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Howard Chao (Host and Managing Director of Doon Insights)

Howard Chao

Host and Managing Director of Doon Insights

Howard Chao is an investor, lawyer and counselor to entrepreneurs. He began his work life as a corporate lawyer with O'Melveny & Myers and for many years was the Chair of the Firm's Asia Practice. He helped establish the firm's offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, and practiced for many years as a cross-border investment specialist based in Asia. Since 2001 Howard has been based in Silicon Valley, but continued to dedicate substantial time covering the Asia markets.

In recent years Howard has moved to the principal side of investing and deal-making. Howard actively makes angel and other VC investments in earlier stage companies through his personal vehicle, Doon Capital, usually in collaboration with other investors. He maintains close working relationships with various VC and PE funds. Howard invests primarily in startups located in the Silicon Valley and China. Because of Howard's extensive experience with Asia, many of his deals have an Asian (particularly Chinese) nexus.

Howard also maintains an active strategic consulting practice. Howard's extensive experience with investment and financing transactions in both the US and China leads him to advise and assist various clients in both places. His transactions span many different sectors, and include multinationals, financial investors and startup companies.

Nick Sramek (Host and Managing Director of Doon Insights)

Nick Sramek

Host and Managing Director of Doon Insights

Nick Sramek is a Managing Director of Doon Insights, leading workshop development, content creation, and outreach. Nick has extensive experience assisting organizations in preparing for a world not yet visible. An exceptional communicator of complex issues to diverse stakeholders, Nick has focused expertise in understanding and communicating global macroeconomic, technological, and geopolitical trends, as well as the importance of the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Previously, Nick served as the Director of International Relations of Silicon Valley Forum, a Silicon Valley organization that focuses on startup mentorship, corporate digitization, and government innovation strategies. Prior to that, he was the Program and Knowledge Director for the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute, a non-profit educational organization based out of San Francisco that assists corporations, pension funds and financial institutions in carrying out their responsibilities in respect to the Asia-Pacific. Through research fellowships, he has also developed a passion for understanding the role of technology in society, particularly in developing economies.

Nick received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and History from Trinity University (Texas), and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego’s school of Global Policy and Strategy. He is conversational in Mandarin Chinese.

Camille Bamford (Sr. Director of Sales and BD at Plenty)

Camille Bamford

Sr. Director of Sales and BD at Plenty

Camille Bamford is the Senior Director of Sales and Business Development at Plenty. She is a Minnesota native who joined Plenty to return back to the agricultural roots that she loves while building a sustainable and healthy food system.
Camille has over 10 years experience on the front lines commercializing industry changing technology and ideas at scale. Prior to Plenty, Camille helped Palantir break into healthcare by launching new products that improved the quality of care for millions. Earlier in her career, she helped rebuild a leading asset manager in the aftermath of the financial crisis and was at the forefront of Mexico’s transition to sustainable housing. She’s also partnered with several early stage ventures as they’ve started to scale their sustainable impact.

Ted Barber (Open Innovation at Danone North America)

Ted Barber

Open Innovation at Danone North America
Elisa Bertini (CSO at Puna Bio)

Elisa Bertini

CSO at Puna Bio

Elisa holds a biotechnology degree and a PhD. in Biochemistry. She specializes in soil microbiology, earth, and conservation, and currently leads Science at Puna Bio. She has spent 4 months in Antarctica researching extremophiles and has spent the last 5 years researching extremophiles from the Puna, the highest and driest desert on Earth. Trained in microbiological techniques at I2BC in Paris, France, she has published several R&D studies in prestigious journals around the world. Her expertise in microorganism behavior in harsh and challenging environments is a key asset for PunaBio and its R&D platform.

Max Clegg (Head of LDC Innovations at Louis Dreyfus Company Innovations)

Max Clegg

Head of LDC Innovations at Louis Dreyfus Company Innovations

Max is a principal investor and corporate development professional with extensive transaction experience & domain expertise in the agriculture, food, and energy industries. Max leads Louis Dreyfus Company Innovations, LDC's corporate venture capital program.

