Meet the Farm Raiser Team

  • Mark Abbott

    Founder & CEO

    Mark shares a passion for farms, food and community service with his wife and two school-aged kids. As a founding team member of AmeriCorps and a past chief-of-staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service, Mark has a deep understanding of the country’s service and volunteer infrastructure. A nationally recognized expert in service-learning, an experienced grantmaking executive, and an entrepreneur with start-up experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors, Mark serves as CEO for FarmRaiser.

  • Shariff Elsheikh

    Co-Founder, VP Operations

    Shariff brings FarmRaiser 25 years of executive software development and marketing experience to the team. He has helped brand, launch and drive success in a worldwide portfolio of companies. With a deep understanding of how financial performance is driven by smart software / web development, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media, Shariff leads our development team, our data analytics and back office systems and oversees all revenue generating areas of the FarmRaiser model.

  • Lauren Smith

    Chief Cultivator

    Lauren comes to FarmRaiser with a background in experiential education, curriculum and program design, and community engagement. A teach For America alumna, she has a Masters in gender research from University of Florida. As a campaign cultivator with FarmRaiser, she will be working with local communities and causes to support FarmRaiser campaigns, and make the world a healthier, tastier place.

  • Lois Clarke

    Business Manager - Data Analyitics

  • Mariana laFianza



  • Dr. Bobby Mukkamala

    Founding Investor/Advisor

    Dr. Bobby Mukkamala is the founding investor in FarmRaiser. He is a board-certified Otolaryngologist in Flint, Michigan. A prominent civic leader, he is past president of the Genesee County Medical Society and serves on the board of directors of the Crim Fitness Foundation, an organization whose mission it is to cultivate physical fitness as a community and family value. Dr. Mukkamala advises FarmRaiser on its community partnerships and health and nutrition curriculum.

  • Jim Epstein


    Jim Epstein is Founder and Chairman of EFO Capital Management and Co-Founder and Chairman of Blue Ridge Local, a fresh food aggregator working with small- and medium-sized farms in Virginia. A longtime member of Social Venture Partners, and passionate advocate for impact investing, Jim is a FarmRaiser investor, advisor and strategic partner.

  • Michael Robbins


    Michael Robbins is the founder of Span Learning, a national initiative that advances student engagement and learning through education partnerships and technology. He has more than two decades of experience as a cross-sector leader and social entrepreneur working in education and youth development. He served most recently as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, leading a signature initiative for the White House on community partnerships to propel school improvement.

  • Ceasar Layton


    Caesar Layton is the founder of Cultivate Ventures, a boutique venture firm built to catalyze promising social impact-focused startups. For the past three years, Caesar played leading roles in two exciting sustainably focused online grocers. Previously, Mr. Layton spent more than twelve years as a senior development economist with international consulting firms DAI and Counterpart International. His work focused on sustainable agriculture and global social impact investment.

  • Ray Grochowski

    Outside Director/Advisor

    Ray Grochowski is Vice President and General Counsel for Dynamic Precision Group. A retired corporate partner with Latham & Watkins LLP, where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, Ray serves as outside board member and advisor for FarmRaiser, providing guidance on regulatory and licensing, corporate governance, and liability issues. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and the College of William and Mary. Before attending law school, he served for eight years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and then worked for several years in the defense industry in the Washington, DC area.

Technology Team

  • Ahmed Abousafy

    Project Manager

    Ahmed is our Senior Project Manager overseeing the Web Production team. He has 3+ years experience as a web developer and 2+ years as a web master. He has acquired years of experience in project management throughout his work in the IT domain in Egypt and Germany.

  • Islam Abdelraouf

    Mobile Team Lead

    Islam has a Masters in computer engineering and has been working on mobile application development since early 2011. Islam specializes in iOS development has has worked across many platforms including Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone CF.

  • Mohamed Hisham

    Rails Developer

  • Ahmed El-Alfy

    Frontend Developer

    Ahmad is reponsible for making the website work smoothly on every browser and device.

  • Jihan Adel

    Backend Developer