Company

The CleanGrow Technology™ Company

About Us

Zea BioSciences, founded in 2015, is a leader in accelerated plant cell replication, focusing on six markets: biopharmaceuticals; nutraceuticals; food & beverage; cosmetics; pet products; and other industrials. 

Across classes of plant organisms, we design and develop products that improve nutrition and health & wellness for people and our planet. At present rates of global industrialization and population growth, resources are becoming scarcer. Zea’s CleanGrow Technology™ platform has the potential to provide new, more effective and sustainable solutions to address these challenges.

Zea's plant products are grown, harvested and packed in a clean room, using only the elements the plant needs. In short, we grow clean, fast and cost-effectively. We can accelerate plant cell replication because we control and optimize every facet of growing. Zea grows in a clean room using our proprietary multi-dimensional technology platform (15 patents pending). Our non-GMO plants, greens and herbs are ready to harvest in as little as 33% of the time needed for conventional crops.

Our clean rooms are designed to be replicated, so we can scale quickly and be located close to customers. Sophisticated control systems using artificial intelligence will monitor and optimize each plant’s growth from seedling to harvest, delivering consistent, high-quality crops to pharmaceutical developers, nutraceutical manufacturers, and grocers and foodservice operators, among other botanical ingredient customers. 

Competitive Advantage

With our proprietary and complementary technologies, Zea optimizes and accelerates plant growth, with a goal of delivering plants with consistent quality, availability and pricing. Zea grows in a closed-system clean room and has intellectual property protection to ensure ongoing competitiveness. We have the team to scale our operations quickly. With Zea’s focus on accelerating plant cell replication within our CleanGrow Technology™ platform, we grow cleaner, faster and closer to customers than conventional growers. Our multiple markets are broad-based and growing.

Management

Our leadership team members have a roll-up-their-sleeves approach, with executives providing both functional expertise as well as effective planning and execution of their deliverables.

Our Team

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JAMES WILSON, CEO

Jim has over 20 years of experience with entrepreneurial and start-up ventures focusing on technology, real estate and industrial operations. He has built his reputation by scaling technology processes and driving down costs.

From 2003-2010, Jim was the founder and Managing Partner of Pine Street Investment Company, a real estate investment company. Prior to founding ZEA, Jim founded AquaHarvest Technologies (now Fresh Box Farms/Crop One Holdings) and led the company through the commercialization phase.

Jim received a bachelor’s degree in economics and industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Wilson also served as a US Naval pilot for four years. He authored 11 pending patents related to varying plant, system and process areas along with three different national grants for USDA, DOE and National Science Foundation.

His volunteer work includes mentoring at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and various charitable organizations in the Boston area.

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ERIC BROWN

Eric Brown is a founding investor in ZEA and has 30 years of experience financing and managing small and large companies. He was formerly a Senior Vice President at GE Capital and VP of Finance (Treasurer) of a publicly traded energy company. Eric has been part of executive management and has led billions of dollars in financings for early stage, middle market and large companies in tech, energy and consumer industries. He has also been responsible for public offerings, investor relations, Sarbanes-Oxley and brought a company from the pink sheets to a fully reporting status.

For the past five years, through his own firm, Eric has filled senior executive roles and raised equity and debt capital, for venture and private equity-backed companies. Eric was a founding investor in AquaHarvest Technologies with Jim.

Eric received a bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Bowdoin College. Eric is a registered representative with StillPointCapital, LLC and holds his Series 79, 82 and 63 registrations. Eric has been a consultant to Zea during its startup phase and anticipates joining as the CFO at the time of the Series A financing.

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XANDER SHAPIRO,
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Xander is a long-term General Manager and marketing and business development leader, with over 20 years in consumer packaged goods (CPG). He is also a food entrepreneur, starting his own fruit preserves business and commercializing a vegan seafood line while serving as a startup CMO. His first business venture was operating an ice cream truck at 17

While at Del Monte Foods and Clorox, Xander served in several line and staff positions, running business ranging from $80MM-$400MM, with a focus on new high-growth ventures. Many new products he launched are still in leading positions on the market today, demonstrating his skills at launching lasting ventures: Tilex Fresh Shower® Daily Shower Cleaner (launched in 1998); Liquid-Plumr® Foaming Pipe Snake (launched in 1999); and Del Monte Superfruit® fruit cups (launched in 2008), among others.

