The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): John Hamer, Monsanto
John Hamer took charge of agriculture business Monsanto’s corporate venturing unit within Monsanto Growth Ventures at the end of 2012.
This was a year after Stephen Padgette assumed his current role in Monsanto’s global strategy group as vice-president for R&D investment strategies, including corporate venturing and biological business startups.
And, ahead of its own $66bn sale to chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer, crop company Monsanto’s first corporate venturing exit is useful.
In November, Climate Corporation, a Monsanto subsidiary, acquired Monsanto Growth Ventures portfolio company VitalFields, an Estonia-based developer of a digital tool available in seven European countries that collects field data to help farmers plan, manage and analyse their work to improve productivity. Hamer said this exit was “an important one in validating our strategy”.
Founded in 2011 and previously known as WeatherMe, VitalFields was revealed as a portfolio company of Monsanto Growth Ventures in January last year. It raised $1.2m in a May 2015 round backed by SmartCap, part of the state-backed Estonian Development Fund.
By the end of last year, the investment team had amassed 13 portfolio companies, achieved one exit, and deployed more than $100m in committed capital in just under four years. Its more recent deals include online grain-trading platform FarmLead, which closed a Monsanto Growth Ventures-led round in March to support its expansion from Canada to the US.
But Monsanto Growth Ventures has had bigger wins, as the group has helped contribute more than $10bn of value to Monsanto through the development of its data science group around Climate Corp, an acquisition Hamer brought to the company after a recommendation by corporate venturing peer Jacqueline LeSage Krause, now head of Munich Re/HSB Ventures.
Before he was investment director at Monsanto, Hamer was a managing director at Burrill & Co for nine years and was chief executive of Arete Therapeutics and Paradigm Genetics. He was a professor of biological sciences at Purdue University and a visiting scientist at DuPont. He has a PhD in microbiology from University of California Davis, and studied biology and biological sciences at University of Windsor.
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