Matt Barnard built his career leading teams to innovate with breathtaking speed and achieving complex milestones at scale. These teams designed and deployed over $1B of sophisticated technology infrastructure. A 6th generation farmer, Matt earned a Masters in Science from the Stanford GSB, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Northwestern University.
Donagh Berry is statistical geneticist at Teagasc, Moorepark, Ireland with professorship appointments at both University College Cork, Ireland and SRUC, UK. He is the director of the recently funded Science Foundation Ireland FutureMilk Agritech centre. Following his degree in Agricultural Science in University College Dublin, he undertook a PhD in dairy cattle genetics in collaboration with Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He is responsible for the research on the genetics and genomics of breeding in dairy cattle in Ireland and the development and implementation of national genomic evaluations in dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep in Ireland. His main interests are in the derivation of breeding goals, genetic and genomic evaluations, decision support tools and breeding programs.
Liam Chambers is a Strategy Manager at IBM Research in Dublin Ireland. IBM Research is one of the world’s largest and most influential corporate research organizations. With a history of sustained investment in basic research and core science. IBM Research collaborate across disciplines and partner with clients to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. IBM work with clients, and partners to design and develop Blockchain solutions from fully transparent food systems to, international trade and finance so businesses can extract valuable insights to improve virtually every aspect of their operations and enable innovative new business models.
Joe is the Chairman of the Dairy Sustainability Working Group, an industry led initiative, part of a whole of Govt/whole of Sector approach to addressing on-farm sustainability challenges with the Dairy Co-ops in Ireland. He has extensive experience in local and central Govt, and was formerly CEO and County Manager of Kilkenny County Council, and of Carlow County Council. He also worked in the Department of the Environment and Local Govt, Dublin, in planning policy, water services environmental policy, and housing regeneration.
Jean-Baptiste is the managing partner and founder of Capagro, the leading agricultural venture capital firm in France. He founded Capagro in 2014 after being the co-founder and partner at Agro Invest for 6 years. Before that he was the VP Development at Pernod Ricard and the CEO of their Flavors and Fragrances Group. He has also founded several companies. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and ENSAE.
Nicky is a General Partner and Head of Operations which involves her overseeing the day to day operations at the Yield Lab Ireland Accelerator, including investments, fundraising, portfolio, and company operations. This includes raising capital and dealing with the limited partners and investors, maintaining and managing a deal pipeline, running the due diligence process, and coordinating portfolio management, investments into portfolio companies, supporting those companies.
John Denniston is Chairman of the Board of Shared-X. Shared-X is an agriculture impact company aiming to generate strong investor returns, while at the same time lift thousands of smallholder farmers out of poverty, by collapsing the dramatic yield gap separating developed and emerging country crop production through the deployment of advanced, sustainable farming techniques.
John was previously a Senior Partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he co-founded and co-ran the firm’s $1 billion Green Growth Fund. KPCB’s Green Growth Fund invests in sustainability companies in their growth stage.
Prior to Kleiner Perkins, John was a Managing Director and Head of Technology Investment Banking for the Western United States at Salomon Smith Barney. He also served on the Investment Committees for Salomon’s venture capital/private equity direct investment fund, as well as CitiGroup’s venture capital fund-of-funds. Earlier in his career, John was a Partner with a large law firm, where he was Head of the firm’s Venture Capital practice, and Co-Head of its Information Technology practice group.
Dennis Donohue, former mayor of Salinas and Innovation Lead for Western Growers, is working to further develop the Western Growers’ Center for Innovation & Technology® (WGCIT) into a premier agtech startup incubator. In this role, Donohue is driving agtech initiatives, bolstering innovation programming, furthering facilitation of relationships between start-up companies and growers and spearheading business development at the WGCIT in Salinas, California.
Donohue has been lauded for his leadership in agriculture where he has played a key role in creating innovative business models, identifying new technologies and developing initiatives that integrate agtech and innovation into the business structure at organizations such as Cultiva Global, European Vegetable Specialties/Royal Rose, River Ranch Fresh Foods, Fresh Express Farms and Fresh Western Marketing. Additionally, his dedication to the community and region is unmatched. Donohue’s strong civic commitment includes his leadership as Salinas’ Mayor from 2006 to 2012 and serving on governing boards at the Grower Shipper Association of Central California, Salinas Chamber of Commerce and Steinbeck Innovation Foundation.
Donohue holds a master’s degree from Gannon University in religious education and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of San Francisco. He currently lives in Salinas with his wife, Paula.
The ISIF is a fund of €7 billion and part of the National Treasury Management Agency. ISIF has a mandate to Invest on a commercial basis to areas of productive investment in the Irish economy in order to support economic activity and employment.