Seana Day (Venture Partner at Better Food Ventures)

Seana Day

Venture Partner at Better Food Ventures

Seana brings 20 years of investment, M&A advisory and technology experience to Culterra Capital and Better Food Ventures. She is a regular Ag ecosystem contributor and publishes annual AgTech and Food Supply Chain Tech Landscapes highlighting technology across the Food and Ag value chain. Seana previously held advisory and investment roles in Food and Ag including Director of Strategy and Business Development at AgTech Insight, Fish 2.0 Associate and Managing Director at Centerra Capital providing Agribusiness investment advisory. Prior to her involvement in Food and Ag, Seana was a technology investment banker at AGC Partners in London, Ridgecrest Capital Partners and Capstone Headwaters. Her background also includes Head of Restructuring and Operations at Versata Enterprises. She is now based in her hometown of Turlock, in the heart of California’s Ag-land.

Siwen Deng (CTO at Sundial Foods)

Siwen Deng

CTO at Sundial Foods

Siwen Deng is the CTO of Sundial Foods. Growing up in a rural agricultural town, Siwen’s passion has always been aiding world agriculture and food safety as they face environmental challenges. Her bachelor’s studies focused on plant science and plant pathology, and she recently completed her PhD at UC Berkeley in the plant and microbial biology department.

Lars Dyrud (CEO of EarthOptics)

Lars Dyrud

CEO of EarthOptics

Lars Dyrud has founded three companies. He enjoys advising engineers and scientists on innovation and entrepreneurism.

Lars received a BA in Physics from Augsburg College conducting research on ultra-low frequency geomagnetic pulsations. He was a Fulbright Scholar in space and plasma physics at the University of Oslo and received a Ph.D. from Boston University conducting doctoral research on plasma turbulence using theory and super-computer simulations and observations.

Prior to EarthOptics, Lars founded, developed and led OmniEarth to a successful exit through acquisition by EagleView Technologies where he most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Business Development. OmniEarth developed and provided machine-learning based imagery analytics tools to the insurance, public utility and land management industries. Lars has served as PI on R&D grants and contracts from NSF, DOE, NASA, AFOSR, Air Force SMC and Industry and is involved in basic and applied research in plasma physics, applications and techniques of tomography, software radio, GPS, inertial navigation and radar. He is the founder of the APL Center for Public/Private Partnerships and has led space-related missions and projects as head of the Earth and Space Science group at Draper Laboratory and previously as senior scientist and section lead at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the areas of space physics, GPS tomography, Novel Earth observation missions and mobile applications.

Alyssa Felsch (Project Manager at Nulixir)

Alyssa Felsch

Project Manager at Nulixir

With more than 10 years of experience in team/project management, Alyssa leads the strategic implementation and cross-functional project execution of both R&D and sales departments.

Hunter Friedland (Founder and CEO of Cirona Labs)

Hunter Friedland

Founder and CEO of Cirona Labs

Hunter is the founder and CEO of Cirona Labs, which he started while he was studying at Cornell University. After conducting a study of hemp farmers in New York in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF I Corps), he saw an opportunity to develop a higher standard for cannabinoid ingredients. Since then, he has assembled a world-class team of top scientists and CPG experts, and has successfully secured initial fundraising rounds to ensure Cirona Labs is set up for long-term growth.
Hunter is a passionate entrepreneur who founded a technology startup in his early Cornell days. His network in the hemp and cannabis space is only growing, as he recently assumed a committee chair position on the New York Hemp & Cannabis Growers Association.

Jennifer Goggin (Chi Botanic)

Jennifer Goggin

Chi Botanic

Building on deep experience in the food ecosystem, Goggin is currently co-leading the development of novel nutritional ingredients from Chi Botanic’s Plant Cell Foundry platform. Since 2018, Goggin and her company, Startle Innovation, partners with researchers in the food tech space to help grow impactful companies. After earning a degree from Columbia University and 2 years as an Analyst with JP Morgan, Goggin found her true passion reinventing the food system. Prior to Startle, she founded 2 successful food tech ventures leveraging technology to promote local foods and the farmers growing it: FarmersWeb (still operating nationwide) and Pippin Foods (acquired). More recently, Googin has served as advisor and mentor to numerous other start-ups in the industry, ranging from supply chain logistics to waste transformation platforms — finding, identifying, and creating otherwise elusive business connections and collaborations. With a career built around the local foods movement, Goggin is the perfect partner to work with Chi Botanic to realize the dream to grow anything local.