Xander holds an MBA from UC Berkeley and a BA from Yale. While at Berkeley and Yale, he won several awards in public speaking and case competitions. He is also a graduate of Leadership San Francisco.

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MICHAEL ROSE,
VP OF FACILITIES

Mike started his career with two startup businesses before entering his family’s construction business. He has been a Massachusetts licensed contractor for the last 34 years and has managed large-scale residential and commercial projects. His focus is to oversee and direct construction projects from conception to completion, oversee all on-site and off-site construction to monitor compliance with building and safety regulations, and analyze, manage and mitigate risks.

His construction and project management clients have included universities, churches and other large commercial real estate firms. More recently, he has managed the construction of clean room facilities and their corresponding HVAC engineering requirements.

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JEFF BRODY,
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

Jeff has over 30 years of experience running real-time and data distribution businesses in the financial services industry. He was formerly with Eaton Vance Management and Interactive Data. At the latter, he helped grow the company from a $40M to $800M company that was sold to private equity for $3.2B in 2010. Jeff was involved in all M&A activities of the company and represented IT in the sale of the company. Jeff has great depth in operations, reliability and application development in a growing company, as well as in data acquisition and information security. Jeff is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). 

Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his master’s degree in computer science from Boston University.

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ARLENE POWERS,
CORPORATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COUNSEL

Arlene has worked for over 25 years as an IP attorney, with a majority of the time in a Boston law firm. Arlene also worked as a sole practitioner for several years. She has experience in a wide range of intellectual property matters, including prosecution of foreign and domestic patents, trademarks and copyrights. Her practice concentrated in the areas of chemical, biological, mechanical and design patent matters.

Arlene received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University and attended Suffolk University Law School, where she received her law degree. Arlene is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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GERALD ANTOINE,
VP OF ENGINEERING

Jerry specializes in developing custom machinery for the medical, factory automation and printed-circuit fabrication markets. His unique combination of diverse skills and vast network of partners and subcontractors allowed him to produce successful results in a wide field of applications. These range from building new control systems for old equipment to designing and building specialized machines.

His expertise includes high-voltage testing (up to 25kV), mechanical systems, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, stepper and servo-driven systems, PLC control, PC software, custom electronics including microprocessor-based systems, pick and place, material handling, conveyor systems, and much more.

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EVAN SUPINSKI,
PRODUCTION MANAGER

Evan’s role at Zea is as a Production Manager. He works to ensure Zea’s high standards and procedures are upheld while being able to assist in horticulture and technology. Evan is an Afghanistan war veteran and holds an Agricultural Science degree from Oregon State University. He has worked at many organic farms throughout Oregon and California and enjoys his work at Zea, being capable of working with plants year round in the Northeast.

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LIAM DAVIDSON,
HARVEST TECHNICIAN

Liam is a lifelong desert dweller now living in the Ocean State. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Environmental Science, he looked for an avenue to achieve the greatest impact on sustainable land management and finally arrived at Zea as a Growroom Technician. Before his current position, Liam worked as a teacher in China and held roles in the U.S. Forest Service and Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. He hopes to continue to aid in the development of highly efficient and sustainable plant growth in order to better serve expanding global communities. In his free time Liam enjoys reading, camping, and travelling to new destinations to search for delicious meals

Mike Meding

MIKE MEDING,
LEAD SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

Mike is the Lead Software Developer at Zea. He is responsible for building the software tools which are used by the Growroom Technicians as well as collecting and analyzing the sensor data from the grow rooms. This data allows the Growroom Technicians to make informed decisions to maximize yield. With a background in eco-friendly smart energy solutions Mike is committed to building the best smart indoor hydroponic facilities. He also enjoys cycling and is an avid ultra endurance cyclist. 

