Fighting poverty through the creation of large scale, for-profit businesses in developing markets. Moving closer each day towards our founding-goal to create one billion dollars of total value across our portfolio of companies by 2025, for the benefit of the communities we work in and for our investors.

Who We Are

At Verdant Frontiers, we are passionate about creating sustainable, profitable business in places where we can be a force for good. We open new markets, tear down barriers, and lay down a path of prosperity and success for all of those who we come in contact with, or who invest in our companies. We are a for-profit venture conglomerate, a group made up of companies that we have founded, funded and grown. Since 2013, we have started seven ventures and have subsequently sold two, liquidated one and continue to build the other five for high-growth and strong investor returns. Our aim for every project we take on is that each company exists to be the catalyst for an industrial and agricultural revolution in every market where we work.

Investment Opportunities

Verdant Frontiers offers investors project-specific opportunities to invest in start-up and growth stage businesses led by proven management teams with massive scale potential.

We invest our own capital in each project, offer preferred returns to investors and believe that in order to do long-term good in the markets where we work, each business must be highly-profitable, highly-scalable and a good neighbor to its community. The funding needs vary for each deal, and range from $1M to $30M in capital depending on the opportunity and stage of growth, with a targeted investor return of a 30% IRR or higher.

About Ethiopia

Home to many of our companies, Ethiopia is a vibrant emerging market. With a population of more than 90 Million and an economy that frequently ranks among the fastest growing in the world, Ethiopia is ripe for investment, and has proven time and time again to be a market that is already well on its way to building an industrial revolution, the likes of which Africa has never seen before.

In recent years, the pace at which Ethiopia is developing has increased, massive infrastructure projects are being undertaken, where there were once dirt pathways now brand new freeways and train lines stand. Markets are maturing; in 2011 EXC was launched as the country’s first commodities exchange market, providing stabilities in pricing, and access to global markets for local farmers. The local banking system has seen massive development in many areas, including commercial and consumer lending products coming to market. The next step in Ethiopia’s development is job creation on a large scale, an effort that is already well under way. Global investors can now be seen funding projects in all corners of Ethiopia, utilizing the affordable labor and recently constructed infrastructure to build industry in an unprecedented scale in Africa. A transformation is happening. Once a country held together by the efforts of NGO’s and Non-Profit organizations, Ethiopia is now benefiting from the talents of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders to define the economic future of a vast generation of newly middle-class income earners. Not only are great profits being made, but this new era is benefiting the citizens, workforce and everyday people in ways they have never been able to experience before. Verdant Frontiers exists to make lives better by stimulating an industrial and agricultural revolution in Ethiopia, for both the people and our investors. Verdant Frontiers business ventures in Ethiopia make up the largest American owned business conglomerate in the country.

Portfolio Companies

Verde Beef Processing

We founded Verde Beef feedlot and processing company in 2014. This venture is located in Adami Tulu, Ethiopia and is led by a veteran team of entrepreneurs and managers. Since establishing the business, it has grown to a 1,300-hectare (3200 acres) project with capacity for more than 9000 head of cattle and rapid growth towards our goal to produce over 130,000 head of cattle every year, and to generate annual revenues over $155M USD.

Verdant Ventures

Founded by Verdant Frontiers in 2015, Verdant Ventures is an emerging markets real estate development and management company with a special emphasis on Diplomatic and Consular level real estate projects. Collectively, the Verdant Ventures team has $5 billion in real estate development experience and significant construction experience in Sub Saharan Africa.

Verdant Homes

Started as a counterbalance for all of the international projects that Verdant Frontiers has built, and as a way to channel our passions for creating thriving communities and places where families enjoy life to its fullest, Verdant Homes creates new communities as a land developer and home builder. Currently the company is building communities in Austin and the surrounding areas, and is on track to be among the top 25 largest homebuilders in the region by 2017.

Kizo Lodge

We conceived and established this property as a mid-level hotel and restaurant targeted towards the thriving eco-tourism segment of those who come to visit the Kara, Hammar and Benna tribes surrounding the town of Turmi, Ethiopia where the lodge is located. Opened in Summer of 2016, the lodge quickly earned a reputation for its high level of service and excellence in all aspects of hospitality.

International Hospital Kampala

In partnership with IHK, in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, Verdant Frontiers invested in the construction of a medical imaging and radiology center. The center is open 365 days a year and provides high quality medical imaging and diagnostic services for 5000-7000 patients per year.

 

New Projects

Verdant Frontiers is always researching new business opportunities in many regions of the world. With a keen eye towards progress for all, regardless of where they happen to live on the earth, we are excited about what we can create with our time, energy and passion for helping people and our investors. Each business must present a clear path to scale and profitability, while combining solid investor returns and positive social impact for the communities where we work.

The Team

  • Scott is a serial entrepreneur who has started, grown & sold companies since 1998. He has helped to orchestrate the sale of four of these start-ups in technology and media. Having led operations, sales & technology teams, he has a track record of producing consistent growth and profitability.

    Scott Friesen
    Co-Founder & CEO
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Levi Benkert is passionate about building, funding, and advancing sustainable, efficient companies in the developing world. He has 6+ years of on-the-ground Ethiopia operations experience, 10+ years of real estate development and construction experience and is founder/CEO of three residential real estate development firms.

    Levi Benkert
    Co-Founder & President
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Alan has more than a decade of experience working in the Middle East He is an expert in strategic planning and implementation, creative leadership, sales and marketing, business development, and contract negotiation.

    Alan Morrell
    Business Development
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Emily has spent much of her career in IT, database and executive administration.  She holds both a BS and MS in Mathematics. Her motivation, focus and passion for service enables her to bring unique dedication to her role.

    Emily Mihailoff
    Administrative Assistant
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Russ is a natural leader with practical experience in a diverse range of business management applications, including operations, sales and marketing, team-building and human resources.  He is co-founder of Aspen Heights, a multifaceted real estate development company.

    Russ Murphy
    Partner
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Arnold is an experienced commercial farm manager who has managed pig, dairy & beef cattle farms in both Canada and Ethiopia. He has a strong pioneering spirit evidenced in his establishment of a flourishing dairy farm in Ethiopia.

    Arnold Krul
    General Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Martha is a Management graduate and has experience as an HR Manager for NGO’s. She is originally from the Oromia region in Ethiopia and is a fluent speaker of Afan Oromo and Amharic languages.

    Martha Tolessa
    Human Resource & Administration Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Sherri has 15+ years of experience as a Controller/CFO. Her background includes founding, scaling profitably, and selling businesses. She is a talented financial and operations leader who is able to successfully manage all aspects of an organization.

    Sherri Holland
    Controller
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Ermias was born in Addis Ababa and graduated from the University of Gondar with a degree in Accounting & Finance. He joined Verde Beef in July as an Accountant.

    Ermias Mellese
    Accountant
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Alemu has 17 years of experience as a Mechanic and Purchaser for NGO’s. He has been working with Verde Beef for over 3 years.

    Alemu Koreme
    Driver
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Daniel has degrees in Accounting and International Political Science.  He has several years of experience in finance with international and local companies.  He currently assists with fundraising from local banks and setting up financial and internal control systems.

    Daniel Takele
    Finance & Office Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Ingrid is a business development and logistics expert with experience in Ethiopia and across Europe in meat processing and sales. She brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to the team. 

    Ingrid van Ginkel
    Head of Sales
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Betelehem has a law degree from Addis Ababa University and has worked extensively in legal matters involving Human Resource Management, Labor Cases and Court Cases. She is currently representing Verde Beef in various legal matters.

    Betelehem Melka
    Attorney
    Verde Beef

  • Elias holds Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and MSc in Veterinary Public Health degrees from AAU, Ethiopia. He has managed livestock farms and been a lecturer for several years. Having led many development projects, he is passionate about the Ethiopian beef industry.

    Elias Gezahegn
    Public Relations/Protocol
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Rahel studied Economics at AAU and has 11 years of experience in managing the import and export of agricultural and leather products.

    Rahel Adane
    Import Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Yidnekachew studied Automotive Technology and has 6 years of experience as an Export Lison Officer.

    Yidnekachew Alemayehu
    Lisen Officer
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Genet holds a degree in Management Information Systems. She has experience in General Service, as an Administration Manager, and a Tour Operator Assistant.

    Genet Solomon
    PA & Sales Administrator
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Alemnew graduated from Bahir Dar University with a BA in Accounting & Finance (major) and Management (minor). He is now the Assistant Finance Manager for Verde Beef.