Christopher J. Guske (Independent Consultant at D2 Biotech Consulting)

Christopher J. Guske

Independent Consultant at D2 Biotech Consulting

Dr. Guske’s technical training is in Chemical Engineering with a B.S. from UC Davis and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. As an accomplished Biochemical Engineer and Functional/Project manager with over 30 years of industrial biotechnology experience, Dr. Guske has worked in the food, nutraceutical, specialty, and commodity chemical segments at CP Kelco, NutraSweet, and, most recently, Tate & Lyle where he was Director, BioVentures and Support Services, overseeing the Analytical, Citric Strain Development, Small-Scale Fermentation Lab, and Fermentation Pilot Plant functions. Career milestones have included involvement in the DuPont-Tate & Lyle joint venture, developing, scaling up, and commercializing 1,3-propanediol, and the Genomatica-Tate & Lyle joint development project for the rapid process development, scale up, and commercial production of 1,4-butanediol. Since leaving Tate & Lyle in 2017, Dr. Guske has become an independent consultant, forming D2 Biotech Consulting, LLC. In D2’s five-year existence Dr. Guske has been privileged to assist some 70 early-stage startups to multinationals across a broad range of areas, including lab-scale process development and optimization, pilot plant scaleup and optimization, CMO identification, technical transfer, and support, techno-economic analyses, aseptic design, facility assessments, and technical due diligence/technology assessment, the latter activity accounting for 20% of Dr. Guske’s 2021 business. Dr. Guske currently serves on a fractional basis in three titled roles, CTO for Ummino, Senior Manufacturing Advisor for AgroSpheres, and Manufacturing Technology Director for Noblegen, as well as a recent appointment to the Investment Advisory Board for Agronomics Limited.

John Hamer (Managing Partrner at DCVC Bio)

John Hamer

Managing Partrner at DCVC Bio

John is a Managing Partner at DCVC Bio. Prior to joining DCVC, John was a VP at Monsanto and Managing Director of Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV). Before joining MGV, John was a Managing Director at Burrill & Company. Prior to his career in venture capital, John was an entrepreneur, initially at Paradigm Genetics, where he joined as a visiting scientist before becoming Chief Science Officer and eventually President and CEO following the company’s IPO. After Paradigm, John founded and served as CEO of Arête Therapeutics, which earned backing from leading life science venture firms.
John started his career in academia, rising to the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, where he earned the David and Lucille Packard Fellow award in 1989. John received a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. from the University of Windsor and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis.

Joshua T. Hofheimer (Partner at Sidley)

Joshua T. Hofheimer

Partner at Sidley

Josh Hofheimer is a partner at Sidley Austin, and the co-leader of the firm’s Global Agribusiness and Food industry group, which has been acknowledged as the only Chambers-ranked Band 1 law firm in the category (2016–2022. His practice focuses on representing clients in the agribusiness and food, life sciences, and information technology sectors. Josh’s experience combines almost two decades of corporate, commercial and technology law practice with the experience having run a public biotech company to bring his clients focused, practical counsel to help them grow their business and maximize their value and returns. His work spans a broad array of technology, intellectual property and commercial transactions ranging from agricultural technology to medical devices, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, software, Internet and new media transactions and includes developing and implementing business strategies for commercialization of multiple intellectual property platforms.

Tricia Holst (Head of Product at Provision)

Tricia Holst

Head of Product at Provision

Tricia brings over 17 years of experience in the software industry. Her experience spans B2B and consumer SaaS products, with titans like IHS Markit, Geddy Images and Benevity. She is passionate about building software that solves key customer problems, listening deeply to customer feedback and ensuring that the products delivered are intuitive and simple to use.

