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Harvard Startup Stories

Kelsey Sakimoto, Scientific Founder, Kula Bio

Bill Brady, CEO, Kula Bio

Russ Wilcox, Partner, Pillar

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020

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Join us on Zoom for this lunchtime talk featuring founders of Kula Bio, an agri-tech startup commercializing innovations developed at Harvard.

Hosted by Harvard Office of Technology Development.

Speaker Bio

Kelsey Sakimoto, Founder and Science Director of Kula Bio

Kelsey has spent over a decade at the intersection of chemistry, engineering and microbiology developing new sustainable technologies. He is the inventor of "Cyborg Bacteria": CO2-fixing bacteria that produce their own tiny solar panels in order to perform photosynthesis at efficiencies beating natural photosynthesis. As a Harvard University Center for the Environment Fellow, he pioneered the production of biological fertilizers from air, water and renewable electricity via the "Bionic Leaf." Kelsey currently leads R&D at Kula Bio, manufacturing robust, sustainable, organic microbial nitrogen fertilizers for modern agriculture. Kelsey earned a PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley and a BS in chemical engineering from Yale University.

Bill Brady, CEO of Kula Bio

Bill is an executive and entrepreneur in the sustainable energy and advanced materials industries. He has successfully led large complex global organizations, and has created value in building emerging technology businesses. A frequent presenter on technical and strategic aspects of sustainable energy and materials, Mr. Brady has testified before the United States Senate, Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Currently, he serves as Founding CEO and Director for Kula Bio, a sustainable and organic nitrogen fertilizer company. Bill is co-founder and director of Monolith Materials, a sustainable carbon black and hydrogen company, and he also serves on the board of directors of advanced material companies Hollingsworth & Vose and Teknor Apex.

Previously, Mr. Brady served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Mascoma Corporation, a leading industrial biotechnology company. Mascoma’s bioconversion products have been used to produce billions of gallons of biofuels. Mascoma was successfully sold to Lallemand Corporation in November 2014.

As Executive Chairman of Lux Research, he led the development and sale to Bregal Sagemount in 2017.

Mr. Brady also served as Executive Vice President of Cabot Corporation, a $3B specialty chemical company. Throughout his 23-year experience, Mr. Brady held numerous positions at Cabot in the United States and Asia, including President of the $2B Carbon Black business which operated 23 manufacturing plants in 17 countries. Under his leadership, the business completed significant expansions in China and Brazil, and executed a major global initiative in energy efficiency. In addition, he led the commercialization of two start-up businesses at Cabot in ink jet colorants and elastomer composites.

Mr. Brady is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a B.S. in Chemistry and received his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Russ Wilcox, Partner at Pillar

Russ Wilcox has 20 years of start-up operating experience, having founded three companies and raised $150 million in private capital. He has led Pillar’s investments in Zapata Computing, Higharc, Cake, Kula Bio, Quadratic 3D, Scripta, Kiwi and Soofa, among others.

Russ previously served as the CEO of E Ink, an electronic paper company, for a decade. The company reached a $200 million run rate and was acquired for half a billion dollars in 2009. At E Ink Corporation, he commercialized electronic paper invented at the MIT Media Lab. E Ink conducted materials research, filed patents, scaled a factory, and shipped tens of millions of displays for the Amazon Kindle and other devices. To date, consumers have purchased more than $10 billion of E Ink-related devices and content. Following E Ink, Russ co-founded Transatomic Power, advancing a source of clean energy; and Piper Therapeutics, conducting pre-clinical studies for an immuno-oncology drug.

Russ actively supports the Boston entrepreneurial community. Since 2012 he has volunteered as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Harvard Business School Rock Center and counseled hundreds of students on achieving their start-up goals. He sits on the Harvard Physical Sciences Accelerator Review Board and was a Board Director for Harvest Automation, a venture-backed developer of agricultural robots. He has been an angel investor in several start-ups, including Disruptor Beam, PowerInbox, Calimmune, Gen9, DriveFactor, and Camino Financial. Russ began his startup career as a product manager at PureSpeech, a speech recognition company co-founded by Jamie Goldstein.

Russ graduated with honors in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College, and was a Baker Scholar at the Harvard Business School. He is an Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the Year, and holds thirty-three issued U.S. patents.

Contact
Host:

Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD)

Contact:

Harvard OTD

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