Tom Christensen, Chief Executive Officer

Tom has spent his career in the agricultural industry with more than 20 years spent commercializing agricultural technologies.  Previously Tom was the president of Agradis, Inc. where he was responsible for all operational aspects of the company including directing the research and development teams. Agradis successfully developed a collection of grass plant affiliated microorganisms, many of which had beneficial effects on corn and wheat crops. Agradis was acquired by Monsanto in 2013. Prior to joining Agradis, Tom was the director of agribusiness development at Synthetic Genomics, Inc. where he implemented a new strategy that led to a significant collaboration with a major agricultural company. During the 11 years prior, he was at Syngenta and its legacy companies, where Tom held various technical, marketing, business development and venturing roles. These included leading a North American precision ag development program, developing novel go to market models for cotton, fresh produce, and output traits, and implementing a global algae biofuels research effort. He holds a B.S. in Agronomy and M.S. in Plant Physiology from Iowa State University, and an MBA from Duke University.

Karen LeVert, Chief Operating Officer

Karen’s business experience encompasses both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds with successful leadership experience in start-ups, technology commercialization, and executive management. Prior to co-founding Ag TechInventures she co-founded Southeast TechInventures, Inc. (STI).  STI is a technology accelerator focused on migrating promising technologies from university research labs to the commercial marketplace. She spent the early years of her career with a Fortune-500 company in positions ranging from computer programmer, to controller, to general manager of a 500-person operation. Her first entrepreneurial venture was the launching of a franchise bioremediation company in 1998 that she later sold in 2001. Before co-founding STI, Karen co-launched a Silicon Valley venture-funded software company where she served as Executive Vice-President of Business Development. Karen holds an MBA from the University of Dayton and an Information Technology undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. Along with her professional duties she serves as a Board member for Southeast TechInventures, Ag TechInventures, Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), and the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Karen is a former recipient of CED’s North Carolina’s Entrepreneur of the Year.