Team

 
 

Core Values

Learning

What it means…

To Our Customer Experience:
We harness the secrets of nature to create a better life.
To Our People:
Like nature, we are always evolving. We are passionate, lifelong learners – curious, humble, and respectful, taking advantage of the opportunities that arise from experience.
To The World:
We believe in a future where abundant food is produced safely and sustainably. Why not achieve this by partnering with nature? Help us inspire this change.

Ownership

What it means…

To Our Customer Experience:
Our customers will enjoy reliable and sustainable value creation by our commitment to stewardship at every step.
To Our People:
Our culture of owners creates interdependence, investment, opportunity, mutual trust, and respect, and ensures we are aligned in our long-term success.
To The World:
We assume end-to-end responsibility to ensure that the next generation will continue to benefit from the abundance of agriculture.

Safer Every Day

What it means…

To Our Customer Experience:
Our products will substantially improve working conditions in farm communities.
To Our People:
We live by an unwavering commitment to protect the health and safety of our employees and contractors.
To The World:
Our products will nurture the world by safeguarding the natural ecosystem, farmers, and consumers alike.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Team

 

  Founders

Prof. Frances Arnold, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Board Member

A professor of chemical engineering at Caltech and Nobel laureate, Frances is a pioneer of “directed evolution”, a method of biological design that is a cornerstone of many industrial and biotechnological innovations. Her contributions to science and engineering have been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018, Millennium Technology Prize in 2016, the Draper Prize in 2011, the 2011 National Medal of Technology, and election to the three U.S. National Academies. Frances co-founded Gevo and has served as a scientific advisor to notable biotech companies, including Maxygen, Codexis, Amyris, Mascoma and Fluidigm. Frances currently advises Illumina, Genomatica, Twist Biosciences, and Arivale.

Pedro S. L. Coelho, Ph.D.

Co-Founder & CEO

Education:
Oxford, Caltech PhD, Chemistry

Inspired by:
Natural design

Publications:
Enzymatic functionalization of carbon-hydrogen bonds. Chem. Soc. Rev., 40: 2003-2021 (2011)

Utilizing terminal oxidants to achieve P450-catalyzed oxidation of methane. Adv. Syn. Cat., 354 (6): 964-968 (2012)

Olefin cyclopropanation via carbene transfer catalyzed by engineered cytochrome P450 enzymes. Science, 339 (6117): 307-310 (2013)

A serine-substituted P450 catalyzes highly efficient carbene transfer to olefins in vivo. Nat. Chem. Biol., 9 (8): 485-487 (2013)

Speaking engagements:
2013 Bio Pacific Rim Summit, San Diego, CA
2015 Informa Crops & Chemicals, Raleigh, NC

What’s you favorite quote?
There is no better designer than nature. – A. McQueen

What’s your favorite book?
Labyrinths, J. L. Borges
Arcadia, T. Stoppard

What’s your favorite Provivi moment of all time?
Organizing our first field trials.

What inspires your work?
Bringing great people together to solve hard problems.

What’s your favorite insect?
Leafcutter ants

What’s your favorite experiment?
Lavoisier’s demo that respiration is slow combustion.

Peter Meinhold, Ph.D.

Co-Founder & CTO

Education:
PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, California Institute of Technology (2005)

Dipl. Ing. (FH), Biotechnology, University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan, Germany (2001)

Past Positions:
Co-Founder & Research Director at Gevo, Inc.

Inspired by:
Developing impactful (bio)technology

Publications:
Brinkmann-Chen S., Flock T., Cahn J.K., Snow C.D., Brustad, E.M., McIntosh J.A., Meinhold P., Zhang L., Arnold F.H. (2013) General approach to reversing ketol-acid reductoisomerase cofactor dependence from NADPH to NADH. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 110(27):10946-51.

Buelter, T.; Hawkins, A.; Porter-Scheinman, S.; Meinhold, P.; Dundon, C. Asleson; Aristidou, A.; Urano, J.; Lies, D.; Peters, M.; Dey, M.; Jancauskas, J.; Kelly, J.; Berry, R.. Reduced by-product accumulation for improved production of isobutanol. US 8,153,415

Buelter, T.; Meinhold, P.; Feldman, R. M. R.; Hawkins, A. C.; Urano, J.; Bastian, S.; Arnold, F.. Engineered microorganisms capable of producing target compounds under anaerobic conditions. US 8,097,440 B2.

Meinhold, P., Peters, M.W., Hartwick, A., Hernandez, A. R. and Arnold F. H. (2006) Engineering Cytochrome P450 BM3 for Terminal Alkane Hydroxylation, Adv. Synth. Catal.,348: 763-772.

