Sharon was mostly recently with Kaiima Agri-Biotech where she set-up and led their US operations. Sharon studied Agriculture and Biochemistry at the University of Missouri, Columbia. After a few years in academia, Sharon joined Monsanto, where she held positions in R&D, Regulatory Science & Affairs, Licensing and M&A, Specialty and New Crops, Field Operations and other crop-focused businesses. After leaving Monsanto, Sharon was an independent consultant and spent three years at a start-up, Chlorogen Inc. She subsequently held positions as Director of International Programs and Assistant Director of Technology Management at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Sharon then joined Dow AgroSciences to establish an Agronomic Traits pipeline and to lead out-licensing efforts related to the EXZACT™ Precision Technology (zinc fingers in plants). She was instrumental in developing Dow’s licensing function and led transactions across the business, including biotechnology traits, enabling technologies and crop protection. In last role, Sharon led the Venture Capital investment strategy and related deals for Dow AgroSciences.
Dan has over 25 years of experience in the life sciences and venture capital industry. Prior to joining BioGenerator in 2009, he was a Managing Director at Prolog Ventures in St. Louis. Prior to that Dan spent 7 years with Mason Wells Biomedical Fund as a Managing Director where he was responsible for all aspects of investment activities. While at Mason Wells, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of several portfolio companies including Gala Biotech, Mezzia, OpGen, Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals and ZyStor Therapeutics. Dan is actively involved in the venture capital community on a regional and national level. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and has testified before the US Congress on behalf of the NVCA. Dan received a Bachelor's in Biology from Iowa State University, and has completed some graduate course work in Finance, Accounting and Marketing at Winona State University.
Philippe is Managing Director of HighQuest Partners leading the Global Food & Agribusiness Practice at their St. Louis, Missouri office. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior leadership positions with global companies in the agro-industrial and value-added food chain as well as in private equity investing. Prior to joining High Quest Partners, Philippe was a Principal at Vanikoro Advisory LLC where he advised clients on their financial and global expansion strategies. Previously, as Director of Business Development for Bunge North America, Inc., he was responsible for the company’s efforts to expand its industrial operations into Mexico and the Caribbean Basin, biotech and e-commerce initiatives and public relations/corporate communications (before and after Bunge’s successful IPO in 2001). Philippe received an MBA from The Darden School of Business at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and a BA from Trinity College, in Hartford, CT.
Work closely with recipients of ARPA-E funding to prepare innovative energy technologies for transition from the lab to the market. Currently focused on the new Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program, which seeks to rapidly accelerate biomass yield gains through automated, predictive and systems-level approaches to biofuel crop breeding.
Kirk is the a Managine Partner at Radicle, an accelerator fund dedicated to growing early stage agricultural technology startups into proven industry leaders. Radicle offers a specialized platform to incubate high-quality AgTech companies that can solve global farming problems. Radicle focuses on the areas where growers face the greatest challenges to productivity, sustainability, and quality in food and agriculture. These include technology fields like genomics and plant sciences, seed tech, biologicals for crop protection and regulation, digital (application of data and predictive analytics to precision agriculture), and disruptive or novel farm systems.
Kirk has a successful track record developing sustainable, for-profit projects, and extensive experience in both established and start-up companies. As President of Green Millennium, Kirk raised over $100M in private equity and successfully built and scaled a sustainable forestry company from start-up to over 100 employees. Kirk has held senior and executive management positions for 3Com, ArrowPoint Communications, Cisco Systems and Green Millennium. He was instrumental in creating Cisco's global security sales strategy, resulting in Cisco surpassing $1B in security sales. Kirk holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and is fluent in Spanish and German.
Jacqueline is a Venture Partner in the Boston office. She has 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, executive management and venture investing in the food and agriculture sector.
Jacqueline’s career has centered around the support of innovation in the sector by identifying and commercializing new technology, both as an entrepreneur at start-ups like CiBO Technologies and Mendel Biotechnology, and as a leader of global R&D, strategic alliances and investor at Monsanto, Flagship and Two Blades Foundation. She was a Partner at Flagship and an Investment Director at Monsanto Growth Ventures, starting up the corporate venture arm of the world’s leading agritech firm. Jacqueline has served as an active Board member for her portfolio companies, and forged new open innovation structures for the industry by creating new companies like Nimbus Ceres Discovery and Preceres to develop novel Fungicide and RNA formulation assets using capital efficient, semi-virtual models.
Jacqueline’s work has resulted in more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and patents. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Keystone Symposia. Jacqueline has technical degrees in Biology and Biochemistry with a PhD from Boston College, Post-doc at Harvard MGH and a degree in management from Sloan at MIT.
