Chemical engineer Dganit Vered discovered something that shifted her entire career focus when she led a multinational R&D team of 250 employees for Israeli seed breeder Hazera from 2015 to 2017. “When I traveled around the world and met my team members, I saw the problems were much bigger than could be solved through the seeds,” she said.
Having worked for 17 years at Intel Israel and then in pharma and seed company R&D, Vered thought she could help.
Last May, she became CEO of Smart Agro Fund, a public R&D partnership founded in 2020 to advance startups addressing big problems in agriculture. “At the end of the day, we will need to increase yields by about 50 percent, with 50 percent fewer resources, in order to feed the world,” Vered says. “That’s where we are heading with climate change.”
Smart Agro Fund now has six portfolio companies, and Vered has become familiar with the vast landscape of approximately 350 Israeli ag-tech startups leading the world in areas from precision irrigation to wastewater reuse to seed breeding.
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