EVENT OVERVIEW

Exploring Agriculture technologies

A dynamic event that brings together leading experts, innovators, and investors. Featuring insightful talks & showcasing early-stage AgTech innovations.
AGENDA

Industry Insights, Startup Showcase, and Investing

Start
End
Activity
11:30 AM
12:30 PM
Investor Forum (accredited investors only)
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
Check-In & Networking
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
“Improving labor and food security with AI applications"

Speaker: Carlos Gaitan
1:30 PM
2:00 PM
“Biological Control of Invasive Species in Food and Agriculture”

Speaker: Amit Vasavada
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
"Harnessing the power of community, resilience, and sustainability to incubate AGTech Businesses"

Speaker: Mercy Torika Kalman
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
"TBA"

Speaker: Craig Kolodge
3:00 PM
3:15 PM
Break
3:00 PM
5:00 PM
Startup Showcase
5:00 PM
7:00 PM
Happy Hour & Networking & Startup Market
EDUCATE

Learn from Subject Matter ExperTS

Amit Vasavada, PhD

CSO at Invasive Species Corporation

Dr. Amit Vasavada is the Chief Science Officer at Invasive Species Corporation in Davis, California and is involved in discovery, development and deployment of biological solutions for invasive species in soil, water and forestry resultingfrom climate change and human activities. He received his doctorate degree in Applied Microbiology from University of California, Davis. He has been participating in Translational R&D, Process and Product Development and Manufacturing of Bio-based products for Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Animal Health and Biopharmaceutical sectors for over 38 years.  Most recently, he was the SVP of R&D and CTO at Marrone Bio Innovations/Profarm Group since 2014.   He led Marrone Bio Innovations’ R&D efforts to deliver smart, natural and sustainable biological pesticides and plant health products in addition to supporting Technology Scouting, Manufacturing and supply chain operations. Previously, he served in various capacities ranging from R&D to Manufacturing operations at Monsanto, Diversa, Chiron and Life Technologies developing solutions for human and animal nutrition, improved grain and food processing and bio-based green chemicals using Genomics, Synthetic Biology and Advanced Bioprocessing.  

Carlos gaitan, PhD

Co-founder & CEO of Benchmark Labs

Dr. Gaitan is the Co-founder and CEO of Benchmark Labs. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia working on machine learning applications in the environmental sciences. He also holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in hydrological systems from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia).  He was an elected member of the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Artificial Intelligence Committee. Before founding Benchmark Labs, he worked at early-stage start-ups in the environmental science field, including positions as VP of Weather Forecasting and Head of Data Science at Arable Labs, and as a Research Scientist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey.  Dr. Gaitan's work at Benchmark Labs aims to provide actionable weather forecasting and insights to high-value land managers whose operations are affected by weather variability and extreme events in the face of a changing climate.

Mercy Torika Kalman

Program Coordiator at V-Lab

Torika is a dynamic and forward-thinking professional committed to fostering innovation and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. With a background in social science and a passion for driving social change and impact, she plays a pivotal role as the Program Coordinator at V-Lab, Vanuatu's premier business and idea Incubator. Together with a team of Ni-Vanuatu medical doctors, Torika co-founded Tasinga Vanuatu, an organization leading the expansion of telehealth services throughout the nation, showcasing her dedication to advancing healthcare accessibility.

Craig Kolodge

Program Coordiator at V-Lab

Dr. Kolodge (aka Dr. K) is the former academic advisor, field plant pathologist and county director for the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Santa Clara county. He also served as the superintendent of the UC Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC) and was instrumental in developing the City of San Jose’s green waste utilization program focused on re-purposing recycled organics to deliver agricultural and ecosystem benefits. Dr. K served as statewide chairman of the U.C. Small Farm Program and was a founding member of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Working Group where he promoted the principles of regenerative agriculture and soil health.

Dr. K currently serves on the Board of Directors for California’s Association of Compost Producers (ACP). He is a US Composting Council (USCC) Certified Compost Operator, a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) and a Trainer of Record (ToR) for California’s Storm Water Industrial General Permit and the Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioner (QISP) certification. He is also a member of the Strategic Carbon Alliance which promotes Zero Waste, RegenOrganic, and Carbon Negative principles.Dr. K resides in San Diego county and is available for compost demonstration site development and consulting on the practical application of compost-based Sustainable Management Practices (SMP’s) including Sustainable Landscaping installations for watershed protection, urban regenerative agriculture, construction storm water management, post-wildfire damage mitigation, and land conservation and land restoration.