Dan Parlato

DAN PARLATO,
HARVEST TECHNICIAN

Dan is in his first year at Zea as a Growroom Technician. He is responsible for maintaining functionality of the growroom, collecting data, harvesting and transplanting. Being new to the world of hydroponics as well as a company in its infancy, he finds the teamwork, problem solving, and general education from his coworkers both challenging and exciting. At Zea, Dan is fueled not only by contributing to a sustainable business which solves global issues but also by working beside the fine community of skilled individuals which compose the team. Outside of the office, Dan enjoys playing hockey, voluntering with various community services, and a good novel.  

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GREG LOWE,
HARVEST TECHNICIAN

Greg graduated from Quincy High School in 2012 where he wrestled for 4 years, and was Team Captain the last two years. He joined the Army after graduation and served 3 years, including a 5 month deployment. His interest in growing plants started when he would help his grandmother with her outdoor garden. He subsequently took a horticulture class in high school. Greg likes being at Zea as a harvest technician because he enjoys working with plants much more than with garbage, his last job!

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JAMIE GODFREY,
HYDROPONIC PLANT RESEARCHER

Jamie hails from the green mountains of Vermont to the warehouses of Walpole as a hydroponic plant researcher. Her diverse background includes corporate philanthropist, grant writer, literary agent, ski instructor and most recently organic farmer. She is also an adventurous eater who cares where her food is grown. Her love for horticulture has sparked an even greater passion for hydroponics. Jamie loves the idea that a 'perfect environment' can be created for growing almost anything, anywhere in the world. She is proud to be on the operations team and appreciates the unique Clean Grow Technology platform at ZEA. Jamie is a graduate of Middlebury College.  

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ROB ADAMS,
SYSTEMS ENGINEER

Rob Adams is a nationally recognized expert in innovative cold storage construction and is a co-author of some of Zea's pending patents.

Rob received a BS in Chemistry from University of Houston in 1973, and for fifteen years has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at UH. He has served as Board Member or Advisor several startups. Outside of work he flies his single engine Mooney aircraft for both business and pleasure, and plays competitive tennis and baseball on local club teams. He lives in North Easton, MA with his wife and two children, and somehow finds time to enjoy his family life.

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TERESA BAUMGARDNER,
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER 

Teresa comes to Zea as the social media manager after more than 15+ years in the San Francisco Bay Area tech industry. She brings her experience working with large tech companies, as well as startups, to Zea to elevate our marketing messages through the art and science of social media. Teresa has a passion for great design, social media marketing, and social media advertising. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in their N. California wine country home, cooking (& eating!) great food, exploring and traveling to new and exciting destinations. She is a UCLA graduate.

 

Sarah Geromini

SARAH GEROMINI,
HARVEST TECHNICIAN

Sarah is a Massachusetts native, who comes to Zea with a passion for the environment from her studies at the University of New Hampshire and past work experience. She has worked with plants both out in the field and in the laboratory with the US Forest Service. At Zea, Sarah works to ensure every herb and plant is perfect and delicious; and is working to push the indoor hydroponics industry forward into the future.

The Zea Difference

Unique clean platform targeting several multi-billion dollar markets:
$8B addressable in total

Protected technology: 15 patents pending

Scalable solution: Scalable solution: ~ 6 months turnkey clean room buildout

Experienced team: Business expertise plus passion to succeed

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We Do 3 Things Very Well

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Customer Challenges

Customer

Zea Solution

Environmental and Climate Problems

  • 99% reduction in water consumption

  • 99% reduction in land required

  • 92% reduction in carbon footprint

  • 70% reduction in food waste

Long Supply Chain (time and distance)

  • Can grow adjacent to customer site

  • Crops grow year-round in any location

  • Grow cycles shortened by up to 67%

Tainted Supply

  • Clean room growing facility

  • MERV-15 high level air filtration

Inconsistent Quality and Purity

  • Same quality product every harvest

  • Grow from your custom seeds predictably

  • No adulteration from cheap filler plants

Capacity Constraints

  • Scalable solution fits in most buildings

  • Only about 6 months to build out new room

  • Zea grows to meet customer needs