Robert Berendes, PhD
Robert Berendes is co-owner and partner at a-connect, a global consulting firm and talent pool headquartered in Switzerland and a Venture Partner at Flagship Ventures. He is also a board member at Verdesian and an operating partner at Paine & Partners. His career has spanned leadership roles in consulting, business development, research & development, and operations. Previously, Robert was a member of the Executive Team at Syngenta International for more than 7 years, leading Global Business Development and R&D, after having been Head of Field Crops Seeds and Head of Strategy, Planning and M&A. During his tenure at Syngenta, Robert was responsible for more than 30 acquisitions and for establishing the leading Corporate Venture Capital group in the agricultural industry. Prior to Syngenta, Robert was a partner at McKinsey & Co., serving chemical, agricultural and industrial clients in Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia. Robert started his professional career at Procter & Gamble. He earned his doctorate in biophysics from the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry/Technical University in Munich.
Roger Beachy, PhD
Roger is founding director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis and President Emeritus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He was founding Executive Director and former CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security in 2013. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama as the first director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), where he served until 2011. He also served as Chief Scientist at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from January through October 2010, and was a 2001 recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture. Roger headed the Division of Plant Biology at The Scripps Research Institute from 1991 to 1998 and was also Professor and Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology and Co-Director of the International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology at Scripps. From 1979 to 1991, he was a biology faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, and served as director of the university’s Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology. Roger received a BA in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.
Peter Innes, PhD
Peter has over 30 years of experience in the agri-business and biotechnology industries, bringing biological solutions that have real plant impact to market. He was the former President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Becker Underwood, Inc., which was acquired by BASF in 2012. During his tenure at Becker Underwood, the company expanded from a single facility business in Iowa to a global company with operations on five continents. Prior to joining Becker Underwood, Peter was Group Managing Director of The MicroBio Group Limited, a manufacturer of bio-fertilizers and crop protection products that was acquired by Becker Underwood in 2000. He began his career at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, England. Peter earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Sciences from Imperial College, London.
President, CEO and Director
David is the President and CEO of Symbiota. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and built three innovative companies in the last 18 years, leading the last two through successful IPOs and to multi-billion dollar market capitalizations, and raising over $750 million, while generating significant returns for investors. David was most recently CEO and Co-Founder of Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANAC), a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel small-molecule therapeutics to treat infectious and inflammatory diseases. David previously co-founded and served as CEO of Chemdex, later creating its parent company Ventro Corporation, a business-to-business marketplace focused on the life sciences industry, and presided over Chemdex’s $130 million IPO as one of the first business-to-business e-commerce companies to go public. At its peak, Ventro was valued at $11 billion and was later sold to Nexprise. In 2000, David was named Entrepreneur of the Year in Northern California by Ernst and Young. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tulsa. He also attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he was a National Merit Scholar. David serves as a Director of the Infectious Disease Research Institute and the A.P. Giannini Foundation.
Ignacio is a Partner a Flagship Ventures, where he focuses on sustainability and life sciences investments with a special interest in the agricultural sector. Previously, Ignacio was the Managing Director of Syngenta Ventures, and was also involved in corporate venture capital activities, managing the relationship as limited partner with Life Science Partners BioVentures, and the Gilde European Food and Agribusiness. Prior to Syngenta, Ignacio was the Chief Financial Officer of Progenika Group and spent several years working for Najeti Ventures Fund. Ignacio holds a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration from Deusto University in Spain and an International MBA from Instituto de Empresa in Spain and WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.