Paul is Director, Knowledge and Innovation at Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that catalyzes action on inclusive agricultural development in South East Asia. Grow Asia was established by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat.
Paul is building a community of practice that brings together business, government and NGOs leaders who share a commitment to using new innovations to make smallholder value chains more productive and sustainable. He delivers webinars, open innovation events, reports, presentations and networking events. Digitization is a core element of the program, as it will impact every aspect of farming – from advanced technology that can grow more resilient crops, to mobile financing solutions that can help smallholder farmers access credit.
He has significant experience building smallholder supply chains in the cocoa, citrus, cassava and rubber industries. Before joining Grow Asia, he worked with agribusinesses including Mondelez International, Olam, Syngenta, Heineken and Ironbark Citrus.
Rob Hulme is a fifth-generation Australian farmer and agribusiness executive. His career with Bayer covered research and development, marketing, sales, strategy and commercial operations over 26 years. He was previously the Team Lead for the Global Technology Licensing team based in Germany, and Country Head for Vietnam and then Greater China. More recently he led the Bayer Innovation Group for the ASEAN region and Business Development for APAC, which included digital farming and third-party cooperations.
In 2018, he co-founded Beanstalk AgTech, an innovation company which focuses on helping agribusiness solve big challenges to help reinvent our food system across Asia-Pacific. The company’s focus areas include waste, climate adaption and sustainable protein. He lives in Singapore with his family.
Part of Ferrero’s Open Innovation team since Jan 2017 leading Biotech and Agtech activities in Asia Pacific based out of Singapore Innovation Centre. The Singapore hub holds a strategic focus on APAC to build an innovation ecosystem from discovery to scalable industrial solutions and partners across value chain to explore and enable technology innovations. Prior to this was a Scientist at A*STAR and has filed multiple invention disclosures & patent applications including a spin-off. Holds a PhD from NUS, Singapore and has formal training in design thinking (2013 Class of Stanford Biodesign Program), Biotechnology, and Plant sciences.
Christian Cadeo is currently the Managing Partner, Asia for Big Idea Ventures. Big Idea Ventures is a new alternative protein venture capital fund/accelerator based in New York and Singapore. It is anchored by investments from Temasek Holdings and Tyson Food (NYSE: TSN/Fortune 100 company).
Prior to this Christian was a seasoned operator with experience in bringing US based startups to Asia. His first startup was at AdMob which was eventually acquired by Google for US$750MM. The second startup was JUST which has raised US$372MM from Founders Fund, Horizon Ventures and Eduardo Saverin. There he was the 1st employee in Asia-Pacific as well as the first on the ground person out of the three alternative protein Unicorns (JUST, Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat). Recently he was at Domo where he joined pre-IPO as the 1st employee in Southeast Asia. Domo had raised close to US$700MM from investors such as Benchmark, Jeff Bezo and TPG. The company IPO on NASDAQ in 2018.
Christian also has extensive experience working at some of the largest technology companies in the world. He spent four years at Google managing the mobile and enterprise division in Southeast Asia. Earlier in his career he worked at Microsoft managing commercial development within the online division.
Dr. Navin Twarakavi is an Agtech Innovation leader with experience in research, academic, corporate and startup environments. Navin focuses on solution development that focuses on user-centricity as much as the technologies that enable the solution. Dr. Navin started his career as a research professor in the US where he focused on implementation of sensor development, remote sensing, crop modeling and data analytics for agriculture. During this time, he successfully steered projects from organizations such as NSF and USDA. He is the recipient of Early Career Award in Soil Physics for the year 2011. Later, he transitioned to the private sector with the goal of bridging the gap between research and implementation. He has successfully led the development of multiple innovations that have become central to the solutions.
Hemendra has over 23 years of experience in venture capital, private equity, management consulting and investment banking.
Hemendra in his career has invested in several early stage agritech and mid-sized companies in the agricultural supply chain. He is a mentor, investor and board member in many food and ag-tech start-ups working on innovations in agri-inputs, market linkages, mechanization, food nutrition and farmer financing.
He is working as Venture Partner with Bharat Innovation Fund –investing in deep-tech start-ups across sectors. Hemendra is also co-founder of ThinkAg – a platform for accelerating the adoption of innovations in agriculture space.
In his previous assignments; he has worked with SEAF, Yes Bank, Rabobank, KSA Technopak and ORG-MARG.
He has authored many papers on the subject and speaks regularly at conferences pertaining to food and agribusiness sector as well as start-up ecosystem. He is a management graduate from IIM (Ahmedabad) and Agricultural Engineer from Rajasthan Agricultural University.
John is the Director of Makana Ventures, a Singapore-based collective whose mission is to drive a more sustainable agrifood system through advocacy, investment, and ecosystem support.
Prior to starting Makana Ventures, John worked for 12 years in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and previously Deutsche Bank. His investments in the agrifood space focus on companies seeking to innovate the way society interacts with food, from first production to final consumption.
On the advocacy front John is a regular panel speaker and, through Makana Ventures, curates events to increase public awareness and participation in the sector.
John grew up in Hawaii, is a graduate of Cornell University and lives in Singapore with his wife and children.