After a 36-year career at Wilbur-Ellis, Dan Vradenburg has been named CEO of agtech startup Trace Genomics.
Trace Genomics is pioneering a soil test technology to accurately assess agronomic potential and risks before the growing season begins. It combines genomics, microbiology, and machine learning.
Trace Genomics co-founders Dr. Diane Wu and Dr. Poornima Parameswaran will remain on the executive team with a focus on product development and corporate strategy.
“Dan is the right leader for Trace Genomics,” Parameswaran said in a news release. “His decades of agribusiness experience and operations, as well as conviction that technology can transform our food and agriculture systems, complement our efforts to scale and position the business to enable critical decision-making on every arable acre. Dan’s thoughtful, decisive management style will help shape Trace Genomics as we move toward full commercialization. And most importantly, Dan is a natural fit with our company culture and shares our purpose to grow a healthier tomorrow, today.”
It was announced a year and a half ago that Vradenburg would be transitioning out of his role as head of Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness to chair its venture group, Cavallo Ventures. He was board chair when Cavallo invested in Trace Genomics, which is a technology he tried first-hand in vineyards and olive orchards.
“We first got to know Dan as a customer when we helped perform some initial tests on his vineyard and olive orchard,” Wu said in a news release. “When Dan saw what our tests revealed about his soil and how it influences his farming operations, we started to bond over our mutual excitement for how our technology and this dataset will impact the entire industry. I’m excited and grateful to have Dan join us as a mentor and a partner. He will help propel us forward and lead our world-class team of experts to shape the future of agriculture.”
Under Vradenburg’s leadership, the agribusiness group at Wilbur-Ellis tripled in size and he oversaw more than 35 acquisitions.
“I was fascinated with the science behind Trace Genomics, and you can’t help but be impressed with Diane, Poornima and their team,” Vradenburg said in a news release. “We need to learn more about what’s below the surface, so we can do better above the surface, and I believe Trace Genomics is the conduit for that to happen. I’m excited for the opportunity to work alongside them as we advance Trace Genomics for its next stage of growth.”