena will have.”

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the Kirchner Food Fellowship and Kirchner Group, mentioned Irving Rivera, CEO and Co-Founder of Solena. “We are confident that by harnessing their extensive operational, advisory and transactional expertise in the agriculture field, we will be able to grow our company and enhance our impact.”

“The investment further strengthens the Kirchner Food Fellowship’s international expansion and dedication to scaling the program in Mexico,” added Blair Kirchner, Director of the Kirchner Food Fellowship. “Solena was selected by the Fellows out of several hundred global companies evaluated. This volume of deal flow is consistently generated annually by harnessing the power of millennials and has allowed us to validate our model of developing low cost, high impact and efficient investment teams to allocate strategic capital.”

In addition to Solena, the fellowships lean, impact investment program has invested in innovative businesses such as: Lucky Iron Fish, a safe, cost-effective, easy-to-use alternative to iron supplement pills for those suffering from iron deficiency, Green Zebra Grocery, a socially-responsible convenience store chain, focused on healthy and local options for customers, Reach Providors, a software company that uses SMS messages to address supply chain management deficiencies between small producers and large retailers, Kuli Kuli Foods, a consumer packaged-goods company selling healthy food products made with moringa, sourced primarily from smallholder farmers in Africa and Central America, as well as Tomato Jos, a vertically-integrated agricultural company from Nigeria that works with smallholder farmers to grow and process high-quality tomatoes into tomato paste.

Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship, a Kirchner Impact Foundation initiative, is a unique and innovative, impact investment program that harnesses the power of millennials to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible agricultural businesses. The program provides capital and unprecedented hands-on training in capital allocation for university students. The Fellowship applies a problem-based learning and solutions approach with the goal of enhancing capital efficiency, lessening deployment costs, shortening time frames and increasing the likelihood of investment success.

Steve Dauphin
Director | Kirchner Food Fellowship

Grupo Solena
Grupo Solena is a biotechnology research company that seeks to increase and monetize the biological capital (microorganisms) of agricultural soils and ecosystems through the materialization of science. The purpose is to contribute to achieve harmony between agriculture and nature. Grupo Solena achieves its mission through a proprietary methodology where it measures, values and finally monetizes the agricultural ecosystem thus helping to empower farmers increasing the fertility conditions of their soil in order to reduce their need to use agrochemicals.

Irving Rivera
Co-founder | Grupo Solena

Kirchner Group
Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique advisory firm and today operates various subsidiaries, providing advisory services (M&A, assessments, diligence) and operational support (interim management, workouts, turnarounds) as well as asset management (dedicated, underperforming funds) – all leveraging a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise.

Throughout the decades Kirchner Group has been internationally recognized for its unique business model centered around creating value while promoting values – “earning while returning”. The firm has also established a reputation for building and rebuilding important business and social paradigms based on its deep entrepreneurial orientation.

Kirchner Group’s clients and partners include early stage to mid-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms as well as family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors.

Blair Kirchner
Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities | Kirchner Group