Dr. Michael Helmstetter serves as Co-Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Technology Acceleration Partners (TechAccel LLC).
TechAccel is a first-of-its-kind private capital development company that invests in, acquires, and accelerates early-stage discoveries and technologies in agriculture, animal health, and food ingredient sectors. TechAccel targets higher risk innovatons in need of advancement capital coupled to scientific expertise. The innovations are advanced in collaboration with Global Strategics, Universities and/or emerging start-up companies.
Before founding TechAccel, Michael served as the fifth President and Chief Executive Officer of MRIGlobal – one of the nation's most prominent research institutions. Over his 14 years with MRIGlobal (formerly Midwest Research Institute), he was critical to the growth of MRIGlobal from 2 locations to 17 locations in 9 states, as well as several international locations. He was integral to the spin-off of several companies and played a leadership role in the company’s win of a $1 billion Department of Energy contract.
Prior to joining MRIGlobal, he held a series of laboratory management positions at Applied Marine Research Laboratory in Norfolk, Virginia, before becoming the Program Manager for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce, Florida. In 1993, Dr. Helmstetter served as President and Chairman of startup Brevard Teaching and Research Laboratories, a post he held until 1999 when MRIGlobal acquired BTR Labs and retained Dr. Helmstetter as Director of its Florida Division.
Michael has more than 30 years of experience working with both the private sector and government agencies. His start-up, spin-off and technology advancement expertise spans many sectors including agriculture, defense and biotechnology. His personal success in laboratory research and development covers biotechnology, toxicology, chemical instrumentation, sampling designs and complex data analysis.
Michael received a Ph.D. in Chemical Toxicology/Oceanography from Old Dominion University and a B.S. in Biology from Allegheny College. He has been a panelist, keynote speaker, lecturer, reviewer to several journals, and is the author of numerous publications, technical articles, book chapters, and technical reports. He has served on numerous boards and committees including:
Labconco Corporation Board of Directors
Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute Board of Directors
University of Missouri-Kansas City Board of Trustees
Animal Health Corridor Advisory Board
Kansas City Area Development Council Board of Directors
Civic Council of Greater Kansas City Member
Greater Kansas City Chamber Board of Director, Executive Committee and Big 5 Committees for Animal Health and Entrepreneurship
Michael lives in suburban Kansas City. You can reach him via the TechAccel website (www.TechAccel.net), on Twitter (@Tech_Accel) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhelmstetter). His email is Michael@TechAccel.net.
Dr. Philippe Herve is Global Head of R&D Alliance Management at Bayer CropScience, in charge of managing a global team leading partnerships and relations with investors for agriculture innovation worldwide across the range of products and expertise in the company. Philippe received his Ph.D. in biotechnology in Toulouse, France, with expertise in both chemistry and plant biology. He has more than 15 years of experience in Ag-industry, working across early stage company, international research organizations and multi-national companies in Europe, Asia and USA and has been in charge of international projects and establishing partnerships across a range of projects.
Mark Kahn is the co-founder of Omnivore Partners, a venture capital firm, based in India, investing in startups that are developing breakthrough technologies for food and agriculture. Mark is a Director for multiple Omnivore-backed startups, including Skymet, FrontalRain, Arohan Foods, Eruvaka, and YCook.
Previously, Mark was the Executive Vice President (Strategy & Business Development) at Godrej Agrovet, one of India's foremost diversified agribusiness companies. At Godrej Agrovet, Mark was responsible for corporate strategy, M&A, R&D, and new business incubation.
Earlier in his career, Mark worked for Syngenta and PFM. He earned a BA (Honors) from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.
Nicola is the founder of Newbean Capital, a registered investment adviser that manages early stage venture capital mandates, such as, the Battle Born Venture mandate which invests in early stage Nevadan companies on behalf of the US Treasury. Newbean Capital also has substantial interests in indoor agriculture, owing two business in the space. Contain Inc. is an alternate finance business dedicated to indoor growers, it partners with leading equipment suppliers to arrange lease finance. Indoor Ag-Con is the premier event business in the space, focusing on crop-agnostic technology for growing hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic systems in warehouses, containers and greenhouses.
Nicola has spent close to 20 years in real assets investments in Europe, Asia and the US. After spending time as a rated equity analyst at ABN Amro Hoare Govett in London, she led a team of equity analysts in Asia, achieving top 3 ratings in independent analyst rankings. In the US, she has managed hedge fund portfolios at a subsidiary of the Monitor Group and managed established private equity and real asset platforms for SEI Investments. Her coverage sectors have included traditional and renewable energy, chemicals, water, agriculture, farmland, and forestland.