Jasmin Hume (Founder and CEO of Shiru)

Jasmin Hume

Founder and CEO of Shiru

Dr. Jasmin Hume is the Founder and CEO of Shiru, a biotechnology company addressing a critical need in the food industry by providing access to more sustainable and healthy ingredients. Jasmin is an expert in proteins, leveraging deep biochemistry, materials science, and food science knowledge to bring transformative, sustainable foods from concept to reality. In addition to her work as CEO and Founder of Shiru, she is a 2019 graduate of Y Combinator, former Director of Food Chemistry at JUST, and a former summer associate for VC firm Lux Capital. Jasmin holds a doctorate in protein engineering from NYU, an MSc from Chalmers University, and a BEng from McGill University.

Elad Mardix (CEO and Co-founder of Clarifruit)

Elad Mardix

CEO and Co-founder of Clarifruit

Elad is the CEO and Co-founder of Clarifruit, the world’s first AI-powered Quality Control (QC) software for the Fresh Produce industry.

Previously, Elad had a distinguished career working for J.P. Morgan in both New York and Hong Kong, where he ran J.P. Morgan’s Asia Technology banking franchise. As a senior tech banker, Elad had the privilege of partnering with some of the world’s most brilliant tech entrepreneurs. Elad holds a BA in Economics & Accounting from Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and an MBA from Darden school, University of Virginia, USA.

Franco Martinez Levis (CEO & Co-Founder of Puna Bio)

Franco Martinez Levis

CEO & Co-Founder of Puna Bio

Franco holds a degree in Economics from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, and an MBA/MA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Having worked for McKinsey & Company in Operations and Digital implementations across Argentina, Chile, Brasil, and Perú, he formerly founded and was CEO of a restaurant software startup that won several international prizes. He has led Puna Bio's strategy, fundraising, and business development since its inception in 2020.

Wayne McIntyre (Co-founder and CEO of RELOCALIZE)

Wayne McIntyre

Co-founder and CEO of RELOCALIZE

Wayne McIntyre is the co-founder and CEO of Relocalize, a company working to decarbonize packaged food.
At Relocalize, he leads a team of food innovators and robotics engineers building the first fully autonomous distributed manufacturing platform for food. The company makes food more sustainable and affordable by hyper-localizing food production, transformation, packaging and material handling processes.
Prior to founding Relocalize, Wayne led commercial transformation projects for both public and private clients in software, biotechnology and aerospace, helping executive leaders to design new business models and commercial organizations to accelerate growth. He also held executive leadership positions at technology companies, including P&L leadership roles as CEO of Pskler (CRM technology company) and Managing Director at CAE Flightscape.
Wayne started his career in law and corporate development, and is a Massachusetts and Ontario qualified lawyer.
When he’s not pursuing his mission to localize food, you can find Wayne in his canoe or on the trail in Canada.

Ronald Meeusen (Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox)

Ronald Meeusen

Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox

Ron Meeusen, PhD is a Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Cultivian Ventures. Prior to founding Cultivian, Ron spent 25 years in corporate R&D bringing new technologies and products to market.

Ron has led R&D across agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. A veteran of the biotechnology field ("Yes, I'm old"), his teams conducted the world’s first GMO crop field trial in 1986, developed the first insect and herbicide resistant corn hybrids, introduced trans-fat free canola oil, and of dozens of new varieties of field and vegetable crops on three continents.

Ron represented Cultivian Sandbox on the boards of Agrivida, Allylix (acquired), Aratana (IPO), Divergence (acquired), enEvolv (acquired), Sound Agriculture, and Vestaron. 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.

A private pilot with an Alaskan float plane rating, Ron also has an indoor trap range in his basement (laser simulator only - real shells make too much noise).

Jonathan Meuser (CEO and Co-founder of Chi Botanic)

Jonathan Meuser

CEO and Co-founder of Chi Botanic

Dr. Jonathan Meuser is CEO and co-founder of Chi Botanic Inc. Meuser is a classically-trained plant biologist turned biotechnologist with over two decades in R&D and a lifetime promoting environmental protection. Meuser recognized climate change as a planetary threat as a young boy. As a result, he dedicated his life to the advancement of ecological sustainability through the search for alternatives to destructive means of production. Meuser was an early contributor to the grass roots biodiesel movement and for many years took a multidisciplinary approach to advanced biofuels research combining biological and engineering approaches, including leading-edge high-throughput technologies for organism engineering. The years of biofuels research funded by respected federal institutions like the DOE, NASA, DARPA, AFOSR and private companies Conocophillips and Exxon Mobil reinforced two important lessons. First, biofuels are technically feasible. Second, however, only when tech is both environmentally-sustainable and economically-sustainable can it rapidly supplant the status quo. With this in mind, in 2017 Meuser co-founded Chi Botanic to apply his training in modern biotechnological methods to engineering plant cell cultures so that in the near future many plant products could be grown more efficiently, more sustainably, and more cost-effectively than they are today.

