Sara Batterby, co-founder of HiFi Farms and founder of the Equity Capital Collective, passed away unexpectedly earlier this week. She was 49 years old.
Batterby was born in Gloucestershire, UK, and began her career in management consulting with Accenture. She then moved to the United States to take up a position at American Express. Years later, Batterby moved to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley to work in the startup community. She worked for companies like iCiX and Good Citizen Brands and started her first company, Ethix Merchant Services.
After leaving Silicon Valley, Batterby moved to Portland, Oregon in 2014. There she worked with Elemeno Ventures and developed the first data-driven portfolio strategy for investments in various startup founders.
“I quickly realized that if we removed bias and used an evidence-based approach to capital allocation, we would automatically fund a much larger percentage of women and POC entrepreneurs than venture capital would normally get,” she said in 2018.
While in Oregon, she embarked on a journey that helped cement her place in the state’s corporate world and further her goals of serving underrepresented entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
Entry into the world of cannabis
Batterby joined the founding team of HiFi Farms in 2014 after moving to Oregon. The company is a Clean Green certified cannabis grower based on the principles of quality, community, craft and sustainability.
During her time as President and CEO, she managed to lead the company to a prominent position in the cannabis industry. She also spoke at several cannabis business events to strengthen the company’s brand identity as progressive and savvy. In addition, 2.8 million US dollars were raised within three months for one of the starting rounds.
In 2015, Batterby founded the Portland Chapter of Women Grow after realizing the number of opportunities for women in cannabis.
“One thing that is really important to me as I get into the cannabis industry is recognizing and realizing the opportunity to do it a little differently and level the playing field for women in this business,” she told HuffPost in 2015.
Coaching of different communities by EqCo
In 2017, she stepped down from her position at HiFi Farms to bring the Equity Capital Collective (EqCo) to life. EqCo was founded in 2018 and offers start-up founders advice and training in the early and growth phase. Batterby outlined the collective’s mission and philosophy in a 2019 interview with the Portland Business Journal.
“Our mission is to empower and empower entrepreneurs who are excluded from access to networks and resources, such as women, people of color and LGBTQIA communities. We insist on a fairer landscape of opportunities for a greater variety of founders. Through our systematic methodology, we impart critical skills and insights and at the same time remove the fundamental internal obstacles that are associated with a reduced experience of value and claim. “
From then on she continued to work with founders and entrepreneurs from these communities. She helps them acquire a range of skills through a comprehensive curriculum that she has created as well as through her capital master class.
In a statement, her family described Batterby’s heart as “beating harder for purpose and justice, centered on an anger at injustice”.
“They would always be fueled by injustice. The injustice of capital is unevenly distributed. The injustice of a legal system that criminalized cannabis. She used her brain to find ways to beat the system or change the system. She used her charisma to convince people to join her. And she did it through sheer perseverance, determination and stubbornness, ”added her family.
Click here to view Batterby’s obituary.