Team

Management

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Thad Simons

Thad Simons is co-founder and Managing Director of The Yield Lab. From 2001 to 2014, he led Novus as President and CEO in its growth into a global animal health and nutrition company with sales exceeding US $1 billion.
Thad currently serves on various non-profit boards including Nine Network of Public Media, Grand Center Inc. (Vice Chair), Maryville University, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, The Green House Venture, and The Yield Lab Institute (President). Thad has also previously served on the boards of the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis Zoological Association, United Way of St. Louis, Corporate Council on Africa, National Chicken Council, American Feed Industry Association and International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (President). Thad also serves on the board of two AgTech startups: Ascus Biosciences and Proviera. Thad previously served on the corporate boards of Novus International, Inc. and ESM Technologies, Inc. Thad’s awards and recognitions include: International Businessperson of the Year, World Trade Center of St. Louis, 2001; International Visionary Award, Boeing Institute of International Business, 2007; Heroes of the Planet Award, St. Louis Business Journal, 2009; Entrepreneur of the Year, Central Midwest-Bioscience, Ernst & Young, 2010; Entrepreneur of the Year, National Distribution and Manufacturing, Ernst & Young, 2010; and Agribusiness Leader of the Year, National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), 2013.
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Jeff Peterson

Jeff Peterson is co-founder and Managing Director of the Yield Lab. He is on the board of the Center for Emerging Technologies in St Louis as an Executive Team member. He previously worked for Monsanto’s strategy group, as Vice President of Strategic Negotiations. He has also served as the Chairman of the Board for Thrive St Louis. Jeff graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and received an MBA from the Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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Chris Danforth

Chris Danforth is co-founder and Managing Director of the Yield Lab. Additionally, he is a General Partner with the Cultivation Capital Life Science fund and an Investment Committee member of the Cultivation Capital Technology Fund. Chris also sits on the Board of Directors of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and is Chairman of the Board of Kennelwood Pet Resorts

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Tom Adamitis

Tom Adamitis is co-founder and Managing Director of The Yield Lab. He formerly served as the Global Vice President of Raw Materials and Energy Procurement for Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the world’s largest consumer product companies. He supported ABI’s global brewery footprint and managed annual spend exceeding $4.5 billion. Tom earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Illinois.  He later received his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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Brian Clevinger

Brian L. Clevinger is a co-founder and Managing Director of The Yield Lab. He is also a founder and managing director of Prolog Ventures. Before Prolog, he was the CEO of Megan Health, a vaccine developer. He held this position from Megan’s inception until its acquisition by AVANT Immunotherapeutics. Previously, he was the president of A/W Company, a technology transfer partnership of the private equity firm Alafi Capital and Washington University.  Before joining A/W Company, he held a tenured position and headed a research laboratory at Washington University. Brian holds a doctoral degree in immunology from Indiana University and was a NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University.

Bob Nordgren

Dr. Robert Nordgren is a Managing Director at The Yield Lab. Bob has been engaged in the Animal Health Industry as a leader in the discovery, development and marketing of veterinary vaccines and biotherapeutics for the past 30 years, most recently with Merial and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. Over that span, Bob has been involved in a long string of industry-first classes of vaccines and market-leading products in each of the major animal species. Additionally, Bob has led global development teams, formed new biotechnology labs in China, and recently helped to identify new technologies leading to the formation of active independent start-up companies.

Paul Finnerty

Paul Finnerty is the Chairman of our Yield Lab Ireland operation which covers the European territory. Previously Paul was CEO of ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s largest privately owned agri businesses, which had a turnover of $3bn and employed 10,000 people in 42 production facilities around Europe in beef, lamb, convenience foods, pet food and renewable energy. [ABP was a leading player in sustainability leadership and the first food business in Europe to achieve triple accreditation from the independent UK Carbon Trust for its activities in addressing carbon, water, and waste footprint reduction programs]. Prior to joining ABP Paul was a partner with KPMG Corporate Finance in Ireland, where he was responsible for leading the firm’s advisory offering in financing to government, industry and real estate clients.

Operations

Michelle Meyers

Michelle Myers is Director of Operations at Cultivation Capital, a venture firm focused on investing in technology and life sciences companies. Michelle helps manage legal and operational matters for Cultivation Capital’s offices in St. Louis and Nashville. Michelle is responsible for working with the investment team on deal structuring, negotiation, and execution in regards to Cultivation Capital’s investment activities. She also assists with portfolio-management, fund structuring and administration, and regulatory-compliance matters. Before joining Cultivation Capital, Michelle counseled entrepreneurs on operational and transactional matters through St. Louis University’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. Michelle received her J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law in 2014 with an emphasis in business transactional law.