Meinhold, P., Peters, M. W. Michael M. Y. Chen, Katsuyuki Takahashi & Arnold F. H. (2005) Direct Conversion of Ethane to Ethanol by Engineered P450 BM-3, ChemBioChem, 6: 1765-1768.

Speaking engagements:
2014 National Academy of Engineering – Gilbreth Lecture: ”Microbial Production of Advanced Biofuels” Irvine, CA; February 6, 2014

2012 AIChE Spring Meeting: “The Development of an Advanced Biofuel” Houston, TX, April 3, 2012

2010 AIChE Annual Meeting; “Hydrocarbon Fuels from Renewable Biomass” Salt Lake City, UT; November 10, 2010

2005 BIOTRANS (International Symposium on Biocatalysis and Biotransformations); “Engineering Cytochrome P450 BM-3 for Selective Alkane Oxidations” Delft, NL, July 3 to July 8, 2005

If you could redesign anything, what would it be?
LA: I’d add seasons, snow, public transportation, and bike lanes, move it closer to Germany, (and remove traffic).

What’s your favorite invention of all time and why?
The bicycle

What’s your favorite book?
Siddharta, by Hermann Hesse

Where have you lived?
Germany, South Africa, LA, and Denver

What languages do you speak?
German, Bavarian, English

What’s your favorite project of all time?
Developing an isobutanol producing yeast

What’s your favorite (bio)catalyst?
NADH-dependent ketol-acid reductoisomerase (NKR, EC 1.1.1.382)

What’s your favorite experiment?
VO2 max test

 

  Board

Alan Boyce

Board Member

Alan Boyce is Co-Founder and an active member of the board of directors of Adecoagro (NYSE:AGRO), a food and renewable energy-producing company that farms in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Adecoagro owns 285,000 hectares of highly productive farmland, leases another 175,000 hectares and has 8,000 employees. Alan is also Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Materra, LLC, a California and Arizona based agricultural production company. Materra was formed in 2010 and is currently the owner and operator of 25,000 acres of farmland where it grows pistachios, dates, citrus and organic vegetables. Boyce is CEO of the Absalon Project, a joint venture between Soros and the Danish financial system dedicated to the beneficial aspects of the Danish mortgage system. Boyce served as Director of Special Situations at Soros Fund Management from 1999 to 2007 and has continued as a consultant since then. At Soros, he managed a portfolio of assets of the Quantum Funds with a focus on mortgage backed securities and reinsurance. Boyce served as Managing Director at Bankers Trust from 1986 to 1999. He was in charge of Fixed Income Arbitrage, the bank’s mortgage portfolio and compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. Prior to that, he worked for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC.

James Demetriades

Board Member

Jim is the founder and managing partner for Kairos Ventures. At the age of 26, Jim started his own software company, SeeBeyond, that invented numerous technologies in the software industry, including composite applications, distributed integration technologies, and cloud-based integration and development products. Jim grew SeeBeyond into the world’s largest self-funded integration software company with thousands of customers in dozens of industries around the world. He took the company public in 2000 and successfully sold it to Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) in 2005 for $386 million. In addition to Kairos Ventures, Jim also runs his own real estate development and management company. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, with a second major in Economics and a minor in Marketing, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Philip Erlanger, Ph.D.

Board Member

Phil Erlanger is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund, a growth stage private equity firm focused on the food and agriculture technology space. He has more than 25 years of investing and advisory experience across a wide array of transactions, markets and industries, with expertise in agriculture technology investing, as well as private equity and financial institutions corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and capital markets transactions of all kinds. Dr. Erlanger has a PhD in Economics and Finance from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School. He lives in Los Angeles.

Ganesh Kishore, Ph.D.

Board Member

Currently Managing Partner of Spruce Capital Partners, the co-Manager of MLS Capital Fund II and the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund. Prior appointments include (1) Chief Biotechnology Officer at DuPont, (2) Vice President of Technology and Chief Technology Officer for DuPont’s Agriculture and Nutrition division, and (3) Co-president of the Nutrition and Consumer Sector and assistant chief scientist/chief biotechnologist for the Monsanto Company. Discovered, developed and commercialized ag-bio products such as ROUNDUP READY® Soy, and manufacturing processes for NUTRASWEET®. In 2015, Dr. Kishore was named to the WorldVIEW 100 list as one of the most influential people in biotech today.