She sits on the advisory board of Filament, a VC-backed mesh-networkable low cost microcontroller and software platform that incorporates blockchain to allow users to easily create remote secure WiFi networks.
A graduate with honors of Magdalen College, Oxford, where she studied politics, philosophy and economics, Nicola also holds Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) qualifications. Her work has been featured in leading financial media, including the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.
Rob is CEO of AgFunder, an investment marketplace platform for the $6.4 Trillion dollar agriculture industry. Rob has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Financial Post, Seeking Alpha, and twice in Nature journals. Rob has been invited to speak at global conferences on agriculture, technology, and capital raising. He has given seminars at the USDA, been featured in Forbes and Reuters, judged for the National Ag Innovation Prize, and held a committee member position for the Ag Innovation Showcase; the world’s leading AgTech conference. Rob has five degrees, spanning Philosophy, Computer Science, and Computational Biology, including a PhD from Yale University.
Aditya Malhotra is the President and CEO of SyMyco, Inc., a joint venture between Symbiotic Sciences and Mycorrhizal Application (subsidiary of Valent Biosciences). SyMyco's research and development focuses on ways to increase crop yields through products that better deliver water and nutrients to farmer fields through beneficial Mycorrhizal fungi.
Aditya is also the Founder and Director of Symbiotic Sciences Pvt. Ltd., a company focused on realizing and maximizing the potential of bio-resources for agriculture. He built Symbiotic Sciences from a single-person garage operation into one of India’s largest supplier of mycorrhizae, catering to the European, Indian and North American markets.
He started his career in 2006 as an analyst at TheCentrix, where he worked on strategy projects for diversification in to Finance and Accounting Outsourcing.
Aditya graduated in 2005 with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a Management Minor from University of Minnesota.
Sr. VP of Research
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Sr. VP of Research
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Mark joined Archer Daniels Midland Company in 1980. Mark Matlock was appointed Senior Vice President-Research Division where he directs food ingredient research. He holds a BS in Chemistry from Millikin University and a MS in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Akron. Prior to his current appointment, Mark served as an Analytical Chemist, Manager-Process Development, Laboratory Manager-ADM BioProducts and Director-Food Applications. Mark is author or co-author of nine US patents, two of which relate to an analytical instrument (OSI) that measures the oxidative stability of vegetable oils. He has conducted research that has led to new soy protein isolates for ADM. He has managed research efforts that led the introduction of trans free fats for margarines and shortenings via a novel enzymatic rearrangement technology. In addition, Mark was elected president of the American Oil Chemists’ Society for 2003-2004 and in 2007 was honored as an AOCS Fellow.
Ron has 26 years of experience in bringing new technologies and products to market. During this time he has led R&D for major corporations in agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. His successful projects include planning and conducting the world's first field trial of a genetically engineered crop trait in 1986, development and launch of one of the first insect and herbicide resistant corn hybrids in 1996, and introduction of a trans-fat free canola oil. Prior to forming MidPoint, Ron spent two years as an executive-on-loan writing an economic development plan which the State of Indiana adopted for its food and agricultural sectors. As Global Leader of Biotechnology at Dow AgroSciences, Ron led the expansion of its biotechnology research and development program. Ron holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in plant cell biology, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in plant physiology.
Pat Morand, President of Open Prairie Ventures, an Illinois-based venture fund, serves as managing director of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In his management advisory role, Pat is responsible for sourcing all potential investments, leading them through the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund's stringent due diligence process and overseeing the fund’s portfolio company management teams. Pat was a three-time chief executive officer in the biologics industry; vice president of Commercial Operations for Genesis Therapeutics; executive vice president of Sequitor Medical Technologies; and executive in residence of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, a public/private investor in regional life sciences companies where he provided executive support to over 65 companies, representing $100 million of investment and 121 employees.
Pat is a graduate of The Athenaeum of Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy.
Bob runs AndMore Associates, LLC, an independent global business development and consulting firm focused on the nexus of agriculture, energy, and the environment, and building partnerships. Current clients include the Larta Institute and other organizations in the agriculture, cleantech, and energy sectors. As immediate past president of The Sulphur Institute (TSI), Bob led the successful promotion and growth of sulphur as a viable investment and commercial product in agricultural and industrial markets worldwide. The partnerships he built in China helped to stimulate growth of Chinese sulphur imports from zero to nearly ten million tons, now more than a $1 billion market. In India, the initiatives he created and executed built the platform for commercial development of a $2 million ton sulphur fertilizer market. Bob has a BS in Plant Science from Rutgers University and an MS in Agronomy from Pennsylvania State University.
