Benzi Ronen is bringing community back to the food system. After spending a decade working in the technology industry, Benzi took a step back and reflected on his personal history, steeped in the importance of community. He thought about how technology has tremendous power to bring communities together, and yet to date in the food industry, it has largely removed human connections entirely. He decided to focus his next, and most personal venture yet, on using technology to transform the suburban food system, which had become efficient, yet unsustainable and impersonal. Benzi is now founder and CEO of Farmigo, a company that makes local, farm-to-table food easily available, by bringing people together in neighborhoods across America.
Growing up, Benzi admired how his war hero grandfather had been a real pillar of his community – the guy everyone trusted and with whom everyone wanted to do business. His Israeli father had worked in the kibbutz system, building agricultural towns with his family and neighbors, and further instilled in Benzi the desire to put community at the center of everything he did. With food inextricably tied to his closest relationships – from years spent watering the citrus trees in his backyard, to meeting his wife over a brownie sundae, to the fresh Israeli salad that was part of every meal growing up and that Benzi now shares with his two kids – it’s easy to see how this tech guy wound up starting a business that uses the power of technology to bring communities together around food.
Benzi earned his BA at Tel-Aviv University and MBA at the University of Michigan, and spent more than a decade working with technology giants such as Microsoft, Netscape and SAP, and launching a successful entrepreneurial endeavor called Octago, largely using software to optimize user experiences.