In episode 29 of the Investing in Impact podcast, we speak with Dan Miller, Founder and CEO of Steward on creating an innovative online lending platform that helps fund the growth of regenerative agriculture for the next generation of regenerative farmers.
Dan Miller is the Founder and CEO of Steward, a private lender providing regenerative farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and producers the capital they need to expand and sustain their businesses. And through our innovative online platform, qualified lenders have the opportunity to join in our mission and help fund the growth of regenerative agriculture by purchasing loan participations. It’s really 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 early mornings spent crabbing with his father on the Chesapeake Bay.
This was the experience that rooted him to the land, but it was a meeting with a well-known chef in Dan’s hometown, Washington D.C., that would plant the idea of Steward in his mind. This chef spoke of the difficulties facing the independent farmers that supplied his restaurant: the more specialized the farms were, the harder it was to get a loan.
Dan felt that instead of forcing farmers to fit within a box, it should be the other way around. So he committed himself to creating a system that empowers each unique farmer to steward their land sustainably, with consumers—the people with the most to gain from sustainable farming—having the opportunity to join in their success.
After graduating from the Wharton School with a B.S. and M.B.A., Dan co-founded a pioneering investment crowdfunding business called Fundrise. In 2010, it was the first and largest real estate crowdfunding platform in the United States, and has since raised more than $500 million. It’s this experience, combined with a passion for agriculture, ecology, and local food that led Dan to launching Steward in 2017.
Steward is a private lender, working with regenerative farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and producers to provide the capital they need to expand and sustain their businesses. As their businesses grow and generate more revenue, they pay back their loan with interest.
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Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 700+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.