Monsanto Growth Ventures
Part of Monsanto’s commitment to bringing new technologies to agriculture is recognizing other innovators the company can work with to deliver solutions for farmer customers.
Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV) is the venture capital arm of the Monsanto Company. The MGV investment professionals invest in emerging teams and ideas that improve agriculture across technologies and geographies. As a result, the MGV portfolio consists of companies spanning a diverse spectrum. This ranges from biotechnology to pharmaceuticals, and microbes to software, marketplaces and connected devices. MGV strives to help talented teams develop inspiring products for agriculture and related industries across the globe.
MGV typically leads investments in early stage companies, from Seed through Series A, and will selectively invest in later initial opportunities. MGV leverages a broad network of external investors, industry-leading companies, and Monsanto's in-house expertise to give each investment the best chance for success. For companies of the right stage and inclination, MGV can facilitate interactions with Monsanto’s robust program for partnering. These partnerships lead to stronger collaborations that can help companies mature technologies, accelerate development, and potentially catalyze further strategic actions for successful companies.
MGV seeks to capitalize on the vibrant venture capital industry across the globe to bring a spirit of entrepreneurship within Monsanto. Through investments, collaborations, and M & A, MGV supports the evolution and execution of Monsanto’s strategies for continued growth and success.
The Monsanto Growth Ventures Team
Dr. Hamer is Managing Director at Monsanto Growth Ventures, and is based out of the San Francisco MGV office. Dr. Hamer’s background includes a decade of venture capital experience, leading and starting numerous life science companies, and a distinguished research career in molecular biology and crop protection. Dr. Hamer also donates his time to numerous causes related to global agricultural issues, and serves on the Board of Trustees for CIAT, The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, with research centers and offices in Cali, Nairobi and Hanoi.
Dr. Stead is based in San Francisco and has worked for over 15 years in the ag-biotechnology space before moving into Venture Capital. Previously, Kiersten was with a $1.5B AUM institutional Venture Team which invested in Life Sciences, and was a Management Consultant specialized in early stage company development in nanotechnology, agriculture and pharma. She was a Scientist at the University of Alberta/ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics. In addition, she also holds a MBA in Finance. Kiersten donates time as a member of the Investment Committee of Genome Canada GAAP, The Keystone Symposia Scientific Advisory Board, and the EULC, a sport-not-for-profit.
Ryan Rakestraw is a principal at MGV and based in St. Louis. Previously, Ryan was with Cultivation Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in St. Louis. During this time Ryan founded the Yield Lab, a business accelerator focused on Agriculture. Before that, Ryan was a systems engineer with Northrop Grumman. Ryan has a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a MSc in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Ryan volunteers with Arch Grants, and serves as an adjunct professor of finance at Washington University in St. Louis, where he lectures on venture capital and financial modeling for early stage businesses.
Venture Scholar Program
MGV supports a robust Venture Scholar Program to help capitalize on new talent while developing the next generation of agriculture technology leaders.
Through the Venture Scholar role, applicants will be able to learn about the venture capital industry, study the latest agriculture innovations, and learn the skill-set required to manage a start-up business. Venture Scholars assist in both scouting new investment opportunities, managing the active portfolio, and participating in the internal processes that shape the future of Monsanto’s business.
The Venture Scholar role is a 3-6 month rolling position in San Francisco available to MBA students or recent graduates with technical proficiency. Candidates should have a STEM background or advanced STEM degree with an equivalent business background in startups or consulting. The program is intended to kick start a high-initiative individual’s interest in small company operations and in agriculture broadly.