Jerry Dale Caulder PhD was the Co-founder and Emeritus Chair of Finistere Ventures. He passed at the age of 77. During his more than 50 years in the Agritech world Jerry made unparalleled contributions to the development of Agritech earning the moniker the “Father of Agbiotech”.
A graduate of University of Missouri, Jerry’s career encompassed his career at Monsanto where he also led their first venture team pioneering their first investment in biotech.
An entrepreneur at heart Jerry left corporate life to become CEO of the first VC backed AgBio startup Mycogen, which also saw him settle in his adopted home of San Diego. The company went on to become an industry leader employing more than 1000 people in the US and abroad when it was acquired by Dow Chemical to form what became the basis for Dow Agrosciences and now Corteva. Indeed Mycogen seed is still sold around the world. After this successful exit Jerry pursued a myriad of ventures privately including dog treat Greenies and multiple successful startups. In 2006 he Co-founded Finistere Ventures recognizing well ahead of the curve the need for innovative startups to produce the new technologies needed to sustainably feed a growing population but also support the needs of the farmers who feed them. Always a pioneer Jerry oversaw the successful establishment of one of the first wave of VCs dedicated to Agritech while mentoring a new wave of companies and growing the Finistere team. Jerry’s influence continues to be felt across this dynamic ecosystem having touched so many lives and given all to many. His passing is profoundly sad to our team, but leavened by the gratitude for his generosity of spirit and deed.
Jerry is survived by his wife of more than 50 years Carol, son Michael and grandsons Charlie and Elliot.
He is returning to rest at his family farm in the bootheel of Missouri.