Craig is an avid organic gardener when he is not working. He also loves being outdoors, hiking in the hills of Carlsbad and snorkeling along the Pacific coastline. His favorite SPVS’ product is the “manure-based” Valley’s Best Compost® because it is a unique and value-added product that sets San Pasqual Valley Soils apart from all the other compost manufacturers in the region.

MCs

Eric Westreich

Program Coordinator at V-Lab

Torika is a dynamic and forward-thinking professional committed to fostering innovation and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. With a background in social science and a passion for driving social change and impact, she plays a pivotal role as the Program Coordinator at V-Lab, Vanuatu's premier business and idea Incubator. Together with a team of Ni-Vanuatu medical doctors, Torika co-founded Tasinga Vanuatu, an organization leading the expansion of telehealth services throughout the nation, showcasing her dedication to advancing healthcare accessibility.

rEVIEWERS

Balaji Vasudevan

Venture Partner at 16VC and Agtech Consultant at UM6P Ventures

Dr. Balaji Vasudevan is a globally recognized and active thought leader in food and agriculture sector. He is a startup hatcher and nurser, provide venture builder services to global startup founders working to help translate novel ideas and innovations into ventures.  With over 20 years of synthetic biology, agtech, agbiotech, agri-foodtech, climate ag, novel foods, regen ag experience in global consulting for startups in 10 plus countries, industry, VC, CVC, angels, incubator, accelerator, venture studio and academia combined, he is driven by a desire to help companies bring break-through agri-food technologies to market that create a sustainable climate-resilient food and agriculture eco-system to fight against climate change impact on global food security.  He applies his VC, academic and industry synbio, agtech, agri-foodtech background, experience, global network of over 30K agtech/agri-foodtech connections and over 32K followers in multiple agri-foodtech sectors to identify, scout, source, evaluate, diligent and support exceptional technology-focused future agri-foodtech start-ups in ten plus countries in all the six continents.  He is also a mentor, advisor/science consultant/SAB member for global agri-foodtech companies and VC cohorts like Big Idea Ventures, FFVC, WFA, Climate VC, ProVeg Incubator, Braid Theory Accelerator, CLS in US, France, Germany and Israel.  

He uses his academic and industry agri-foodtech experience in multiple technologies and innovations such as GMO, gene editing, RNAi, Alt. proteins, cellular agriculture, gene silencing, RNA biopesticides, plant molecular farming, plant disease resistance, agbiologicals, novel foods, plant tissue culture, plant cell biology, plant molecular biology, agri-foodtech scouting, agri-foodtech market landscape and competitive intelligence in agrifoodtech to identify and support exceptional technology and solutions focused future agri-food and synbio start-ups.  He is involved in agri-foodtech and synthetic biology innovations scouting, business market following, competitive intelligence, consulting, SAB advisor, board of directors, business development, agrifoodtech startup fund raiser, impact investing, agtech startup due-diligence, agtech conference key note speaker, panelist in agri-foodtech conferences, webinars, and career workshops conducted by premier organizations like global engage, ASPB, ASM, Hanson Wade, INRA and WBF, OCM member, startup mentor, SME, cohort member, agtech global community helper, scientific forum advisor, fund raiser, startup builder, grant reviewer, editor for science journals, peer-reviewer for agtech science journals, blog and white paper contributor, judge in foodtech challenge events, agtech research and science communicator, agri-foodtech regulatory policy speaker.  He is also an editorial board member for 2 journals and reviewer for 8 peer-reviewed journals in plant science and agri-foodtech domain.  He earned his Ph.D. in plant biotechnology in India.  Worked in six agri-foodtech industries in USA and India, and at three globally reputed Universities.  His post-doctoral training was at Cornell University, USA; Nobel Research Institute, USA and Tel-Aviv University, Israel. He has 17 refereed international publications in top plant science journals (eg. Nature Communications, Nature Scientific Reports, Plant Cell, Plant Physiology, Plant Journal, MPMI etc.) and couple of pending patents.

MATTHEW PALLOTTA

Investor and Mentor

With investment experience in stocks, cryptocurrency, and real estate, he takes a human-centric approach to his investing. He primarily focuses on the potential of the people manifesting the projects he invests in. Passionate about personal development, Matthew actively works with his awareness and energy and serves others by sharing techniques to empower them in their lives and careers. Matthew believes psychedelics are extremely powerful tools for healing and personal transformation. He has contributed to projects in the psychedelic and holistic healing spaces and has explored various cultures, healing modalities, and retreat centers around the world. Professionally, Matthew has made contributions to the biotech, energy, and beverage industries. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Joseph park

Venture Capital at Legendary Ventures

Joseph is an angel investor and deal scout for many different funds including The Hustle Fund. He works with VCs, PE, FO, IB, HNWI. His experience ranges from mentoring startup founders, c-suite positions at multiple companies, building businesses and entrepreneurism. Throughout his years in the space, Joseph created several companies and had an exit in the telecom space. He currently advises five companies, two being startups as an advisory board member. His COO position is with GCN, Global Capital Network, an investor and founders conference out of Newport Beach, CA, where founders pitch to over 150+ investors during a 1 day event.

