St. Louis, MO and Research Triangle Park, NC – October 10, 2013 – Benson Hill , Inc., an early-stage agricultural biotechnology company focused on increasing intrinsic crop yields, today announced that it has closed more than $1 million of seed financing, including investment from Biogenerator and The Helix Fund, both of St. Louis, Missouri, the Missouri Technology Corporation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and angel investors.
The financing provides Benson Hill the means to further advance its research and development and strengthen its intellectual property portfolio. “Crop yields must double by 2050 and significant innovation is required to meet this challenge,” said Matt Crisp, President and CEO of Benson Hill. “We are dedicated to improving intrinsic crop yield by increasing photosynthetic efficiency, which is an under-addressed opportunity to dramatically increase agriculture production on existing acreage and with increasingly scarce resources.”
The company also announced four new members of its Board of Directors, which include Gregg Bogosian, Bruce Jamerson, Pete Siggelko, and Dan Broderick as Chairman
Broderick, a venture investor and serial entrepreneur, has served on boards of numerous companies in the life sciences industry, as well as on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association. Dan is currently the Vice President of Investments at Biogenerator, a privately funded St. Louis-based business accelerator, where he focuses on investment due diligence, capital formation, and growth of portfolio companies.
Bogosian, a technology leader in the application of biotechnology in agriculture, is a 28 year veteran of the industry and a former Monsanto Senior Fellow and recipient of the Edgar M. Queeny Award, Monsanto’s highest award for technical contributions to successful new products. Gregg is currently a scientific consultant to early-stage companies and serves as the Chief Scientist of New Leaf Symbiotics.
Jamerson, an experienced executive and advisor in renewable energy, agriculture, and finance, was formerly CEO and then Chairman of Mascoma Corporation and the President and a Board Member of VeraSun Energy. Bruce is currently the President of Conifer Investments, LLC, a strategic advisory firm, as well as a Senior Advisor and member of the Board of Directors of Novita LLC.
Siggelko, a 35 year veteran of the agriculture industry, was formerly Vice President of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology at The Dow Chemical Company, where he played a leadership role in establishing the strategy and product portfolio for Dow AgroSciences’ seed and biotech business after its acquisition of Mycogen. Pete also spent more than 20 years in crop protection, served on the board of the American Seed Trade Association, and Chaired the Agriculture Section of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
“We have a terrific board. The involvement of these new members is a testament to Benson Hill and its technology,” Broderick stated. Crisp further commented, “These gentlemen represent excellence in their respective domains. We are fortunate to have the depth and breadth of their expertise behind us.”