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Past Conferences

Conference Details - Speakers

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2018 MIT Startup Workshop - AgTech

AgTech
September 26, 2018
 
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Adam Behrens
CEO, Cambridge Crops
Adam Behrens is CEO of Cambridge Crops and has spent his career developing and translating polymer-related technologies in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, and nutrition. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral associate in the Langer Lab at MIT, where he still retains affiliate status. Behrens managed several projects, including the scale-up and clinical trial design/implementation of a nutrient stabilizing fortification technology. He was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017. Behrens holds a BS in chemical engineering and a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Maryland.
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Marcus Dahllöf
Program Director, MIT Startup Exchange
Marcus Dahllöf leads MIT Startup Exchange, which facilitates connections between MIT-connected startups and corporate members of the MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP). Dahllöf manages networking events, workshops, the STEX25 accelerator, opportunity postings, and helps define the strategic direction of MIT Startup Exchange. He is a two-time tech entrepreneur (one exit in cybersecurity), and has previously held roles in finance, software engineering, corporate strategy, and business development at emerging tech companies and Fortune 100 corporations in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Marcus was a member of the Swedish national rowing team and he is a mentor at the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.
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James Gado
Senior Director, Corporate Relations
Welcome
Day 1, 8:55
James E. Gado manages relations with US, European, and Middle Eastern companies with a focus on developing a broader MIT presence in the MENA region. Gado has oversight responsibility for the MIT Startup Exchange program and managers.

Gado comes to MIT after more than 25 years in the specialty materials and chemical industry. His experience spans the sectors of construction, microelectronics, automotive, and food/beverage packaging all on a global basis. The majority of his career was spent at W.R. Grace & Co., with positions also at American Cyanamid Company and Teradyne, Inc.

Gado has held leadership positions at the director level for mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, marketing, and research and development management. He has developed new business, both organically and via acquisition, across the globe including the emerging markets of China and India. His domestic investment experience includes collaboration with Grace/Horn Venture Partners.
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Rei Goffer
Cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer, ClimaCell
Rei Goffer is the cofounder and chief strategy officer of ClimaCell. He served for ten years in the Israeli Air-Force as an F-16 Navigator and held managerial positions in the join-operations unit and R&D department. Goffer holds a BA in economics from Ben Gurion University, an MBA from MIT Sloan, and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School.
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Sorin Grama
Cofounder, Transaera
Sorin Grama is the CEO of Transaera, which develops energy-efficient climate systems for indoor farms using a novel desiccant material. Previously, Grama cofounded and served as CEO and CTO of Promethean Power Systems, a manufacturer of thermal energy storage systems for refrigeration and cold-storage applications. He was the principal inventor of Promethean’s thermal battery. Grama is also one of the founders of Greentown Labs, a grassroots effort which has grown to become the nation’s largest cleantech incubator. He is trained as an electrical engineer, holds an MS in engineering and management from MIT, and currently teaches an undergraduate product design course at MIT.
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Expertise Link
617-304-4112