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Matt Plummer

Matt Plummer is the Principal at Yield Lab. Matt is responsible for the day to day investment and accelerator operations and driving the strategy of the Yield Lab. Matt graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science. From 2006-2014, Matt lived in Salt Lake City attending school and was a competing member of the U.S. Speedskating Team. While retired from competition, Matt still remains an active part of the U.S. Speedskating organization and serves on its Board of Directors and Chair of the Athletes’ Advisory Council. After Matt returned to St. Louis in January 2014, he worked for the start up company Arvegenix before joining the Yield Lab. Matt is currently enrolled in the Washington University in St. Louis MBA program expecting to graduate in 2018.

Connie Bowen

Connie Bowen is the Program Manager at Yield Lab. At the Yield Lab, Connie is responsible for accelerator operations in St. Louis. She recently graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.S. in General Engineering and is a fellow with Venture for America. At Swarthmore, she was a captain and starting goalie on the women’s NCAA DIII lacrosse team.

Advisors

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Jerry Steiner

Jerry Steiner served as an Executive Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at Monsanto. He serves as a Director and Vice Chairman of the Food and Agriculture Section at Biotechnology Industry Organization. He is also a Founder and Board Member of the Global Harvest Initiative. Jerry holds an M.B.A. from Washington University and a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from University of Wisconsin.

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Eric Jackson

Eric Jackson has over 30 years of commercial agriculture experience. He has served as Market Development Manager for the Pillsbury Company, CEO & President of International Proteins Corporation, and Senior Vice President and Director of the Scoular Company. He co-founded CP Holdings LLC and served as CEO-in-Residence for Renewable Energy with the Office for Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota. As co-founder of Conservis Corp, he currently serves as President of Ag Services

Todd Bastean

Todd Bastean has been with Bunge North America for 22 years and currently serves as the CEO of Bunge North America since 2013. Prior to his role as CEO, he was the CFO (2010) and vice president and chief administrative officer of Bunge’s milling and biofuels business units and vice president and chief administrative officer of its grain and milling business units. He has a B.S. in Accounting from Western Illinois University.

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Dr. Ganesh Kishore

Dr. Kishore has a distinguished track record of accomplishments in biotechnology research and development and business. He left DuPont in 2007 where he was Chief Biotechnology Officer to join Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund (MLSCF) as its CEO and later cofounded Spruce Capital Partners in 2013. Dr. Kishore is an entrepreneur and has co-founded three successful entities since 2002. Two of the three entities are now parts of publicly traded entities (Tata/Rallis in India and Evolva in Switzerland) while the third business entity (Mogene LC in USA) serves both as an incubator of new ideas as well as a provider of genomic services across agriculture, health care and environment. He serves on the board of three publicly listed entities, three privately held companies and the Advisory Board of Washington University. He is also an advisor to multinational companies and Scientific American.

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Steve Trampe

Steve Trampe founded or co-founded seven different companies in five different industries. He is currently Chairman of Sequoia Sciences, a plant based drug discovery company and is a very active director of Elemental Enzymes, a stabilized enzyme company involved in the agricultural industry. Steve is also Chairman of the Building Arts Foundation, Vice Chairman of Opera America and a principal in Owen Development. He has judged numerous business plan competitions, mentored many start-up companies and heard and reviewed hundreds of investment proposals.

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Jim Hoffmeister

Jim Hoffmeister is currently the Owner and Chairman of Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California. Jim has executive level experience leading Fortune 100, privately held and self-owned businesses. Jim was Group VP and member of Strategy Committee of Anheuser-Busch Companies from 1967-2006. He has also served as CEO of Wherenberg Theaters & Real Estate Company as well as CEO of W.K. Busch Brewing Company. Jim is also an internal Board member of all Anheuser-Busch subsidiaries, Board Member of Delta Dental, Advisory Board Member for multiple University of Missouri Committees, Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Salvation Army, Advisory Board member of Sisters of St. Mary Hospital, Chairman of Busch Soccer Club, tutors university and high school students and is a volunteer coach.

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Rick Greubel

Rick Greubel has served as Kaiima’s Chief Executive Officer since 2015.  Rick most recently worked as President of the Human Nutrition & Health for DSM (2010 to 2015) , the world’s leading supplier of nutritional ingredients to the Pharma, food and feed industries. Previously, Rick served as a Group VP and International President at Tyson Foods (2006 to 2010) and before that held a number of positions at Monsanto (1984-2006). While President of Monsanto Brazil (2001-2006), Rick was responsible for the seeds, traits and herbicide business. Rick has a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School AMP program.

Sharon Berberich

Sharon Berberich has over 30 years experience in agtech R&D and business development. Most recently, she served as the Head of US Operations at Kaiima Bio Agritech from 2014-2016. Sharon held positions as New Business Development & Venture Investment Leader at Dow AgroSciences from 2008-2014, the Director of International Programs at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center from 2007-2008. She has prior startup experience, serving as the Vice President of Business Development and Licensing at Chlorogen, a biopharmaceutical start-up out of St. Louis. Before that, she worked at Monsanto from 1984-2002 with multiple roles in Ag Biotech R&D, regulatory and business.