Ehsan Moaseri (Founder & CEO of Nulixir)

Ehsan Moaseri

Founder & CEO of Nulixir

Ehsan is a seasoned management consultant and a clinical scientist with more than a decade experience in leading research groups, spanning from cancer therapy to nano-biotechnology.

Kyle Mohler (Founder & CEO of Insignum AgTech)

Kyle Mohler

Founder & CEO of Insignum AgTech

Kyle was raised on a midwestern US crop farm. He studied biochemistry and molecular plant sciences at Purdue University and the University of Edinburgh (PhD). He has experience in cutting-edge, patented and licensed scientific research. Kyle knows the ag market and has a passion for delivering unique solutions for the benefit of farmers and the world.

Megan Nunes (Founder + CEO of Bountiful)

Megan Nunes

Founder + CEO of Bountiful

As founder and CEO of Bountiful, Megan Nunes provides a unique outlook spanning several industries. With over a decade of experience in the aerospace industry, Megan has held various levels of leadership roles such as COO and CEO of small satellite startups. She also brings a strong agriculture background from studying in the College of Agriculture at California Polytechnic State University, SLO to her family's farming business in the central valley of California. All this allows Megan to lead Bountiful in providing what the agricultural industry really needs while leveraging technology and methods from aerospace and tech as a whole.

David Pierson (Managing Director of Syngenta Group Ventures)

David Pierson

Managing Director of Syngenta Group Ventures

Mr. Pierson is Managing Director for Syngenta Group Ventures (SGV), the corporate venture capital unit of Syngenta Group, Basel, Switzerland. At Syngenta, Mr. Pierson is making venture investments globally across a broad range of biotechnology and digital technologies. Prior to joining SGV in 2012, Mr. Pierson was a General Partner at Intersouth Partners, a life science and technology venture capital firm with $800 million in capital under management. Prior to entering venture capital, Mr. Pierson held regional and global level positions in marketing, sales, and new product commercialization while at Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and NPS Pharmaceuticals. Since 2005, Mr. Pierson has served as a director or observer for 24 venture backed companies. Mr. Pierson serves on the boards of numerous venture backed companies in the US and Latin America, foundations, and entrepreneurial organizations and is based in the Research Triangle Park, NC. Mr. Pierson holds a B.S. in engineering with a concentration in international relations from The United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Ingrid Sarlandie (COO at Naio Technologies)

Ingrid Sarlandie

COO at Naio Technologies

Passionate about innovation & entrepreneurship towards sustainability, Ingrid is the COO at Naio Technologies. After graduating as a mechanical engineer from one of the top engineering schools in France and the University of Auckland, Ingrid started her career as a R&D engineer in the automotive industry working on cutting edge technologies for electric & hybrid vehicles. She then joined a major management consulting firm to develop their innovation management activity before joining a VC firm. She decided to join Naio Technologies convinced that bringing autonomy and accuracy to any farmers in the world is the solution to have a global, secure, and sustainable food production system.

Harold Schmitz (General Partner at The March Fund)

Harold Schmitz

General Partner at The March Fund

Harold is co-founder and General Partner in The March Fund (TMF), and a Senior Scholar in the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). TMF is a technology venture capital fund dedicated to transforming the multi-trillion-dollar food industry and the expanding consumer health opportunity this represents. TMF I launched in 2019 and currently has an unrealized net IRR of 36%. TMF II is aiming to launch in 2022, focusing on breakthrough technologies in data science, AI, and synthetic biology enabling healthier and more affordable products and services.

Harold is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and currently serves as an advisor to the BioInnovation Institute established by the Novo Nordisk Foundation as well as to the AI Institute for Next-Generation Food Systems co-funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. Harold is a member of the Board of Directors for Engage3 and Digestiva, two companies in the TMF I portfolio.

