Startup Happy Hour with FourthWave and Funded Female Founders

Dr. Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym, is honored to be a panelist at the FourthWave, an accelerator for high potential, women-led technology businesses.

Startup Happy Hour with FourthWave and Funded Female Founders

Join us on Tue, June 22, 2021, at 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM PDT.  Register

This event will feature a panel of female founders and will be moderated by Cheryl Beninga, cofounder of FourthWave. The focus of the discussion will be on raising pre-seed and seed funding. Seed funding relies heavily on relationship building and appealing to the goals of angel investors. Join us for an engaging discussion that will educate and enlighten all.


  • Anna Straus – CEO, Sparck
  • Fatma Kaplan – CEO, Pheronym
  • Kate Duggento Cordell, PhD, MPH – CEO, Opeeka


Cyclotron Road Announces Newest Cohort of Entrepreneurial Fellows

Fellows will embed for two years at Berkeley Lab developing new commercial solutions to the world’s most pressing scientific challenges

Pheronym’s founders, Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Mr. Karl Cameron Schiller, are honored to be Cyclotron Road fellows.

Cyclotron Road fellows 2021
2021 Cyclotron Road fellows: (top row) Antonio Baclig, Kezi Cheng, Jae Cho, Pete Christensen, Sam Green, Aaron Hall; (bottom row) Ben Jenett, Fatma Kaplan, David Mackanic, Ahmet Ozcan, Jimmy Rojas, Karl Cameron Schiller. (Courtesy of Cyclotron Road)

This month a dozen scientists and engineers will join the prestigious two-year fellowship program at Cyclotron Road based at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley.

Selected from a record pool of 300 applicants, these 12 individuals will make up Cohort 2021 of Cyclotron Road. As part of their two-year fellowship they will work to bring to market innovative, research-driven products to improve the sustainability and scalability of modern energy systems. The projects, listed below, include development of low-cost energy storage, nontoxic agricultural pest management and next-generation plastics designed for longevity and infinite recyclabilityKeep Reading

Yolo County ag-tech startup Pheronym selected for Berkeley fellowship program

By Emily Hamann, Sacramento Business Journal

Yolo County ag-tech startup Pheronym has been selected for a Berkeley fellowship program aimed at helping scientists turn research into products ready for the market.

Pheronym co-founders Karl Cameron Schiller and Fatma Kaplan have been selected for the Activate Fellowship program hosted out of the Cyclotron Road division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Keep reading.

Our founders are Activate-Berkeley 2021 fellows


Dr. Kaplan and Mr. Schiller are honored to be part of the Activate-Berkeley cohort 2021. This proven path for science entrepreneurs to move their breakthrough research into the


The two-year Activate Fellowship is a proven path for science entrepreneurs to move their breakthrough research into the market. It provides fellows the time, resources, and guidance to develop as leaders and mature their ideas. Unlike startup accelerators, the fellowship takes no equity stake in fellows’ companies. Keep reading

Farmers needed a solution to control plant-specific nematodes

As the daughter of specialty crop farmers in Turkey, Dr. Kaplan had planned for a career as an academic and scientist in horticulture. As Kaplan writes in a Science magazine column, “For years, I had been committed to pursuing the traditional academic path because I wanted to run an independent research program and teach. I thought a tenure-track faculty position was the one job that offered both.”

Controlling insect pests with pheromones was already being done on farms, but controlling nematodes with pheromones was new territory. Keep reading

Women in agtech: Fatma Kaplan


by Amy Wu

King City Rustler

Editor’s Note: The following profile is an excerpt from Amy Wu’s book, “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food is Grown,” which tells the stories of women entrepreneurs who are transforming agriculture through high technology.

Fatma Kaplan’s advice to her younger self is fairly straightforward. “Skip the postdoc and start a company,” she says matter-of-factly. Kaplan’s journey from scientist to business entrepreneur was unplanned, but if she were to do it again, she says she’d focus on commercializing products rather than limiting them to laboratories. Keep reading.

Sacramento Angels lead seed round in Davis ag-tech company Pheronym


Davis-based biological pest management technology company Pheronym has received $242,000 in seed funding led by the Sacramento Angels investment group.

Other investors include Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. founder Pam Marrone, Rocklin entrepreneur and local investor Mark Haney and Monte Bottens, who runs the Ag Solutions Network based in Moline, Illinois. Keep Reading

Voting open: “People’s Choice Award” for 2021 Forbes|THRIVE Demo Day

Each year the AgTech community selects the recipient of the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

The 12 startups participating in our THRIVE VII Accelerator cohort will compete for this prestigious recognition award.  For Pheronym  submit your vote  here or use the following link:


Deadline for voting is June 4, 2021

The winner will be announced during our Forbes|THRIVE Demo Day at the Forbes|THRIVE Future of Food Summit on June 30th.

