SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 2017 — Radicle Growth , an acceleration fund dedicated to growing early stage agricultural and food technology startups into proven industry leaders, today announced the appointment of Jason Pyle, Paul Zorner, Sam Fiorello and Tom Urban to its team of experienced venture partners. Contributing decades of collective industry experience, Radicle’s newest partners add unique skills and operational expertise to its global Ag-focused network.
Founded in 2016 by AgTech venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors and an alliance of top Ag industry leaders, including Bayer Crop Science, DuPont Pioneer and OurCrowd, Radicle Growth offers a specialized platform to incubate high-quality AgTech companies that can solve global farming problems. The new Venture Partners join a global network of corporate, academic and industry leaders working with Radicle Growth to drive the future of agriculture.
“These four impressive individuals hold a wealth of industry knowledge and will play an instrumental role helping our portfolio companies meet their next value inflection point and earn their next round of funding,” said Kirk Haney, CEO and managing partner, Radicle Growth. “Through the Radicle ecosystem, they will have visibility into the most innovative Ag and food tech startups around the globe. In close collaboration with Radicle’s extensive bench of Ag experts, researchers and proven entrepreneurs, these partners will help mentor and guide the next generation of AgTech innovators to ensure they reach their full potential.”
Jason Pyle is an accomplished biotechnology executive with over 15 years of emerging technology experience. He founded and led successful biotechnology firms, including Triton Innovations, Fabric Media Inc., Sapphire Energy, Epoc Bioengineering Inc. and Pria Diagnostics. Pyle has received numerous awards for his contributions to biotechnology and his business leadership in the biological sciences, holds a number of pending and issued patents in the engineering and biological sciences, and has worked in diverse cross-discipline areas such as nanofabrication, optical engineering and structural biology. He earned both his M.D. and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Physiology from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Paul Zorner, a Finistere Venture Partner and CEO of Locus Agricultural Solutions, also holds Board positions for other private companies operating to increase agricultural diversity and productivity, improve the nutritional content of food and create more productive agricultural systems. He has done substantial work in human and animal health, synthetic biology and the production of high-value chemistry from sustainable resources. He has held scientific, development, operations and senior administrative positions within start-up and Fortune 500 companies, and has been a founder of several agricultural and renewable energy-based companies focused on providing local food and economic security. He holds a degree from Lewis and Clark College and a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Colorado State University.
Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer and senior vice president for administration and finance at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, has extensive experience managing financial, intellectual property and other operational functions. He is also president of Bio Research & Development Growth Park (BRDG Park) on the Danforth Center campus. Prior to joining the Danforth Center, he was chief of staff at Monsanto Company’s Office of the President, where he helped develop the business plan and initial pool of funding for the Danforth Plant Science Center. He holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas.
Tom Urban has more than 20 years of experience in the agricultural industry, working for large Ag companies and as the CEO of a successful Ag startup. He also founded Agribusiness Advisors to help drive success for early-stage agricultural businesses. He is passionate about providing advice to companies facing common Ag market, product and financing challenges and helping investors properly identify and evaluate early-stage Ag technologies. Urban holds a degree from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.
“There is a huge opportunity for Ag and food tech pioneers to improve the food value chain, but entrepreneurs need to overcome tremendous obstacles to flourish in the Ag arena,” noted Tom Urban, Founder of Agribusiness Advisors. “I’m looking forward to working with the Radicle Growth team to help entrepreneurs get access to funding, expertise and global network they need to build viable companies with the potential to reshape the future of food.”
Focused on solving growers’ greatest challenges surrounding productivity, sustainability and quality in food and agriculture, Radicle Growth invests in innovators in technology fields such as genomics and plant sciences, seed tech, biologicals for crop protection and regulation, digital Ag, and disruptive or novel farm systems. To learn more, visit radicle.vc.