Ronald Olson

Board Member

Ronald L. Olson is a name partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson whose practice involves a combination of litigation and corporate counseling. Mr. Olson counsels individual executives and boards of directors in a wide range of matters, including transactions and corporate governance. He has also been the lead partner in numerous high-profile litigation matters. Mr. Olson is ranked among Chambers USA’s Senior Statesmen in California litigation. Mr. Olson is a director of Berkshire Hathaway and Western Asset Trusts. He serves as a director of several nonprofits, including the California Institute of Technology and ProPublica. He was chairman of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section (1981-1982) and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary (1991-1992). He was also chairman of the board of trustees of Claremont University Center and Graduate School (1984-1994), founding chairman of the board of trustees of Southern California Public Radio (1999-2004), a trustee of the Mayo Clinic (2004-2016), a trustee of the RAND Corporation (1994-2016 and formerly chair), a director of Edison International (1995-2014), a director of City National Corporation (2001-2014), a director of the Council on Foreign Relations (2002-2010) and a director of the Graham Holdings Company (formerly the Washington Post Company 2003-2017).

 

  Management

Jarett Abramson

VP – IP, Licensing & Legal

Education:
BA, University of Pennsylvania
MS, University of Utah
JD, University of Utah

Past Positions:
Chief Operating Officer, Agriculture Victoria Services. Pty Ltd
Senior Counsel, Centro Internacional de Mejorimiento de Maiz y Trigo
Senior Counsel, Dow AgroSciences

Inspired by:
Norman Borlaug
Family, Friends and Colleagues

Speaking engagements:
Global Crop Diversity Trust, “Trade Secrets Vs. Public Disclosures” Melbourne, Australia, November 2017

International Center for Maize and Wheat, “Public-Private Partnerships and the Use of Biotechnological Tools”, Mexico City, Mexico, June 2016.

2016 Food & Agriculture National Conference, “Managing the First Genetically Engineered Events to Go Off Patent” Indianapolis, USA, May 2016.

Food and Agricultural Organization, “International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture”, Rome, Italy, October 2015.

Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, “How to Approach the Nagoya Protocol”, Montpellier, France, August 2015.

African Agricultural Technology Foundation “International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants”, Entebbe, Uganda, February 2014.

What’s you favorite expression/quote?
“If you only do what you can, you will never be more than you are now.”

Where have you lived?
USA, Mexico & Australia

Any hidden talents?
PSIA-AASI Certified Snowboard Instructor

What’s your favorite project of all time?
Implementing quality protein maize programs in Nicaragua

What’s your favorite insect?
Chicatanas or Honeybees

Thomas Clark, Ph.D.

VP – Field Development

Education:
Ph.D., Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.S., Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
B.S., Biology, California State University, Stanislaus

Past Positions:
Global Insect Trait Platform Lead, Corn Technology, Monsanto
Senior Science Fellow, Monsanto
Global Insect Trait Platform Lead, Cotton and Specialty Crops, Monsanto
Entomology Platform Lead, Monsanto Biotechnology
Assistant Professor, Plant Sciences Unit, Entomology, University of Missouri-Columbia

Inspired By:
People that make a living by farming

What’s your favorite invention of all time and why?
Not necessarily a discrete invention but I view the Green Revolution as my favorite. This concept brought forward by Norman Borlaug (which combines plant nutrition with plant breeding) has been credited with saving more than 1 billion people from starvation.

What’s your favorite project of all time?
RNAi for rootworm control in corn and development of Bt trait for Lygus control in cotton

What inspires your work?
Bringing novel technologies to farmers throughout the world

What’s your favorite insect?
Western corn rootworm

William Evanko

VP – Engineering

Education:
B.S. Chemical Engineering
Colorado State University

Past Positions:
Process, Manufacturing and Project Engineer
Operations Manager, Director of Engineering and
Vice President Engineering

Publications:
Purification of Polycarboxylic Acids. U.S. Patent 9,517,996. 13 December 2016.

Recovery of higher alcohols from dilute aqueous solutions. U.S. Patent 8,614,077. 24 December 2013.

Methods for the economical production of bio-fuel precursor that is also a bio-fuel from biomass. WO2009059254. 7 May 2009.

Method to Produce Cyclic Esters. U.S. Patent 5,420,304. 30 May 1995.

Purification of Hydrochloric Acid. Dow Corning Corporation, assignee. U.S. Patent 5,330,735. 19 July 1994.

If you could redesign anything, what would it be?
The toaster. I haven’t been satisfied with the typical design.

What’s your favorite invention of all time and why?
Currently it is the 3D printer. I think it will be the next enabler for another industrial revolution.

