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Welcoming AgTech Entrepreneur Naveen Sikka to Elemental’s Board of Directors

July 7, 2022

· 3 min read
The Elemental Team

We are thrilled to announce the addition of Naveen Sikka, CEO and founder at Terviva, to Elemental’s Board of Directors. Naveen joins an already established board that includes Chair Laurene Powell Jobs, Elemental CEO Dawn Lippert, Kelvin Taketa, Cheryl Martin, and David Crane. Terviva was one of Elemental’s first investments in 2013.

This news follows an additional $32.5 M commitment from the U.S. Office of Naval Research announced in front of 300 climate tech investors at Interactive in May, the launch of Elemental’s 2022 EDICT cohort of summer interns and employers, and nearly $100M closed by the nonprofit’s portfolio companies in the month of June.

Welcoming an entrepreneur, especially one from our first cohort, onto our board marks a natural evolution for our organization.

Since 2012, Elemental has invested in more than 130 companies, funded 100+ projects, celebrated its 20th portfolio exit, and launched a Policy Lab and Career Pathways program to strengthen the systems around our innovation economy.

“Elemental’s community of corporate partners and other entrepreneurs has helped Terviva understand how the food/ag/energy landscape is shifting, more rapidly than we would have seen by ourselves,” said Naveen Sikka, CEO and founder at Terviva. “This has kept us a step ahead when it comes to how to evolve our business to changing customer needs. In turn, I would like to think that through our growth together we have added to the collective knowledge of climate tech commercialization.”

“Welcoming an entrepreneur, especially one from our first cohort, onto our board marks a natural evolution for our organization as we continue to expand our efforts far beyond our work as an accelerator” said Elemental’s CEO and founder Dawn Lippert. “We recognize that leaders like Naveen, whose growth we’ve had the privilege of witnessing and supporting for many years, are instrumental in combating climate change. As we now look toward our 11th cohort of investments, I am energized that Naveen’s appointment to the Elemental board will enhance our ability to scale impact globally.”

As the founder and CEO of Terviva, Naveen led the company as it transformed from an idea into a growth stage agtech leader partnering with farmers to grow pongamia, a climate-resilient tree that sequesters carbon, improves soil health, and represents the world’s most sustainable supply chain of plant protein, animal feed, and cooking oil. Beyond the production of an abundant protein- and oil-rich legume, Terviva’s work helps avoid deforestation and revitalizes agricultural lands where other crops are unable to grow. Naveen’s deep knowledge and expertise working at the intersection of agriculture, food, and renewable energy make him a true asset for Elemental and its portfolio of entrepreneurs.

Under Naveen’s leadership, Terviva joined Elemental as part of the organization’s inaugural cohort, partnering with agriculture landowners and local energy companies to grow more than 200 acres of Pongamia orchards (25,000 trees) on Oahu to produce fuel and livestock feed. Since then, the company has pivoted into the regenerative food systems space producing food ingredients from pongamia. Last year, Terviva closed $54M in equity capital to commercialize its culinary oil and plant protein. Elemental is excited to have a veteran entrepreneur on its board helping to guide its continued growth and impact.