Our Entrepreneurs

Verdant Frontiers

Scott Friesen & Levi Benkert

Scott Friesen is a serial entrepreneur who has started, grown, and sold companies since 1998. He has helped to orchestrate the sale of three of U.S.-based businesses in technology, media, and online advertising. He’s led sales, operations, and technology teams and has a track record of producing consistent growth and profitability. More recently, he co-founded Verdant Frontiers and has started five companies in Ethiopia with the goal of creating an industrial revolution in the country. Scott is the proud co-founder of a family of three children who live together in Austin.

Levi Benkert is passionate about building, funding, and advancing sustainable companies in the developing world. Since 2000, he has founded businesses in various industries in the U.S. and Ethiopia, including a real estate development company, a chain of coffee shops, and ventures in agriculture, construction, and tourism. With a drive toward sustainability and efficiency, Levi is an entrepreneur who excels at finding and developing opportunity in any environment. Levi and his wife have four children and live in Austin. Together they founded Bring Love In, a nonprofit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that pairs widows and orphans to create new families.

From Scott Friesen & Levi Benkert and Verdant Frontiers

2016 Business Accelerator Finale:

Verdant Frontiers was founded in 2013 by two life-long entrepreneurs with the vision of achieving a compelling financial return by creating high-growth, world-class businesses in Ethiopia to help create flourishing markets in this impoverished country.  In the past three years we’ve started and funded five companies and have subsequently sold two, liquidated one and continue to build the other two for high-growth and strong investor returns.  Our vision is to help catalyze an industrial and agricultural revolution in Ethiopia, building upon recent infrastructure development and a decade of double-digit growth in the country’s GDP.   

Verdant Frontiers provides investors with project-specific opportunities to invest in start-up and early stage businesses led by proven international 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 Ethiopia we must establish highly-profitable and highly-scalable companies which are good neighbors in their community. The funding terms vary for each deal and range from $1M to $10M in capital depending on the opportunity and stage of growth. 

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