The fund will have the flexibility to make investments across the capital structure of companies and projects, both debt and equity, and across a range of investment types and sectors.
Prior to joining ISIF Cathal worked in a private Agri consultancy company where he advised Banks and corporates on their Agri-food Investment and loan portfolios. He worked with the Irish Dairy Board from 1997 to 2012 in various senior finance and corporate finance roles and Finance Director from 2004. He lead the M&A function for this period completing 15 transactions.
He joined the Irish Dairy Board from Price Waterhouse.
Cathal holds a BComm from UCD, is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers.
Kieran heads the Finistere Ventures E.U. office in Dublin, Ireland – his native country to which he recently returned following 20 years overseas in the USA, Germany, the UK and Argentina. He started his career as a chemical engineer with ICI and spent a decade in the international chemical industry before moving to the world of start-ups. Recently he has been focused on the application of biologicals in crop and livestock agriculture.
Kirk Haney is the CEO and Managing Partner of Radicle Growth, an Ag and Food Tech accelerator fund focused on transforming the speed of innovation in agriculture. Under Kirk’s leadership, Radicle secured top tier financial and corporate investors including Finistere Ventures, $150M agtech fund, OurCrowd, $300M funding platform, Bayer Crop Science and DuPont Pioneer. Radicle is partnering with great entrepreneurs to bring disruptive innovation to market while leveraging the platform’s global network to accelerate the development of the new technologies.
Previously, Kirk served as President and CEO of SGB, an agricultural biotechnology company, from 2007 to 2014. Under Kirk’s leadership, SGB became a leader in the development of new crops for food, energy and industrial markets and raised $40M from institutional and corporate investors. Prior to SGB, Kirk was the Chairman and President of Green Millennium. Kirk raised more than $120M in venture and private equity to develop, plant, and manage sustainable reforestation programs in Central America. A majority share of the company was sold to a $3 billion private equity firm in 2007.
Prior to his work in sustainable agriculture, he held senior management positions for 3Com Corporation, ArrowPoint Communications (acquired by Cisco Systems for $5.9B) and Cisco Systems.
Kirk earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and is fluent in Spanish and German. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), is Co-Chair of the YPO Global Agriculture Group and he also serves on the board of advisors for the Ag Innovation Showcase. Kirk is a proud father and he is passionate about food, health and sustainability.
Prof. Edmond Harty is CEO of Dairymaster, one of the leading dairy innovation and technology companies in the world. Innovation in agriculture is his passion in life and he has dedicated his career to making dairy farming more profitable, enjoyable and sustainable.
While completing his PhD in University College Dublin he developed a new method for the evaluation of milking units by measuring performance under flow conditions. This research has resulted in the test methods being adopted into the international standards for performance measurement of machine milking and Dairymaster leads the way in these performance measurements.
Prof. Harty’s concentration is always on future possibilities, scientifically developed and proven. The level of patent applications (over 90 so far) speaks to his commitment to innovation.
Dairymaster’s unique milking benefits and performance advantages have enabled the company to break into new markets worldwide. They milk each cow an average of one minute faster and typically deliver 5% more yield in scientific trials. The focus is not just on the livestock. The milking machine can talk to the operator through the entire process like a dairy sat nav. for the farmer.
He was the overall winner of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and represented Ireland in the World Entrepreneur of the Year. Through his vision and direction Dairymaster have been awarded 14 Innovation Awards across the globe for their ground-breaking products including their cloud based MooMonitor+, their Swiftflo Revolver Goat Rotary milking parlour and their Swiftflo Commander.
He has a strong background in engineering and science, and is regarded as one of the world’s pioneers in agricultural technology. He has an impressive track record of combining leading research with successful commercialisation of the resulting intellectual property.
In the last few months, Prof. Harty has:
• been awarded its highest honour, the Parsons Medal by Irish Academy of Engineering
• been appointed as Adjunct Full Professor in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD) College of Engineering and Architecture
• received an Alumni Award for engineering and architecture from UCD. He was recognised by UCD for his creativity, ambition, determination and leadership which has helped make Dairymaster one of the most successful agritech businesses in the international arena.
When asked to explain the success of Dairymaster on an international level Prof.Harty says “I am fascinated how technology can have a major impact on the efficiency of dairy farming, how to do things better, easier, faster and more sustainable than ever before.
The Dairymaster philosophy is to be the best in the world at what we do.
Mel has over 25 years’ international experience in senior management roles with companies such as Rentokil Initial (UK), Fiserv (USA) and Changing Worlds (Ireland) bought out by Amdocs (USA). While having extensive experience in senior finance roles from the early 90’s he has also developed his skills across sales, operations and general management with a particular lean towards scaling businesses.