Pheronym Closes First Seed Round Led by Sacramento Angels

Funding caps off year of major milestones for the company’s patented Nematode Pheromone Crop Biocontrol

DAVIS, California – May 11, 2021– Pheronym, a bio-agtech pest management company, has announced it has closed $242,000 in seed funding led by the Sacramento Angels.  Other funders in the oversubscribed round included regional business leaders, agtech industry leaders and growers, including  Dr. Pam Marrone, Monte Bottens and Mark Haney. Since 2017, the company has secured nearly $900,000 in grants. The company also received $250,000 of funding as part of IndieBio’s Cohort 5 as well as recently receiving $75,000 from Thrive Accelerator, bringing their total grant and venture investment funding to nearly $1.5 million.

The funding comes on the heels of a string of recent successes, including:

“We are grateful that the Sacramento Angels, Mr. Bottens, Mr. Haney and Dr. Marrone have expressed confidence in our leadership team and technology through this funding” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym.  “Their investment will play an important role in or efforts to deploy our solution at an industrial scale and will contribute to a dramatic increase in sustainable agriculture.”

“We are thrilled to back a female-led, local company on the cutting edge of innovation in AgTech.  Pheronym has created a breakthrough approach to pest control that delivers better ROI for the farmer while also being significantly better for the environment.  We are excited about the innovation potential of the Capital Region to change the future of agriculture and look forward to playing an ongoing role in making that happen.”  said, John Peters, the Board Chair and President of the Sacramento Angels.

“Fatma and the Pheronym team are a fantastic example of the increasing number of quality investment opportunities we are seeing in the Sacramento region: a founding team with world-class potential, a patent-protected innovative solution that is solving a critical challenge, and a sizable market. I am excited to participate in the round alongside leaders like Pam Marrone and look forward to supporting Pheronym’s journey to success!” said Mark Haney, Founding Partner of Growth Factory Ventures and Board Chair of Growth Factory Accelerator.

“Agriculture will soon experience a massive paradigm shift from a conventional chemistry-based approach to a regenerative biological-based approach. Pheronym’s leadership and products will be a key part of making this shift possible. As a Regenerative Ag Technology investor, I am very optimistic about the future of food and Pheronym’s role in enabling Regenerative Agriculture.” – Monte Bottens, Farmer, Agribusiness Owner, Regenerative AgTech Investor.

‘I have been advising Pheronym from their early days and am so pleased to see their progress in developing their breakthrough pheromone-based biocontrol for pest insects and nematodes,’ said Dr. Pam Marrone, founder of Marrone Bio Innovations

How Pheronym’s Breakthrough Works

Phernonym’s breakthrough increased the effectiveness of pest insect-killing nematodes’ ability to control pests, naturally, in agriculture. While nematodes are regularly used in pest control, commercially available nematodes do not disperse efficiently or as effectively as they can when they are applied to a field. This is because the insect target is mobile, so nematodes, which become dormant quickly, need to always be actively moving and seeking an insect host. Pheronym’s approach directly impacts this problem – significantly improving the mobility and aggressiveness of the nematodes making them more effective in killing pests. Pheronym also has shown that plant-parasitic nematodes also respond to pheromones that can repel these yield-sapping plant-parasitic nematode pests from the plant roots.

About Pheronym

Award-winning Pheronym is an ag-biotech pest management company that enables sustainable farming through its novel platform of nematode pheromones. The company’s patented solution uses a new pheromone to control plant-parasitic nematodes (microscopic roundworms) in an eco-friendly way and enhances beneficial nematodes’ efficacy to eliminate pest insects. Learn more at

About Sacramento Angels

The Sacramento Angels is a group of individuals who invest in early-stage companies throughout Northern California and beyond.  The group has been in existence since 2000 and has invested in more than 100 companies over its lifetime. The Sacramento Angels membership includes experienced entrepreneurs, CEOs, industry executives, lawyers, and venture capitalists who bring a wealth of experience and practical know-how to help their portfolio companies succeed.  Key areas of support often include board membership, business strategy & implementation, team building, networking, and fundraising.  Sacramento Angels membership is open to individuals who are accredited investors with the experience and desire to invest in and work directly with emerging technology companies.  Learn more at:

Contact: Pheronym

Karl Cameron Schiller