By Madeline Vuong | Geekwire
Phytelligence, a Seattle-based agricultural biotechnology company has announced the hiring of Ken Hunt as CEO, Tyler Spurgeon as COO, and Tim O’Brien as CRO. The company is growing its team in an effort to aggressively scale the organization and to increase its plant engineering production.
Ken Hunt is the former CEO of agricultural biotechnology company Anawah, which sold to Arcadia BioSciences — a company that subsequently went public in May 2015. Before that, he was the executive VP at Paradigm Genetics, later acquired by Monsanto.
New COO Tyler Spurgeon was a research site leader and senior biologist at Dow AgroSciences before joining Phytelligence. He oversaw site operations of a 15-acre research facility and its greenhouses. Before that, he worked at the Exelixis Plant Sciences research greenhouse facility.
Tim O’Brien was executive vice president for a direct marketing agency called Cesari Direct, prior to joining Phytelligence. During his 9 years there, he grew billing over 400 percent. Prior to that, he was the CMO and senior expedition leader at Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.
“The decision to join Phytelligence was an easy one given the companies’ proprietary solutions to meet severely unmet needs of growers in the food crop space,” said new CEO Ken Hunt in a statement. “Our one-of-a-kind tissue culture process enables growers to access stronger plants, have full genetic control over their crops, get from initial planting to real profits in a shorter period time, and shore up the severe shortage faced by this industry. I’m excited by the pipeline of future solutions Phytelligence is developing.”
Phytelligence was founded in 2012 by Amit Dhingra, a Washington State University professor, who serves now as chief science officer for the company. Last year, Phytelligence reported a five-fold increase in plant orders. The company plans to produce over 9 million plants in the next two years, according to its website.