Nitza has 20 years of experience working in senior management positions at life science companies. Previously, she served as VP Business Development at TechnionSeed, the technological incubator founded by the Technion R&D Foundation 2, Ltd., where she was responsible for the life sciences and cleantech fields.
Previously, Nitza managed business development at Rafael Development Cooperation; served as CEO of Clal Life Sciences, a R&D center for emerging life science companies; and was CEO of UroGyn, a start-up that developed minimally invasive surgical tools.
Nitza earned her Ph.D. (life sciences) and M.Sc. from Tel Aviv University (both with distinction) and studied law at Tel Aviv University. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Plant Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Richard Kennedy has been working in the business of agriculture for his entire working life from his early life in the family Livestock Mart to being part of Devenish Nutrition since 1998. He has been key to development of the independent and innovative strategy which underpins Devenish.
In Devenish he has held a variety of roles including Pig Nutritionist, Export Director, Operations Director and Sales Director. During this time he has represented the company throughout the world, he is presently Group Chief Executitive.
Richard lives in Aclare Co. Sligo with his wife Jacqueline sons Oisin, Rian and daughter Molly.
He has a keen interest in sport especially GAA and Rugby.
Richard holds a B.Agr.Sc. from University College Dublin.
Arama Kukutai is a co-founder and Partner at Finistere Ventures a pioneer in the Agriculture and Food technology sectors founded in 2005 and actively investing from its second fund. Mr. Kukutai has been a company founder and entrepreneur in the Agribusiness sector with over 20 years experience. He served as Executive Chairman of PKW Farms, a successful agribusiness and diversified investment entity involved in dairy farming and aquaculture activities in New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Arama also led the New Zealand government’s Trade & Investment agency in North America, following which he emigrated to the USA. He has led the creation of Finistere’s global network in Agtech which includes offices in Tel Aviv, San Diego and Silicon Valley, and Dublin, Ireland . Mr. Kukutai serves on the boards as a Director or Observer of current portfolio companies Crop Pro Insurance, CropX, Plenty, Taranis and Zeakal. Mr. Kukutai is an active member of the Agtech investing community and regular presenter at leading industry events. Finistere is one of the leading Agtech focused venture funds and partnered with industry leaders including Agrium, Bayer, Pepsico and International Farming Corporation.
Alex Lykken is a senior analyst at PitchBook, which Morningstar acquired in 2016. He helps produce and disseminate highly customized research projects and white papers for PitchBook clients. He rejoined the company in 2017 after working in PitchBook’s editorial division between 2012 and 2015, when he wrote research reports covering the private equity and venture capital industries as well as the global M&A landscape. Between stints at PitchBook he worked with Global Portfolio Solutions, the OCIO division of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where he led product management and thought leadership efforts for large institutional clients like corporate pensions, college endowments, sovereign wealth funds and central banks. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from Central Washington University.
Barry O’Dowd is Global Manager of two of IDA Irelands most dynamic Divisions, Emerging Business and New Forms of Investment. Emerging Business Division focusses on attracting fast growth early stage companies to Ireland. Whilst the New Forms of Investment Division identifies potential inward investment from areas that IDA Ireland has not traditionally focused upon – the Marine, Arts Culture & Sport, Energy Services, Infrastructure, Property and Agtech. In addition NFI also focusses on Converging Platform Technologies – Robotics, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics.
IDA Ireland is Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency, and is a non-commercial semi-state body promoting Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland through a wide range of services.
Prior to his current position Barry headed up IDA Irelands Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Division. Currently 9 of the World’s Top 10 Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies have businesses located in Ireland and Barry led an IDA team which delivered a number of significant projects from these companies.
Barry completed his Master’s programme in Trinity College, Dublin in Strategic Management and is also a Barrister of Law. He recently completed a Certificate in Company Direction and a Diploma in Board Performance with the Institute of Directors, Dublin. Continuous learning, with an emphasis on business principles and practices, has always been a priority for him.
From 2002 to 2005 Barry lived in New Jersey, US with his family whilst on a career break from IDA Ireland and worked with AKZO Nobel.
Barry’s career path and skills demonstrates his leadership capabilities to design and execute winning programmes, requiring vision and flexibility, in a highly competitive market for FDI from global businesses.
Born and raised near Lyon, France, Fabien moved to Ireland in 1996 aged 21. He has 20 years experience solving business challenges through the use of technology. Invented the concept of Herdwatch in 2011 while employed as IT Manager by FRS Network, a trusted and long-established farming sector organisation, and has been researching, developing and managing the company since, from proof of concept to a trusted platform with 6,000 paying customers, a 95% CSAT rating and near 90% renewal rate over 3 years.