Jim Schultz (CEO/Founder of Open Prairie)

Jim Schultz

CEO/Founder of Open Prairie

Jim Schultz founded Open Prairie as a private capital management company in 1999. He has led and overseen the management of four private equity funds with investments in innovative technologies spanning agriculture, medical devices, and information systems. Funds invested by Open Prairie have resulted in two successful IPO’s and created over 5,000 jobs across 31 portfolio investments. His current fund strategy is focused on agri-business investments in rural America under a USDA licensed rural business investment program (RBIP).
Jim is a fifth-generation Illinoisan, agribusiness entrepreneur, and private equity executive. Like his ancestors, Jim has continued his family legacy in agribusiness throughout the America’s with investments in ag-tech companies, ag-input companies, rural businesses and farmland. He has owned three proprietary soybean seed companies and three ag-chemical companies along with farmland in the Midwest and Brazil, representing over 17,000 acres. In his hometown of Effingham, Illinois, Jim developed and created in a bean field an office park, Network Centre, that has created over 1,500 professional jobs for college graduates seeking to remain in the east-central Illinois area. He gained extensive leadership experience with growth-stage capital expansion over the years by investing in rural America. Jim has served as the financial expert on mergers and acquisitions for clients in rural America in software development, banking, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and entertainment.

Jessica Schwabach (CEO and Co-Founder of Sundial Foods)

Jessica Schwabach

CEO and Co-Founder of Sundial Foods

Jessica Schwabach is the CEO of Sundial Foods. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She combines her love of scientific exploration and her desire to help food systems sustainably meet protein demands to create healthy, innovative meat alternatives.

Gil Shalev (Founder & CEO of Equinom)

Gil Shalev

Founder & CEO of Equinom

Gil is the visionary, entrepreneur and driving force behind Equinom. Prior to founding the company, Gil was an executive at a Vilmorin & Cie subsidiary and co-founded a flower-breeding start-up. Gil earned a PhD in plant genetics from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His research achievements include developing integrated sequencing technology for breeding and discovering new plant genes and gene combinations. Gil sees better, naturally bred plant-based ingredients – which Equinom technology enables – as an important, sustainable and pragmatic solution to our global health and climate crises.

Steve Slater (CEO of Pluton Biosciences)

Steve Slater

CEO of Pluton Biosciences

In his role as CEO, Dr. Slater partners with the scientific and business teams, investors and the broader community to translate Pluton’s proprietary technology into high-performance products that deliver sustainable agriculture and climate solutions. He brings over 30 years’ experience in microbial genomics, biotechnology and business leadership to Pluton. His experience in large biotech at Monsanto, multiple start-ups and as a tenured professor facilitates operation across many disciplines and technical cultures. Dr. Slater holds a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Case Western Reserve University and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. He has over 50 publications and patents.

Erik Westblom (CEO and Co-founder of Provision)

Erik Westblom

CEO and Co-founder of Provision

Erik founded Provision in 2018 in Copenhagen under the mentorship of food transport titan, Maersk after a 18 year career in software and finance. Provision brings together his farm roots in agriculture, his love for food and his desire to drive trust in our food chain. Erik has managed international teams in executing client roll-outs > $10mm, and has contributed to tech successes like 3esi and Cortex, executing deals worth more than $40 million.

Mike Wilbur (Pres & CEO of Cavallo Ventures)

Mike Wilbur

Pres & CEO of Cavallo Ventures

Mike Wilbur serves as the president and CEO of Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis. To date, he and his team at Cavallo Ventures have completed over 20 strategic investments in emerging companies and technologies that support Wilbur-Ellis’ business divisions.
In his over twenty years of services with Wilbur-Ellis, Mike has held numerous positions, across the Agribusiness, Nutrition, and Connell businesses. In October 2019, Mike also joined the Wilbur-Ellis board of directors.
Mike is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in economics. He and his wife, Patrice, and their three sons reside in Hillsborough, California. When he’s not working, Mike enjoys spending time with his family and cheering on his sons in their various athletic adventures.

