Newswise — ST. LOUIS, MO, April 8, 2019 – The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announces the formation of an all-star line-up of agricultural experts to advise the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) as it deploys up to $2.25 million in technical assistance for agtech startup companies.  

The newly-announced IN2 Food, Energy, Water Nexus External Advisory Board (EAB) brings together experts from the academic, business, government and philanthropic sectors to focus on research and validation of innovative solutions that address how to produce food more sustainably. The EAB plays a critical role in selection of the companies to be included in the program’s cohorts, as well as decisions on providing follow-on funding.

IN2, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, launched in 2014 with an initial focus on scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings.  In 2018, IN2 announced expansion into the food, energy, water nexus in a strategic partnership with the Danforth Center, the world’s largest independent plant science research institute.

“The IN2 program has the ambitious goal of aiding the progress of sustainable agriculture solutions at an early stage of commercialization where research is needed to validate an innovative technology,” said said Claire Kinlaw, director innovation and commercialization at the Danforth Center.  “To accomplish this goal, we are very proud to have the participation of a diverse group of thinkers from across the food and agriculture landscape to sit on the EAB. These voices represent the perspectives of large corporations, investors, environemental NGOs, and academic institutions. The Danforth Center is honored and excited to serve as the plant science and agricultural experts to the expansion of IN2.”

The EAB recently selected the first cohort in line with this year’s theme of Sustainable Production through Digital Agriculture, an area that includes technologies that leverage large data sets, advanced analytic models and automation to enable more sustainable and profitable farming operations. The announcement of the first agtech cohort is planned for later this spring.

IN2 finds and selects companies through a network of Channel Partners consisting of incubators, accelerators and universities across the  United States. To date, IN2 has funded 25 early-stage companies that have gone on to raise $122 million in follow-on funding from external sources. 

Meet the Board

Dr. Roy Beckford – Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Leader, North Carolina A&T State University.

Nicholas Brozović – Director of Policy, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Vonnie Estes - Vice President of Technology, Produce Marketing Association.

Chad Frischmann- Co-author and lead modeler, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming; Vice President and Research Director, Project Drawdown.

Scott Fullen – Owner, Mid-South Family Farms; Certified Crop Advisor, State of Tennessee.

Jill Kolling - Vice President for Global Sustainability, Cargill.

Bob Morris – Principal, AndMore Associates, LLC.

Mat Müller - Director of Business Development, Corteva Agriscience. 

David Russell – Partner, Lewis and Clark Ventures.

Dr. Kiersten Stead - Managing Partner, DCVC Bio.

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and through the support of individuals and corporations.

About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2)

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a $30 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN2 expanded its focus in 2018 to advance technologies that address the interconnection of food, water and energy. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding from Wells Fargo, technical support and validation from experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and ongoing connections to organizations across value chains. For more information visit

About Wells Fargo

Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,800 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet ( Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. With approximately 259,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In 2018, Wells Fargo donated more than $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits in support of affordable housing, small business growth, financial education, and sustainability, among other community needs. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargo team members also make a difference by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories.