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Our Team

Syngenta Group Ventures is deeply connected to agriculture and represents more than 65 years of venture capital experience. Our team is geographically agnostic and focuses on agriculture and food — from seed through Series C and beyond. Comprised of investment professionals with a diverse range of academic and industry backgrounds, our first-hand venture capital experience is the uniting factor.

We play an active role in the success of our portfolio companies and our breadth of expertise provides targeted insight and strategic financial focus. Learn more about our team and contact us.

Shiri Ailon

Shiri Ailon is the Head of Group Integration, Synergies and Ventures at Syngenta Group. For 15 years, she worked with ADAMA Agricultural Solution, Syngenta Group's leading off-patent crop protection subsidiary, 5 years of which she was Vice President of Corporate Development and China Integration. Shiri led ADAMA’s mergers and acquisitions, the integration of acquired China entities and the successful value creation through collaboration across Syngenta Group. She holds an MBA from Oxford Business School and an LLB from Tel Aviv University, magna cum laude.

Shiri Ailon

Shiri Ailon is the Head of Group Integration, Synergies and Ventures at Syngenta Group. For 15 years, she worked with ADAMA Agricultural Solution, Syngenta Group's leading off-patent crop protection subsidiary, 5 years of which she was Vice President of Corporate Development and China Integration. Shiri led ADAMA’s mergers and acquisitions, the integration of acquired China entities and the successful value creation through collaboration across Syngenta Group. She holds an MBA from Oxford Business School and an LLB from Tel Aviv University, magna cum laude.

Jason Gabriel

Jason Gabriel is a Managing Director for Syngenta Group Ventures and brings over 15 years of venture capital and private equity investment experience. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Third Security, LLC, a $1B+ life sciences venture capital manager for 12 years. Jason began his career in investment banking and has experience in Fortune 500 corporate development and in middle market private equity. He graduated summa cum laude from Millsaps College and received an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Jason Gabriel

Jason Gabriel is a Managing Director for Syngenta Group Ventures and brings over 15 years of venture capital and private equity investment experience. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Third Security, LLC, a $1B+ life sciences venture capital manager for 12 years. Jason began his career in investment banking and has experience in Fortune 500 corporate development and in middle market private equity. He graduated summa cum laude from Millsaps College and received an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee is a Managing Director at Syngenta Group Ventures and has worked in the agriculture and food sector his entire career. After receiving degrees from Durham University, Michael conducted his postdoctoral research in London and co-authored 20 papers on insect biochemistry. Previously, he held positions at Unilever in the Foods R&D and Ventures area. He holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Kauffman Fellow and one-time amateur beekeeper.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee is a Managing Director at Syngenta Group Ventures and has worked in the agriculture and food sector his entire career. After receiving degrees from Durham University, Michael conducted his postdoctoral research in London and co-authored 20 papers on insect biochemistry. Previously, he held positions at Unilever in the Foods R&D and Ventures area. He holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Kauffman Fellow and one-time amateur beekeeper.

David Pierson

David Pierson is a Managing Director with Syngenta Group Ventures and has over 16 years of life science investing experience. Previously, he was a Partner at Intersouth Partners, an $800 million life science fund. Before entering venture capital, David held senior positions in marketing, sales, and product development at Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia and Pfizer with responsibility at the national and regional level in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. He holds a B.S. from The United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Duke University.

David Pierson

David Pierson is a Managing Director with Syngenta Group Ventures and has over 16 years of life science investing experience. Previously, he was a Partner at Intersouth Partners, an $800 million life science fund. Before entering venture capital, David held senior positions in marketing, sales, and product development at Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia and Pfizer with responsibility at the national and regional level in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. He holds a B.S. from The United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Duke University.

Shubhang Shankar

Shubhang Shankar is a Managing Director at Syngenta Group Ventures, after having spent two years with the company’s global strategy team. He brings a wealth of expertise around the topics of innovation in small-holder agriculture, robotics in farming and agri-fintech. Previously, Shubhang held management consultant positions for eight years at Boston Consulting Group and Kearney. He holds a B. Tech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT Delhi and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.

Shubhang Shankar

Shubhang Shankar is a Managing Director at Syngenta Group Ventures, after having spent two years with the company’s global strategy team. He brings a wealth of expertise around the topics of innovation in small-holder agriculture, robotics in farming and agri-fintech. Previously, Shubhang held management consultant positions for eight years at Boston Consulting Group and Kearney. He holds a B. Tech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT Delhi and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.

Mark Brooks

Mark is an Investment Manager with Syngenta Group Ventures and has built decision support tools for farmers and was founder of two companies – one of which grew to the top 3% of Internet traffic. He aspires to leave the world a better place by building enduring companies and innovations. His 17-year career spans climate science, entrepreneurship, corporate strategy and venture capital. Mark was also the architect and lead of the world's first venture capital startup accelerator in the accounting profession. He holds a B.S. in Meteorology and an MBA from North Carolina State University.

Mark Brooks

Mark is an Investment Manager with Syngenta Group Ventures and has built decision support tools for farmers and was founder of two companies – one of which grew to the top 3% of Internet traffic. He aspires to leave the world a better place by building enduring companies and innovations. His 17-year career spans climate science, entrepreneurship, corporate strategy and venture capital. Mark was also the architect and lead of the world's first venture capital startup accelerator in the accounting profession. He holds a B.S. in Meteorology and an MBA from North Carolina State University.

Brian Watson

Brian Watson is a Portfolio Manager at Syngenta Group Ventures. Previously, he spent six years with Syngenta in various seeds product development roles. Brian holds a M.S. from Indiana University in Biotechnology focused on Software and Molecular Biology, where he also earned his B.S. in Biotechnology and Chemistry. Brian is currently enrolled in the Duke Fuqua School of Business Executive MBA program.

Brian Watson

Brian Watson is a Portfolio Manager at Syngenta Group Ventures. Previously, he spent six years with Syngenta in various seeds product development roles. Brian holds a M.S. from Indiana University in Biotechnology focused on Software and Molecular Biology, where he also earned his B.S. in Biotechnology and Chemistry. Brian is currently enrolled in the Duke Fuqua School of Business Executive MBA program.

Caroline Rockafellow

Caroline Rockafellow is Associate General Counsel for Ventures and M&A at Syngenta. She joined the Syngenta legal department in 2009 and has been counsel for Syngenta Group Ventures since 2018. Previously, Caroline worked in corporate and private practice with a focus on entrepreneurial and technology-based clients. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Drury University and a Juris Doctor and Masters in Intellectual Property from the University of New Hampshire.

Caroline Rockafellow

Caroline Rockafellow is Associate General Counsel for Ventures and M&A at Syngenta. She joined the Syngenta legal department in 2009 and has been counsel for Syngenta Group Ventures since 2018. Previously, Caroline worked in corporate and private practice with a focus on entrepreneurial and technology-based clients. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Drury University and a Juris Doctor and Masters in Intellectual Property from the University of New Hampshire.

Matt Bray

Matt Bray is the Global Head of Finance for Biologicals and Ventures at Syngenta. He has more than 15 years’ experience in transactions, advisory and finance. He previously worked in PwC’s Corporate Finance practice based in London and São Paulo. Matt joined Syngenta’s global M&A team in 2015 prior to becoming Global Head of Finance for Biologicals and Ventures. He holds an M.A. in Economics & Politics from the University of Edinburgh and is a chartered accountant (ICAEW).

Matt Bray

Matt Bray is the Global Head of Finance for Biologicals and Ventures at Syngenta. He has more than 15 years’ experience in transactions, advisory and finance. He previously worked in PwC’s Corporate Finance practice based in London and São Paulo. Matt joined Syngenta’s global M&A team in 2015 prior to becoming Global Head of Finance for Biologicals and Ventures. He holds an M.A. in Economics & Politics from the University of Edinburgh and is a chartered accountant (ICAEW).