Pontifax AgTech has a skilled and passionate investment team, complemented by a unique ecosystem of technical advisors, growers and global strategic corporate partners. Our mission is to apply our expertise, relationships and resources to help transform emerging food and agriculture companies with proven technologies into profitable, high growth, leading global competitors.
MANAGING PARTNER & CO-FOUNDER Mr. Belldegrun has more than 12 years of successful agriculture investing experience. Prior to Pontifax AgTech, Ben was Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Lodestone, a $100M natural resources fund focusing on agriculture. Ben was also a portfolio manager at Brevan Howard Asset Management, in the $300M Natural Resources Fund. Ben holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
MANAGING PARTNER & CO-FOUNDER Dr. Erlanger has more than 25 years of investing and advisory experience, with expertise in AgTech, private equity and corporate finance. Prior to Pontifax AgTech, Phil was the Managing Partner of PREv2 Holdings, an investment firm focused on food and agriculture technologies. Previously, he was a senior investment banker at Barclays Capital and Lehman Brothers. Phil has a PhD in Economics and Finance from UPenn and an MBA from the Wharton School.
VICE PRESIDENT Mr. Demeter leads the firm's information technology sector focus. Previously, he was on the investment team for Qualcomm Ventures, where he focused on investment activities in the wireless space, specifically clean technology and IoT. Prior, he worked in the Tech Investment Banking Group at Piper Jaffray & Co., focusing on M&A and debt and equity financings. Gil holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
VICE PRESIDENT Mr. Bluth leads due diligence on new transactions and supports several portfolio companies. Before, Tim was a Vice President at Shamrock Capital, where he focused on technology, media & communications investing. Previously, he worked as a Senior Associate at The Gores Group, an Associate at Saban Capital Group and an investment banking analyst in J.P. Morgan’s Technology, Media & Telecom. Tim graduated from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.
ASSOCIATE Mr. Savage has 6 years of combined private equity and banking experience. Harry started his career as an investment banking analyst at Sandler O’Neill in New York, followed by an associate position at Perella Weinberg Partners. Most recently, Harry served as a private equity associate at SunBridge Capital Management, a Washington DC-based family office. Harry holds BAs in Philosophy and Finance from The College of William and Mary.
ASSOCIATE Mr. Berne has 8 years of finance experience and focuses on investments in grocery and food service. Tristan started his career as an equity research analyst at Capital Alpha Partners, where he covered the energy sector. He received a Bachelor's Degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
CONTROLLER Mr. Kurdyla has over 8 years of combined accounting and finance experience. Mike started his career as an audit associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers, followed by a senior financial analyst position at General Motors Asset Management. After, he served as an assistant controller for Truvvo Partners. Most recently, he worked as a senior accounting manager at Oaktree Capital Management. Mike graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with an MBA and holds a CPA license
OFFICE MANAGER Ms. Sanders has 4 years of operational experience. Tara received her BA in English from UCLA. She returned to UCLA Ext. to take courses in advanced, hard science and mathematics. Tara started her career as an administrative assistant at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where she helped grow and train a new administrative department. After, Tara moved to Bain & Co., a management consulting firm in Los Angeles, as a manager’s assistant.
Pontifax Group Advisory Committee
CEO, BAYER CROP SCIENCE Mr. Buckner was President and CEO of Bayer CropScience from 2006-2011. He holds a BS in Agricultural Economics from the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia. Bill currently serves on the boards of the Soil Health Institute, Wilbur-Ellis Company, Trace Genomics, Inc., and Anuvia Plant Nutrients. Bill also serves as a board advisor for MicroGen BioTech. He also led Noble Research Institute, LLC, and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation for 7 years until retiring in 2018.
VP TECH ACQUISITION STRATEGY, DOW DUPONT Dr. Mazur is a strategy leader for trait and technology advancements in agricultural crop businesses. She wrote 4 key US patents and accompanying international patents and authored 44 scientific papers. She developed trait and breeding products used by seed & crop protection businesses. She held the position of VP, Technology Acquisition Strategy, DowDupont. She has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics, The Rockefeller University, and A. B. Bacteriology, UCLA.
CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER, GM Mr. Lynch has deep experience in leading sustainability and transparency strategies and programs in food and agriculture. Jerry led development of General Mills’ industry leading strategies on regenerative agriculture, climate, water. He has served in leadership capacities of numerous stakeholder initiatives. Lynch is a Fellow of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, and has an MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University.
PROFESSOR OF AG HEBREW UNIVERSITY Dr. Shoseyov is currently working to find industrial applications for bio-‐nanocomposite materials, such as the use of biopolymers from spider silk for construction and medical applications. Oded is a veteran in entrepreneurship and has founded multiple ventures based on technologies developed in his lab. He has authored or co-‐authored over 160 scientific publications and has produced more than 40 patents.
PRESIDENT, PARAMOUNT FARMING Mr. MacIlvaine was President of Paramount Farming, the world’s largest grower of almonds and pistachios. Notable achievements included a new rootstock for pistachios, implementation of pheromone mating disruption in almonds and pistachios, and precise yield functions for water and major nutrients. Joe holds a Ph.D. from MIT and an MBA from UCLA.
MANAGING PARTNER, PONTIFAX GROUP Mr. Nussbaum' is a Managing Partner at Pontifax Group ("PG"). Ran serves as a board member on many of PG's portfolio companies, including Kite Pharma, Urogen, cCAM Biotherapeutics, Eloxx, and many other bio-pharma companies. He also chaired OCON Medical, NasVax and ran Biomedix and Spearhead in the past. Prior to joining PG, he was a partner at Israel's largest business intelligence and strategic consulting firm.
CEO & FOUNDER, PONTIFAX GROUP Mr. Kariv founded Pontifax Group in 2004, Israel’s leading life sciences investment firm, which has invested $350M in capital over 45 portfolio companies. Prior, Tomer held senior management positions at top Israeli financial institutions. Previously, he practiced law with Sullivan & Cromwell. He holds a BA in Economics and a JD from Harvard University.
SVP & GENERAL MANAGER, QUAKER FOODS Mr. Rietbroek is SVP and General Manager of Quaker Foods North America. Robbert has extensive consumer goods experience in emerging and developed regions with Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, and currently PepsiCo. He was board director of the Australian Food & Grocery Council and American Chamber of Commerce Australia. He holds a Masters of Science in Economics and Business Administration from Maastricht University and three U.S. design patents.