Caleb Harper
Principal Investigator and Director, OpenAg, MIT Media Lab
Panel Discussion
Day 1, 11:20
Caleb Harper is the principal investigator and director of the Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg) at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads a group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists, and plant scientists in the exploration and development of high performance urban agricultural systems. Under his guidance, this diverse group (which he calls an “anti-disciplinary group”) is developing an open-source agricultural hardware, software, and data common aiming to create a more agile, transparent, and collaborative food system.
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Alan Kriz
Strategic Alliance Manager, Crop Science, Bayer
Panel Discussion
Day 1, 11:20
Alan Kriz is Global Strategic Alliance Manager and Crop Science Lead at Bayer LifeHub Boston. He has 30 years of experience in the agbiotech sector with Bayer, Monsanto (including DeKalb Genetics and Renessen LLC), BASF Plant Science, and as a faculty member at the University of Illinois. Kriz’s entire career has focused on the delivery of innovative solutions to agriculture. He holds a BA in biology from Hiram College and a PhD in genetics from Indiana University.
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Bakur Kvezereli
Cofounder and CEO, Ztractor
Bakur Kvezereli is cofounder and CEO of Ztractor, a Palo Alto based autonomous electric tractor company. Ztractor's mission is to rethink current farming practice and introduce the future of AI-powered agriculture machinery. The startup has partnered with OEMs in the United States and Europe, and the first model will be delivered to customers in California in 2019.
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Michael Miille
CEO, Joyn Bio
Michael Miille is the CEO of Joyn Bio, a joint venture founded by Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks which develops engineered beneficial microbes for plants to provide growers with next generation solutions. Before Joyn Bio, Miille was Head of Biologics within Bayer’s Crop Science division. Prior to its acquisition by Bayer, he spent eight years with AgraQuest, Inc. as CEO and as President & COO. Miille holds a BS in biological sciences from Stanford and a PhD in agricultural and environmental chemistry from the University of California at Davis.
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Tejal Mody
Managing Director; Head, Strategy and Business Development; Interim Head, F&A Innovation Platforms, Rabobank
Panel Discussion
Day 1, 11:20
Tejal is a Managing Director and Head of Business Development and Interim Head of Food & Ag Start-up Innovation for the North American corporate banking business at Rabobank, a Dutch global bank that operates in 40 countries and specializes in the food, agriculture, and renewable energy sectors. She oversees strategy, digital innovation and partnerships, F&A innovation platforms, marketing, and sustainability. Prior to Rabobank, she spent many years at the global consulting firm, Oliver Wyman. Mody has an undergraduate degree from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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Fabricio Pezente
Cofounder and CEO, Traive Finance
Fabricio Pezente is cofounder and CEO of Traive, an agri-fintech startup which aims at unlocking credit to farmers by connecting them to lenders and by providing ML-based credit risk assessment. Pezente is an executive with thirteen years of experience in banking, mostly in derivatives and credit. At MIT, he focused on technologies that impact the financial industry, participating in projects using smart contracts and AI algorithms for risk patterns recognition. Traive has been accepted into MassChallenge and Techstars, which are helping to develop its pilot.
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Jan Schnorr
CEO, C2Sense
Panel Discussion
Day 1, 11:20
Jan Schnorr is Chief Executive Officer of C2Sense. Previously, he was a postdoctoral associate in the Swager laboratory (Department of Chemistry at MIT), and also completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at MIT. During this time, he has worked on functionalized carbon nanotubes and carbon nanotube based chemical sensors. He has published 13 peer-reviewed papers with a total of over 300 citations. He is co-inventor on six patents/patent applications, including C2Sense’s ethylene sensing and rapid prototyping technology.
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Merry Smith
Senior Scientist, C2Sense
Merry Smith is a Senior Scientist at C2Sense. In her research career, Smith has published 12 peer-reviewed papers focused on the study of carbon-rich framework-based nanomaterials from experimental and theoretical perspectives and the practical application of these and related nanomaterials as chemical sensors. She received her doctorate in chemistry from Wesleyan University, where she worked in Professor Northrop’s laboratory. Smith also served as a postdoctoral scholar at Dartmouth College under the supervision of Professor Mirica.
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Dilip Sundaram
President, Corporate, Mahindra Group - Americas
Corporate Keynote
Day 1, 10:55
Panel Discussion
Day 1, 11:20
Dilip Sundaram is the President of Corporate Affairs at Mahindra Group Americas. Preceding this role, he was President of Mahindra Korea. Sundaram joined Mahindra Group as Senior VP and CFO of SsangYong Motors, one of Mahindra Group’s largest subsidiaries. Previously, Sundaram served in various senior management positions in finance and operations for blue chip companies, such as United Technologies, ArvinMeritor, and PWC. His career spans eight countries across four continents. Sundaram is an economics honors graduate from Calcutta University, received his MBA from the University of Rochester, and is a certified Chartered Accountant.
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Philip Wender
Managing Director, Advanced Potash Technologies
Philip Wender is a managing director at Advanced Potash Technologies and joined the company about three years ago. He helps to oversee the technical development of the company, as well as connecting this side of APT with current commercial efforts. Wender is a mechanical engineer by training and graduated from Imperial College in London. After graduating, Wender spent three years at Goldman Sachs in London, working with M&A. After GS and prior to joining APT, he spent two years at The Carlyle Group’s Special Situations Group.
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Andrey Zarur
Cofounder and CEO, GreenLight Biosciences