In Episode 29 of the Investing in Impact podcast, we chat with Dan Miller, Founder and CEO of Steward about creating an innovative online lending platform that helps finance the growth of regenerative agriculture for the next generation of people. ‘regenerative farmers.
Dan Miller is the Founder and CEO of Steward, a private lender providing regenerative farmers, ranchers, fishermen and producers with the capital they need to grow and sustain their businesses. And through our innovative online platform, qualified lenders have the opportunity to join our mission and help finance the growth of regenerative agriculture by purchasing loan participations. It really is that simple.
Steward’s story begins with its founder and CEO, Dan Miller. Ask Dan what inspired him to create Steward, and he’ll tell you about the first mornings spent crabbing with his father in Chesapeake Bay.
It was the experience that rooted him in the earth, but it was meeting a well-known chef in Dan’s hometown of Washington DC that planted the idea of Steward in his mind. This chef spoke of the difficulties encountered by independent farmers who supplied his restaurant: the more specialized the farms, the more difficult it was to obtain a loan.
Dan felt that instead of forcing farmers to sign up for a box, it should be the other way around. So he pledged to create a system that allows every single farmer to manage their land sustainably, with consumers – the people with the most to gain from sustainable agriculture – having the opportunity to participate in their success.
After earning a BS and an MBA from Wharton School, Dan co-founded a pioneering crowdfunding investment company called Fundrise. In 2010, it was the first and largest real estate crowdfunding platform in the United States, and has since raised over $ 500 million. It was this experience, combined with a passion for agriculture, ecology and local food that led Dan to launch Steward in 2017.
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