[Hiring] Founder in Residence, Re-Wilding Monoculture Systems @Deep Science Ventures

June 29, 2024

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Job Description

Join Us as a Founder in Residence in Agriculture

We’re on the lookout for entrepreneurial individuals with technical and commercial domain expertise with keen interest in founding, and building a global scale, impact driven, high growth company from ground up.

We are seeking applications from experienced industry, startup and/or new science or engineering based technology development professionals from anywhere in the world to work with us on the outcome: enhancing the yield and profits of monoculture crops, such as sugar cane, while reducing farm footprints across the tropics.

You’ll work closely with the DSV team, using our methodology, to spin-out a new company. During the programme, you’ll work on all aspects related to venture creation in this opportunity area, including working out the optimal approach to solve for the desired outcome, building a team and building a viable business case. Once the new venture is incorporated with pre-seed investment from DSV, you and your co-founders will own the majority stake in the business and continue receiving support from the DSV team post-spinout.

The role is full-time, initially remote (can work from anywhere) with possible relocation once the new venture is incorporated.


Opportunity Area: Re-wilding Monoculture Systems

Monoculture crops such as sugarcane are grown extensively across the Tropics, forming a key part of local and national economies. Sugarcane accounts for 79% of worldwide sugar production, while also used for biofuel production, material manufacturing, and animal feed. In 2021, global sugarcane production amounted to approximately 2 billion tonnes [1], supplying a market is expected to reach $221.4bn by 2027 [2], including sugar and other products. However, the monoculture production systems adopted for these crops exact significant environmental impacts, spanning from pesticide ecotoxicity [3] to deforestation [4] and water pressures [5].

There is a significant acceleration in government commitments to reversing ecosystem decline [6, 7], with agriculture sitting front and centre as the industry that requires transformation [8]. As a result, there is growing pressure building upon companies that source agricultural products such as sugar from the Tropics to reform their practices for sustainability [9].

Therefore, we see an opportunity to significantly enhance the productive outputs from monoculture crops, starting with sugarcane, while simultaneously returning land to nature. To do so, we have developed a strategy to deploy new technologies that directly addresses Jevon’s Paradox—where increased efficiency leads to greater resource consumption [10]. This pulls together four inter-connected pillars:

  • Stop Loss (Post-Harvest Loss Mitigation): Reduce sucrose loss post-harvest using technologies to inhibit enzymatic degradation.
  • In-Plant Processing (Biotechnological Advancements): Utilize sugarcane as a bioreactor for direct synthesis of high-value compounds.
  • Downstream Processing (High-Value Products Creation): Convert post-harvest sugarcane into high-value products.
  • Technology Access to Enhance Yield (Sustainable Productivity): Increase agricultural output through sustainable practices without expanding land use.


Our Approach

We aim to reduce the environmental footprint of sugarcane monocultures while improving productivity, yields, and profits – simultaneously addressing the needs of farmers, agribusiness and nature. To do so, we propose a combination of post-harvest loss mitigation [11] and biotechnological advancements for high-value product creation from sugar cane [12, 13, 14, 15, 16). Approximately 30% of sucrose degrades within one day post-harvest. Reducing post-harvest losses using technologies that inhibit enzymatic degradation can therefore deliver immediate improvements in resource efficiency. Furthermore, this can be paired with both in-plant and post-harvest interventions that boost the output of high value products, to reposition sugarcane as a feedstock toward high value chemical production that offers significantly improved value capture and economic resilience for farmers. Then finally, to alleviate land use conflicts and deforestation risks that could arise for such gains, these technologies can be deployed within innovative business models that require environmental compliance for access.

While we aim to start in the multi-billion dollar sugar cane industry, we also see exciting scope for new technologies built in this space to provide a platform for extension into other crops that exhibit similar characteristics and needs. We are now looking for an ambitious future Founder to make this vision a reality.


Who Should Apply

Most suitable candidates will likely meet most of the following criteria:

  • PhD or equivalent industry R&D know-how focused on bioprocess engineering, enzymology, fermentation, metabolic engineering, phytochemistry, molecular plant biology and/or biochemistry;
  • In-depth knowledge of state-of-the-art (SOTA) technologies and constraints in at least one of the following areas: tropical agronomy (particularly sugarcane), post-harvest processing, production and extraction of bioactive compounds, and/or creating circular bio-economies;
  • Industry-specific know-how and commercial knowledge (e.g. forming strategic partnerships, agricultural value chains, procurement, etc.) especially with experience engaging directly with farmers and agribusiness;
  • Proven track record of innovation, preferably with experience in startup ecosystems and fundraising;
  • Strong entrepreneurial mindset with the ability to translate scientific discoveries into commercial opportunities, ideally with experience conducting techno-economic analyses and market assessments;
  • Experience of working in a leadership role, applying project management and collaborative skills with colleagues across different teams;
  • Exceptional command of English, with proficiency in additional languages such as Spanish, being advantageous for key markets like tropical agriculture;
  • Flexibility and willingness to engage in travel or relocation, given the venture’s focus on regions with strategic relevance for tropical and subtropical agriculture, like Costa Rica.


Our Offer

By joining DSV, you will be part of a team of operators who have founded companies and led the translation of science at some of the most respected universities, charities, funds, and government agencies. Here’s what we offer:

  • Access to optimised, purpose-built, proprietary tools, resources, and processes to help create high-impact ventures from scratch;
  • Opportunity area-specific know-how from our network of Partners and Advisors;
  • Up to £250k in investment to incorporate the new venture and develop early proof-of-concept data;
  • Guaranteed income of £4,166 per month paid as a consultancy fee until the company is launched and the pre-seed investment is secured;
  • Majority equity stake in the new company for you and your co-founders;
  • Continuous post-spinout support, including fundraising, commercial partnerships, recruitment, and team-building;
  • Collaborative support from dozens of Founders currently at DSV across sectors.


About DSV

Deep Science Ventures (DSV) is on a mission to create a future in which both humans and the planet can thrive. We use our unique venture creation process to create, spin-out, and invest in science companies, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures. Operating in four sectors—Pharmaceuticals, Climate, Agriculture, and Computation—we tackle the challenges defining these areas by taking a first principles approach and partnering with leading institutions.

About the company


Deep Science Ventures is a venture creator, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures, to build a future where both humanity and the planet thrive.

We combine available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures. Deep Science Ventures operates in 4 sectors: Curative Therapeutics, Restorative Cultivation, Scaling Intelligence and Net Zero Transition, tackling the challenges defining those areas by taking a first-principles approach and partnering with leading institutions.

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