Venkatramana Pegadaraju

Mentor & Investor

Venkatramana Pegadaraju is a seasoned life sciences executive with over two decades of experience driving revenue growth and forging strategic partnerships. He brings a unique blend of scientific expertise, holding a Ph.D. in Biology from Kansas State University, and business acumen from an MBA at UCLA Anderson.

Venkat began his career at Monsanto and Illumina, where he led global agrigenomics market development initiatives. He has since held senior leadership roles at organizations such as LGC, Eurofins, Agribody Technologies, and Cibus.
Notably, Venkat collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deploy funds establishing genomics capacity to modernize breeding programs in developing countries.

Currently, Venkat serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UC San Diego, mentoring and advising multiple genomics-focused startups. With a proven track record of leading companies to multi-million-dollar valuations and successful exits, Venkat's strengths span technology commercialization, management, partnership development, deal structuring, market analysis, negotiations, financial modeling, and global expansion. Additionally, Venkat is an Angel investor in early-stage genomics-based startup companies, further contributing to the growth and advancement of the industry.

Emmanuel de Boucaud

General Partner at Chisos Capital

Emmanuel is investment and technology executive with a 20-year track record of building and leading teams, as well as growth stage capital finance and investment. Currently he is a General Partner at Chisos Capital, a structured finance company with 70 investments in founders and their companies. Prior to Chisos he spent 5 years at SWAY Ventures, an Institutional Series A-C Venture Capital firm. As operator and Board of Directors, he has exited two businesses successfully, and advised and mentored 100s of entrepreneurs on the startup journey.

STARTUPS

DEMO DAY

Apply to Pitch

Are you ready to supercharge your innovative startup looking to make an impact on healthcare with medical devices?

Pitch your startup to an audience of industry experts, colleagues, and seasoned investors to gain valuable insights and feedback, forge strategic partnerships and connections, secure vital funding for your pioneering project, and elevate your startup to the next level!
BECOME AN
INVESTOR-ACTIVIST

Investing in Startups

Stay ahead of the curve by joining us at the Catalyst Capital Symposia, where you can gain valuable insights into emerging technologies, spanning various industries, from tech and healthcare to sustainability and beyond.

Join the ranks of investor-activists who not only provide financial backing but also lend their expertise, networks, and influence to nurture startups, catalyzing a collective effort towards a brighter, more innovative future.


SPONSORS

Event Overview

The future of Biology is Digital and AI stands at the forefront of this transformative journey! We invite you to join us for an enlightening day of discovery, networking, and inspiration, where we delve into the realm of AI-powered Digital Biology and its profound influence on the future of Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and Life itself!

AI Digital Biology is reshaping the life sciences economy through modeling, computational biology, omics data, and synthetic biology. It has the power to not only save lives but also mitigate pollution and maybe expedite the pace of evolution.

Come support startup companies in the AIDBio space. We extend a warm invitation to all biotech, pharma, academics, entrepreneurs, and investors to be a part of the AI Digital Biology Era. Connect with leading AI industry experts, and engage in passionate discussions, sharing your insights and perspectives with our vibrant community.

Agenda

Start Time
End Time
Activity
9:00 AM
9:30 AM
Check-In & Networking
9:45 AM
10:30 AM
Keynote Speaker
10:30 AM
12:00 PM
Lunch and Networking
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
AI and Digital Biology Startups
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
Catalyst Capital Panel: AI & Investing
2:00 PM
3:00 PM
2 Speakers
3:00 PM
3:15 PM
Break
3:15 PM
4:15 PM
2 Speakers
4:15 PM
5:00 PM
Panel featuring Previous Speakers
5:00 PM
7:00 PM
Happy Hour &  Networking

Startups

Are you ready to supercharge your innovative startup in the cutting-edge fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning? Don't miss this golden opportunity to bring your vision to life!

Pitch your startup to an audience of industry experts, colleagues, and seasoned investors to gain valuable insights and feedback, forge strategic partnerships and connections, secure vital funding for your pioneering project, and elevate your startup to the next level!