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In December 2015, Dow and DuPont set off the greatest wave of consolidation ever seen in the agricultural chemistry and agricultural biology sector. Two years later, the two have become DowDuPont: the largest chemical company in the world. But in-between, the entire ag-chem-bio industry has been mired in uncertainty with a focus on demonstrating synergy, at the expense of innovation.

Sustainable Innovation For Food Security

Posted by on in Health

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion! As a result, world food production will need to rise by 70%, and food production in the developing world will need to double, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN! Barring large-scale migration to the other planets, we will simply need more food. Add the energy, water and climate change challenges and you know we are in trouble. Luckily, there are efforts underway to implement innovative, sustainable solutions addressing food security. Approaches include changes in distribution and intelligent packaging to minimize waste, use of smart agriculture techniques to impact crop durability and yield, adopting environmentally friendly pest control and disease treatment, diversifying food sources and strengthening aquaculture. These are expected to have broad impact across the food groups, namely, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins.

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

Posted by on in Health

This week, the US EPA told our portfolio company Vestaron that they could remove the bee toxicity warning from the label of its biopesticide product, Spear. We were thrilled to be able to announce this in yesterday's press release, but I thought people may be interested to know exactly what we had to do to prove that Spear was non-toxic to bees.

Materials for the Masses, part 1

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

Recently, Pangaea has been working on a number of opportunities that might not only make our world better (in terms of sustainability), but also look like they can make our lives better (in terms of quality of life). And when I say "our lives", I mean everybody's lives. In this two-part blog, I want to provide a brief overview of some of the opportunities we are following that we think can help raise the standard of living for some of the poorest people on the planet.

Portfolio Spotlight: NewLeaf Symbiotics

Posted by on in Video

NewLeaf Symbiotics is an agricultural biotechnology company commercializing applications of naturally-occuring plant-associated bacteria for improved agricultural performance.

Portfolio Spotlight: Vestaron

Posted by on in Video

Pangaea presents a Portfolio Spotlight on sustainable agricultural pesticide company Vestaron Corporation, featuring an interview with CEO Dr. John Sorenson.

Neonicotinoids: Devastating The Food Chain

Posted by on in Health

June 24th’s indictment of neonicotinoids by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is by far the most conclusive evidence to date of the widespread destructive effects of this class of pesticide ever published. Based on a four-year analysis, bringing together over 800 peer-reviewed papers, the IUCN has recommended a global phase-out the use of all neonicotinoid and fipronil pesticides ("neonics" for short).

In my opening remarks at the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit on May 13, 2014, I discussed several “giga goals” facing advanced materials in the energy, electronics, health and sustainability markets.

The Promise of Biochar

Posted by on in Sustainability

Charcoal: The word (for me at least) elicits thoughts of barbeque briquettes or perhaps the favored fuel source for a traditional blacksmith’s forge. It has been in use for thousands of years across the globe and isn’t typically thought of as a particularly “advanced material”. Compared to its allotropic carbon brethren (e.g. nanotubes, graphene, carbyne, activated and nanoporous carbons), charcoal has been the persona non grata. But perhaps we’re about to witness a change from low-value carbon residue to soil amendment and carbon sequestration extraordinaire – the proverbial ugly duckling story, if you will.

Water – it is touched by technology in so many ways from pond (or aquifer, lake, ocean etc.) to tap and back again. Continued innovation helps us to remediate our waste; clean up accidents/spills more effectively, reduce the energy footprint of water treatment and provide distributed water in regions where infrastructure is lacking.

Demand for clean fresh water continues to grow and is estimated to increase by more than 40% by 2030. Any industry with such spectacular growth and opportunity for technology innovation demands a closer look – and at Pangaea Ventures, we have been looking closely for a number of years and made our first water investment in 2003. Also, the fact that water is essentially a perfect good and is a necessity for life doesn't hurt either.