Ag Biotech Business Development
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Ag Biotech Business Development
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Mat is Director of Ag Biotech Business Development at Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. The focus of the Ag Biotech BD group is on acquisition and integration of technology into DuPont's Ag biotech portfolio, the enablement and support of research scale, and on the leveraging of technology developed by DuPont scientists into adjacent spaces. Mat has previously occupied a variety of functions within Pioneer, including as a research scientist, principal investigator and operations manager, before taking on strategic and development responsibilities in the business development group and the Global Product Strategy team. Mat has also served in various capacities for Verdia, Inc., Maxygen, Inc., the University of California, and the Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research. Mat has a PhD in Biology from the University of Lausanne, and an MBA from California State University at Hayward. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and several patents.
Head Corporate Venture Capital
Head Corporate Venture Capital
Derek Norman is Managing Director at Syngenta Ventures, the corporate venture capital group of Syngenta. Syngenta Ventures is responsible for investing in and managing a portfolio of companies that can provide strategic value and financial returns for Syngenta. Prior to joining Syngenta Ventures, Derek was an Associate at Hatteras Venture Partners, a life science-focused venture capital firm with $120 million under management. Derek also spent three years at Dean & Co., a strategy consulting firm located in Washington, DC Derek received a PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard University. There, his thesis work focused on using chemistry, biochemistry and protein crystallography to study the chemical mechanism of DNA repair processes. Derek received a BS in Chemistry from Stanford University.
Ryan Rakestraw is a principal at Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV). With offices in San Francisco and St. Louis, MGV invests in a broad range of companies that can have a major impact on the future of agriculture. MGV is growth-stage agnostic, investing in companies from seed stage through IPO. Previously, Ryan was with Cultivation Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in St. Louis. During this time Ryan founded the Yield Lab, an accelerator program focused on Agriculture. Earlier in his career, Ryan was a systems engineer with Northrop Grumman where he helped to design and implement military platforms ranging from undersea to space applications. Ryan has a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a master’s of science in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Andy has more than a decade of experience in global technology scouting and acquisition as well as business development for agricultural solutions companies. He received his PhD in plant biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany and was a PostDoc at the Max-Planck-Institute in Potsdam, Germany. In 1999 he joined BASF where he first worked on the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids in oilseeds. From 2003 to 2014, he was responsible for BASF Plant Science’s technology scouting and acquisition in Europe and America. From 2014-2016 he moved to the early-stage company Benson Hill Biosystems to establish new commercial partnerships. In 2016 he also worked as independent consultant with various ag tech start-up companies and venture capital firms. In January 2017 Andy joined Vestaron Corporation as VP Business Development to support the market launch of their first product family SPEAR®, to expand to new markets, and to build strategic partnerships.
Andy has a strong network covering the entire agricultural solutions field. Besides his role at the Ag Innovation Showcase, he serves on the industry advisory boards of the biostimulants company Growcentia and the ag tech incubator The Yield Lab.
David Russell is a Venture Partner at Lewis & Clark Ventures located in St Louis, Missouri. Lewis & Clark Ventures has raised a family of venture capital funds focusing on sectors such as enterprise software, healthcare technology and financial technology. David is part of a new Ag commitment that will focus on agriculture technology including precision agriculture, plant genomics, soil and crop technology, biomaterials, food sustainability, and water solutions.
David has a long-standing interest in finding, evaluating and developing new Ag and Food technologies. Prior to joining Lewis & Clark, David lead Monsanto’s Biotechnology Prospecting Team looking for innovative opportunities to support the Monsanto technology portfolio. David has also helped lead the development of feed and processing traits as part of the Renessen LLC JV where he was V.P. of Product Development & Technology and lead the technology and regulatory science functions. He started his Ag career with Agracetus, Inc., an early Ag biotech startup.
David received his Ph.D. from Rice University in microbial gene expression, and did a NSF Plant Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University.
Eric is co-CEO of AgBiome, Inc. He has worked in the ag biotech industry for over 25 years, most recently serving as president of the Two Blades Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the development of durable disease resistance in crops. Prior to that he was CEO and a co-founder of Cropsolution, Inc., an ag chemical discovery company focused on novel fungicides. Eric began his career at Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis, now Syngenta), where he held various positions in research management, ultimately serving as co-president of Novartis Agribusiness Biotechnology Research. Eric has authored more than 65 scientific publications and is inventor on more than 30 issued patents. He received his undergraduate training in biology at Duke University and a PhD in plant biology from Washington University in St. Louis.