Mitchell Presser is the head of Freshfields’ US M&A practice and focuses on global business transactions, including M&A and leveraged buyouts, for international corporations and financial institutions. Mitchell gained his skills and knowledge of the food and agriculture industry through wide experience on both sides of transactions, adviser and principal. From 2006 to 2013, Mitchell was a founding partner of Paine and Partners LLC, a private equity firm managing a $1.2bn fund focused on investing in food and agribusiness. Previously, Mitchell was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he concentrated on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, leveraged buyouts, corporate governance and securities law matters. Mitchell received his JD from Yale Law School and a BS in accounting from New York University.
Ofir Schlam, CEO of Taranis, is a fourth-generation farmer. Raised in Israel, he comes from a family of farmers who have grown cotton and wheat for the last 4 generations. His professional career started when he began his B.Sc. in Math & Computer Science at the age of 16 as part of a program for outstanding students at BIU and graduated Summa Cum Laude at the age of 19. For his military service, Ofir served in an elite technological unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, where he was involved in developing and leading groundbreaking technology projects. During that time he also earned his M.Sc in cryptography at age of 22. Ofir moved up in the organization and in his last position before starting Taranis he managed an R&D department of 15 software engineers on classified projects. Ofir and his 3 co-founders started Taranis in 2015 with a mission to help farmers protect their crops more efficiently.
Tom Snipes is CEO of PlantResponse Biotech, a plant innate immunity company. Tom has 25+ years of experience across the global agriculture value chain—including crop protection, primary and secondary plant nutrients, specialty products, manufacturing, retail/distribution, and business development. Prior to PlantResponse, Tom served as Eastern Business Unit Director at Pinnacle Agriculture (a holding of Apollo Capital Management) where he grew the Eastern US via an aggressive greenfield and acquisition strategy. Previously, he spent nine years in several senior positions at Koch Agronomic Services, most notably as VP of Business Development where he spearheaded a number of growth and acquisition strategies. Tom holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Ron Stern is a General Partner, Head of Portfolio at OurCrowd, one of the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platforms focused on primarily Israel related, high tech investments. Ron’s investing career includes serving as a partner at Shamrock, the Disney family investment arm and as an international advisor to the Pritzker Group. Prior to OurCrowd Ron held an operating role as CFO of Albert, an AI marketing company where he led the Company’s public offering on the London Stock Exchange. Ron has a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University and an MBA from Columbia University.
Albena works for the Business Development Unit of Sumitomo Corporation Europe, where she is part of the team taking care of agtech investments. Sumitomo Corporation is looking to leverage its vast global agrifood business portfolio by pursuing opportunities in ag-food tech in Europe.
Tomer Tzach is the CEO of CropX. Tomer is a seasoned executive with two decades of experience leading high-growth startups. Prior to CropX, he cofounded and led ecommerce platform Clixie and spun out Zoara (now part of the Dalumi Group). He also served as CEO of ViewScore, which was acquired by MyThings.
A former software technical leader at Intel and partner at Eurofund focused on software, communication and Internet technologies, Tzach has an extensive technology background. After dedicating seven years to the Israeli Air Force as a pilot, he earned an M.B.A. from the University of Haifa (summa cum laude) and a B.A. in computer science from the Technion.
As president & CEO of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Joy Parr Drach brings a unique combination of agribusiness and new product introduction expertise. She has successfully launched more than 30 new products or ag initiatives ranging from dairy parlors to crop protection products. Her work on these launches has included product ideation and development, market research, channel strategy and management, pricing strategy and implementation, supply chain management, marketing communications planning and implementation, sales force training, and design and implementation of customer relationship management systems. Before joining AAD, she was the founder and senior partner of Entira, a management and marketing consulting firm for food and agribusiness companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 industry leaders. In addition to company leadership and personnel development, her client work there focused on corporate strategy, customer acquisition and retention strategies, product launch, organizational design and resource allocation, marketing strategy, and market research. Joy started her career in ag public relations. Joy understands the problems AAD’s products can help solve from the perspective of a customer because she owns and manages a purebred cattle operation and is involved in a family grain farming enterprise as well. Joy serves on the North Carolina Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Council and is actively involved in the Illinois Simmental and Illinois Junior Simmental Associations. She earned a bachelor of science in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago.
Share your email to be notified about upcoming events, receive leading industry news and more.
Let GAI News inform your engagement in the agriculture sector.
Receive weekly emails with ag investing and agtech news and insight. Click below to check out our subscription options.