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Chris Knight

Chris Knight’s goal is to advise and assist creative start-up ventures with a desire to apply their technologies in the livestock industry either through animal nutrition or animal health. His 30+ years of experience in a global company with leadership roles in research, product development and business development have provided him with a variety of experiences and a broad network of collaborators

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Bil Davies

William Davies has worked in the animal health industry since 1972. During his career he has operated in a management capacity for companies such as JenSal Laboratories, Solvay Animal Health, Syntro Corporation, Benchmark Biolabs and Pacific Vet Group. Bill’s involvement with entrepreneurial ventures over the past 30 years have included founding and building successful technology based companies addressing global opportunities for poultry, swine, cattle, and companion animals

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Patrick Moore

Patrick J. Moore is the President and CEO of PJM Advisors, LLC, a private equity investment and advisory firm which maintains an affiliate relationship with a large New York-based private equity firm. He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. He also serves as a director of Archer Midland Company and Exelis, Inc. while also serving on the North American Review Board of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc.

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Sam Fiorello

Sam Fiorello is Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He is also President of Bio-Research & Development Growth Park (BRDG Park) on the Danforth Center campus. Sam earned a B.A. in Business from the University of Wisconsin and an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Texas.

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Dr. Andy Renz

Dr. Andy Renz Andy has over 13 years of industry experience in agricultural technology validation and business development. In 2017, he joined the biological insecticides company Vestaron Corporation as VP Business Development. Before that he worked as independent consultant for various AgTech start-up companies and VC firms. From 2014-2016 he served as VP Business Development at Benson Hill Biosystems. Prior to that Andy spent 15 years with BASF Plant Science, responsible for technology scouting and acquisition in Europe and America. He has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Advisory Committee for the Ag Innovation Showcase (USA), Growcentia, Inc. (CO), GAI Week (USA), and Agri Innovation Forum (CAN). Andy has a Ph.D. in Plant Science and Biochemistry from the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

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James McCarter

James McCarter is a leading St. Louis-based bioentrepreneur. He was the Founder, President, and Chief Scientific Officer of Divergence, Inc., a world leader in the application of genomics and informatics to agriculture and infectious disease. He completed his medical and doctoral training at Washington University, receiving the Victor Hamburger Prize in developmental biology. Dr. McCarter was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) with Monsanto Growth Ventures and is currently a Senior EIR with BioGenerator.

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Alan McGregor

Alan McGregor farms in Nashua, Iowa – it is a fourth generation family farm with his son joining the operation. The family operates a 3,000 acre corn and soybean farm. They also have a 1,200 head beef feedlot and 150 head beef cow-calf herd.

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Sam Schatz

Sam Schatz, Managing Director of Corporate Development for AeroFarms, a clean-technology company that builds and operates responsible, state-of- the art indoor vertical farms in urban environments around the world, helping set new standards for culinary freshness and flavor.  Previous experience includes Berlin based Wermuth Asset Management where he advised on investments into privately-held clean technology companies and London-based Active Earth Investments where he led investment into listed mining and mid-cap industrial companies with a focus on socially responsible business practices and solutions. Sam is a recipient of the prestigious Alfa Fellowship and received his Masters in Management from the London School of Economics where he was the President and Founder of the Graduate Management Society and his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University where he served on the Student Advisory Board to the Columbia University Earth Institute.

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Ryan Holdmeyer

Ryan Holdmeyer works for River Bluff Farm Inc. in Washington, MO, where he has been raising corn and soybeans for 20 years. His fields are located in the Missouri River bottoms and on the bluffs that over look the Missouri River. His farm has been has been using precision farming technologies since 2004 and continue to add the technologies on annual basis. Some of the technologies we use are Variable Rate Fertilizing and Seeding as well as Auto Steer on tractors and Combines and Automatic Swath Control on sprayers and planters. Ryan holds an Associates Degree in Business Management and Marketing from East Central College.

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Davin Althoff

Davin Althoff’s roots in the agriculture industry are planted deep as a fourth generation farmer. Having been born and raised on a diversified crop and livestock farm in southern Moniteau County, Missouri. Davin has a deep passion for our agriculture industry. After high school, he began farming with his father raising cattle and crops. Today, the family operation consists of a cow/calf, stocker/backgrounder, and small grain operation.
Along with the responsibility of the family farming operation, Davin is also the Chief Financial Officer/Business Director for the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Davin earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Agribusiness and a Minor in Business Administration from Lincoln University and a Master’s of Business Administration from William Woods University. Davin has served on various local boards, including his local county cattlemen’s, which included a term as President. He currently serves as a member of the corporate board of directors for MFA Inc., a farmer owned cooperative serving more than 45,000 members.