    Alemnew Anawte
    Assistant of Finance Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Kent has more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and single family home development. Prior to forming Verdant Homes, Kent spent 20+ years with D.R. Horton, one of the nation’s most prominent single family home builders.

    Kent Zarbock
    President
    Verdant Homes

  • Axel joined Verde Beef from PwC UK where he worked on a range of assurance and advisory projects. He is a qualified chartered accountant and holds a master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from Cass Business School.

    Axel Gustafsson
    CFO
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Tewedaj graduated top of her class at Unity University in Addis Ababa with a degree in Business and Marketing. She has held positions at one of the largest import companies in Ethiopia as an administrator and research director.

    Tewedaj Missale
    Researcher
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Hlina has 13 years of experience in driving for other entities. He has enjoyed working with Verde Beef for the past 2 years.

    Hlina Korome
    Driver
    Verde Beef

  • Shannen is currently finishing her degree in English at the University of Texas in Austin.  She is a talented writer with exceptional time management and organizational skills.  She enjoys multi-tasking – the busier the better!

    Shannen McCahey
    Administrative Assistant
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Sarah is a Chartered Management Accountant who holds Master’s degrees in Development Management and International Studies. She has a strong understanding of the political and social context in Ethiopia and is experienced in raising debt, equity and grant financing.

    Sarah Jackson
    Financial Analyst
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Kiya is the in-house legal counsel for our Addis Ababa office. Kiya is passionate about Ethiopian business and has a keen eye towards putting deals together and creating value for businesses within the legal system.

    Kiya Tsegaye
    Legal Counsel
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Peter John is a South African national with extensive experience as an Abattoir Manager for several different companies in Cyprus, Bulgaria, Israel and South Africa.  Prior to that, he served as a Meat Inspector and Environment Health Officer. 

    Peter John Scholtz
    Abattoir Manager
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Sam is a partner in Weatherford Partners, a firm with roots in Florida and a strong global network that partners with owners and management teams of high integrity to build businesses through capital and strategic advisory services.

    Sam Weatherford
    Senior Advisor
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Keith is a visionary leader with $4+ billion in career transaction experience in the AEC and real estate development industries. He holds an exemplary list of achievements and is the former Head of Design and Construction at Tishman Speyer Africa.

    Keith Veir
    Managing Director
    Verdant Frontiers

  • Eniyat studied Business Education and has 8 years experience exporting agricultural products to different countries. She carries the current responsibility of export documentation and logistics.

    Eniyat Geremew
    Head of Export
    Verde Beef Processing

  • Ronnie has served in the construction industry in different capacities – from build management to purchasing management. A graduate of UT, he thrives on the personal gratification that comes from giving 100% to every task.

    Ronnie Winner
    Purchasing & Construction Manager
    Verdant Homes

Scott Friesen

Managing Partner

Scott Friesen is a serial entrepreneur who has started, grown & sold companies since 1998. Over the past 15 years, he’s helped to orchestrate the sale of three of these start-ups in technology and media.

Sam Weatherford

Senior Advisor

Sam is a Partner of Weatherford Partners, a firm with deep roots in Florida and a strong global network that partners with owners and management teams of high integrity to build great businesses through the provision of capital and strategic business advisory services.

Levi Benkert

Managing Partner

Levi Benkert is passionate about building, funding, and advancing, sustainable companies in the developing world. Since 2000 he has founded and sold businesses in various industries around the globe, with a drive towards sustainability and efficiency

Kiya Tsegaye

Legal Counsel

Kiya is Verdant Frontiers’ in-house legal counsel for our Addis Ababa office. Kiya is passionate about Ethiopian business and has a keen eye towards putting deals together, and creating value for businesses within the legal system. Staffed full-time on the Verde Beef project

Russ Murphy

CEO
Verdant Ventures – International Real Estate Development

10+ years experience in real estate development; built 4,000+ units valued at over $1 billion; co-founder of Aspen Heights, a multifaceted real estate development company with annual revenues above $500m.

Tewedaj Missale

Researcher

Tewedaj works with Verdant Frontiers as a research analyst. She graduated top of her class at Unity University in Addis Ababa with a degree in Business and Marketing, and then held a position at one of the largest import companies in Ethiopia as an administrator then later as research director. Staffed full-time on the Verde Beef project

Contacting Verdant

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  • admin@verdantfrontiers.com

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