Director, Agriculture Practice
Claire Kinlaw is the Director for Larta’s growing agriculture practice. She holds a PhD in biochemistry from Rice University where she studied transcription protein complexes and an MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business where she focused on entrepreneurship.
As a plant scientist Claire led applied science projects for 20 years for the USDA where she co-developed a genomic science program for forest trees. Her career with the USDA culminated with her directing the Institute of Forest Genetics. Claire co-developed and led a boutique consulting practice where her focus was on developing programs for economic development clients and advised early stage life science companies and small businesses on customer focus, product development, and growth. A return to graduate school for an MBA was followed by her joining an early stage agriculture company, Terviva, that domesticated and commercialized a new oil seed tree. She led commercialization and customer project execution along with strategic thinking for post-harvest products and downstream markets for 5 years.
Claire joined Larta Institute’s executive team in January of 2016. Larta’s agriculture practice currently has three highly successful legs with high impact: (1) commercialization acceleration programs for USDA small business innovative research grant awardees, serving ~100 companies each year in their commercialization process to bring innovative solutions to the market, (2) the Ag Innovation Showcase, the agriculture communities premium annual networking event that services early stage innovation companies, investors, and the larger agriculture corporations where connections are made that lead to investment deals and partner relationships, (3) the Global Ag Innovation Network that explores in small discussion forums the major trends and issues that those engaged in all aspects of agriculture are experiencing.
Through her own network and broad knowledge of life sciences and agriculture, Claire supports Larta’s business development team as well as Larta’s other life science programs. She works with the team to develop new offerings to serve the agriculture community and to further innovation. She is committed to helping entrepreneurial ventures succeed through providing just in time resources, business advise, and access to a network of connections so that entrepreneurs get to know the right people in the right place at the right time.