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Altitude Ventures taps Deshpande, eyes Fund III-driven portfolio expansion
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Amol Deshpande

NASHVILLE-based Altitude Ventures today announced its appointment of Amol Deshpande as a strategic limited partner and senior advisor to the firm and affirmed its expectations that its $100MM-target Fund III, the launch of which VNC reported in March 2022, will fuel expansion of Altitude's investment portfolio.

Deshpande, who was already an LP in Altitude's Fund III, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Altitude team previously worked closely with Deshpande for about five years, in the course of a portfolio investment in which both had participated.

Landon Gibbs

In a release issued this morning, Altitude Managing Partner Landon Gibbs, 41, said of Deshpande, "Through our work together, we have seen firsthand how his leadership, experience, and deep expertise in the venture capital and neurodiversity space have improved the lives of so many in need. Amol leads by example, and we are grateful for his confidence, time, and commitment to work alongside us."

In the same release, Deshpande said, "After working closely with Altitude, formalizing my relationship with the firm just made sense. As a Strategic Limited Partner and Senior Advisor, I'll be able to bring my two decades of investment and management experience to support and advise their entire portfolio. Altitude understands how to add value beyond capital. This is a good fit," he added.

Jay Zeidman

Also this morning, Jay Zeidman, who is Altitude's Houston-based managing partner, said of Deshpande, "He is someone we have learned quite a lot from in the past few years, and have seen the impact his experience and advice has had on our investment partners. We are thrilled to have his expertise on a consistent basis, and look forward to doing more together as Altitude expands its portfolio with our latest fund [Fund III]."

As VNC reported in Q1 2022, Altitude's initial filing on Fund III progress showed it had to that point recruited at least $48.4MM.

Deshpande is an active healthtech entrepreneur and personally invests through his Divergent Investments, a family office that emphasizes investments related to neurodiversity, family health, early childhood development, education and edtech.

VNC found that, at times, Deshpande has described Divergent Investments' mission as "helping empower those who think differently."

Deshpande's prior experience includes a partnership at Kleiner Perkins, for which, among other duties, he led an early private investment in Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat later became the first plant-based meat-alternative company to IPO, as Nasdaq:BYND.

Despande was also previously co-founder and CEO of Farmers Business Network (FBN), a farmer-to-farmer data management and insights-sharing platform, with emphasis on serving family farms.

According to AgWeb, he stepped away from FBN on Feb. 28. At about that time, Deshpande posted his thoughts regarding his options for his next undertaking on LinkedIn here. His LinkedIn profile is here.

Charles Baron, Despande's FBN co-founder and CMO, offered a tribute to Deshpande via LinkedIn, which reads, in part:

[Deshpande was] the nuclear reactor inside FBN, building and propelling our teams, incisively challenging conventional wisdoms, utterly unflinching and fearlessly ready to step into the unknown, and being a tremendous leader and mentor to us all. Taking on a massive, entrenched industry like ag is not for the timid and the job of startup CEO is unimaginably difficult.

Altitude Ventures (fka Rolling Hills Ventures) is among the offspring of the family office long known as Clayton Associates, which was formed by former HCA Chairman and CEO Clayton McWhorter, since deceased, and his son, Stuart McWhorter, who is currently commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development for the Administration of Gov. Bill Lee.

Altitude's current portfolio listing is here. See our previous coverage of Fund III here. For VNC's previous Altitude Ventures coverage, click here. Index Landon Gibbs coverage here. Today's Altitude press release is here.

. last edited 0800 30 November 2023

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Tags: agtech, Altitude Ventures, Amol Deshpande, Beyond Meat, Charles Baron, Divergent Investments, Farmers Business Network, healthcare, healthtech, Jay Zeidman, Kleiner Perkins, Landon Gibbs, Rolling Hills Ventures

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