Randall Wilkinson (Co-founder and CEO of Wilkinson Group)

Randall Wilkinson

Co-founder and CEO of Wilkinson Group

Randall Wilkinson is a co-founder and CEO of The Wilkinson Group, a company deeply invested in the future of fresh bread. Its robotic Wilkinson Mini Bakery makes possible continuous, in-store baking of delicious, all-natural bread throughout the day as it engages directly with shoppers. The disruptive technology decreases cost and shrinks the environmental impact of current bread production by making the central factory and fleet of bread delivery trucks unnecessary.

Sarah Williams (Partner at Rich Products Ventures)

Sarah Williams

Partner at Rich Products Ventures

Sarah Williams is a Partner at Rich Products Corporate Venture Fund. Sarah has spent the past 25 years working with food companies as an operator, consultant and investor. In 2003, she was the first hire at f’real foods, a frozen blended beverage company, and held several key leadership roles while building the business from start-up through growth to a successful acquisition by Rich Products in 2012. After a transition period, Sarah worked with the founding team of Food System 6 accelerator to stand-up and run its first entrepreneur cohort focused on health, equity and sustainability in the food system. In 2017, she returned to Rich Products to join the newly established Rich products Corporate Venture Fund. Sarah has an MBA from Duke University and a BA from Princeton University.

Mike Woelk (CEO & Co-Founder of Corigin)

Mike Woelk

CEO & Co-Founder of Corigin

Mike serves as CEO and co-founder of Corigin Solutions, a startup that converts low value farm wastes into high value organic products that help farmers regenerate profits, soils and the planet.
Before founding Corigin, Mike was the CEO of Picarro, Inc., a startup that revolutionized the way researchers study carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles through scientific measurements. In this capacity, he guided the venture capital backed technology company through the global financial collapse into the world’s #1 producer of high precision instruments for greenhouse gas and ecological measurements two years later. He then refocused the company into to a cloud-based, managed services model that transformed environmental compliance and asset integrity management processes for natural gas utilities.
Before being recruited to lead Picarro, Mike served as a senior executive and Vice President Global Marketing and Business Development at Varian, Inc., a $1B public diversified scientific instrument company. Mike founded his first startup, Metachem Technologies, in 1991 which was acquired by Varian in 2000. Metachem was a manufacturer of consumables and instruments for pharmaceutical and chemical research.
Mike is a TEDx speaker and has been recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in Davos, IHS-Cera Energy Innovation Pioneer and a CNBC Disruptor.

Gregory Yep (EVP, Chief Scientific & Sustainability Officer at International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.)

Gregory Yep

EVP, Chief Scientific & Sustainability Officer at International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.

Dr. Gregory Yep was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific & Sustainability Officer in June 2016. He guides the Company’s global R&D strategy, leading and developing IFF’s efforts in innovation, technological development and external collaborations, furthering IFF’s legacy of pioneering firsts. He is responsible for the Company’s global sustainability efforts, a key enabler of our Vision 2020 business strategy.

Dr. Yep joined IFF after holding the position of Senior Vice President of R&D at PepsiCo, where he created long-term science-based strategies for core ingredients and their impact on food, flavor, metabolism and nutrition. He was also responsible for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute - a facility aimed at expanding knowledge on sports nutrition and exercise science to enhance the performance and well-being of athletes. Prior to this, Dr. Yep was Global Vice President, Application Technologies at Givaudan Flavors and Fragrances. While there, he led a diverse global technology group and was responsible for R&D of taste and flavor delivery technology worldwide. Earlier in his career at McCormick & Company, he held executive roles of increasing responsibility in food science. He was appointed to the Board of Directors for J.M. Huber Engineered Materials Company in May 2020 and currently serves on multiple advisory boards, the United States Tennis Association National Sports Science Committee and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Council. Dr. Yep is a recipient of the Apex for Youth Inspiration Award in recognition for serving underserved youth in New York City; and is also a Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Excellence in Flavor Science awardee.

It was while at the University of Pennsylvania that Dr. Yep’s 30-year journey in taste, scent and nutrition began. While studying for his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, he worked as a researcher in the University’s Smell and Taste Center. Dr. Yep holds a master’s degree and a PhD in organic chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of IFF’s Executive Committee and is based in New Jersey, US.