What languages do you speak?
English and ChemE

What inspires your work?
I enjoy participating in teams that bring diverse knowledge and solutions together to put new products and technology in the market place.

What’s your favorite (bio)catalyst?
Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Paul Kuc

Chief Financial Officer

Education:
MBA, University of Western Ontario
Ivey Business School, London, Ontario Canada
M.S. Economics, University of Lodz, Poland

Past Positions:
Chief Financial Officer, LA BioMed,
Chief Financial Officer, Ceres,
Finance Leadership Monsanto and Seminis

Inspired by:
Cryptanalysis of the Enigma

What’s you favorite expression/quote?
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Where have you lived?
Poland, Spain, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Missouri, California

What languages do you speak?
Polish, Spanish, English, Portuguese

What’s your favorite project of all time?
Flood control and land reclamation in the Netherlands

What’s your favorite insect?
Cricket

Juan Lombana

VP- Global Business

Past Positions:
Business Unit Director Crop Protection DuPont Mexico, Central America and Andean Region.

Regional Insecticides Business Manager Latin America, Crop Protection DuPont.

Education:
Mechanical engineer, Finance specialist and Master in Business Administration

Inspired By
Learning, people and business development

Speaking Engagements
Leading Change at DuPont, Google, Provivi, Hasbro and Apple tech services.

What’s you favorite expression/quote?
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain

What’s your favorite book?
Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What languages do you speak?
English, Spanish, French and Portuguese

Where have you lived?
Colombia, Brazil and Mexico

Any hidden talents?
I am an airplane pilot

What inspires your work?
To be able to build a new business, based on a team that has trust and collaboration.

What’s your favorite insect?
Dragon Flies

David Rozzell, Ph.D.

Senior VP, Product Chemistry

Education:
BS Chemistry, University of Virginia
PhD Chemistry, Harvard University

Past Positions:
Founder and CEO, Biocatalytics, Inc and Sustainable Chemistry Solutions, Inc.

VP, Codexis inc.

Publications:
“Enzyme Company Guide” published by Sustainable Chemistry Solutions, Inc., Burbank, 2015.

“Biocatalysis Company Guide” published by Sustainable Chemistry Solutions, Inc., Burbank, 2015.

David Rozzell and Ryan Lauchli, “Enzyme Sources and Selection of Biocatalysts” in “Science of Synthesis Reference Library: Biocatalysis in Organic Synthesis,” Prof. K Faber, Prof. W-D. Fessner, and Prof. N. J. Turner, editors, Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, 2014.

Thomas S. Moody and J. David Rozzell, “Modern Biocatalytic Ketone Reduction” in “Organic Synthesis Using Biocatalysis,” Animesh Goswami and Jon D. Stewart, editors, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2015.

Speaking engagements:
“The Future of Enzymes”: Keynote Lecture, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF ENZYMES IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, Duesseldorf, Germany, April 2015.

“The Future of Biocatalysis”: Commercialization and Application of Enzymes in Biotechnology, London, UK, May 2014.

What’s you favorite expression/quote?
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Where have you lived?
TN, VA, MA, NJ, CA

What languages do you speak?
French and English

Any hidden talents?
Avid bridge player

What’s your favorite project of all time?
First commercialized biocatalytic process using a recombinant enzyme. When I saw the first tons of product from the manufacturing plant, it made the connection between R&D and practical benefits for me.

What’s your favorite insect?
Dragonflies: They eat mosquitoes

What’s your favorite reaction?
Right now it’s cyclopropanation, of course.

 

  Funding

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investment in startup companies and funds.

www.basf-vc.com

Kairos invests in groundbreaking startups and research in life sciences, physical sciences, and technology, originating from the top minds of academia and industry. These technologies have the potential to make the world a better place.

www.kairosventures.com

MLS Capital Fund II, with $150 million of committed capital, is co-managed by Spruce Capital Partners and Xeraya Capital, which will invest the funds in a diversified portfolio of biogreentech companies at all stages of development. The principals of Spruce Capital Partners bring deep experience from the industrial, financial, and academic sectors. They are active investors, who have years of both investment and operational experience and have worked with entrepreneurs to create and build successful companies. Their experience dovetails with that of Xeraya Capital, which contributes comprehensive in-region expertise.

http://www.mlscf.com/

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of $7.3 billion (FY 2015), they are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

We are a pioneering growth capital investor in food and agriculture technology. We invest globally in growing businesses that improve agricultural productivity, nutrition, health, sustainability and supply chain efficiency.