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

Pheronym’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


Behind the numbers at SOSV’s Climate Tech 100


Pheronym is among the top 100 SOSV Climate Tech companies.

In SOSV Climate Tech 100 portfolio, 40% of the companies have at least one female founder.  Keep Reading.

From Farms to Incubators

Women innovators revolutionizing how our food is grown by Amy Wu.

Our founder Dr. Kaplan’s profile is on pages 121-130.

A scientist-turned-entrepreneur uses pheromones to tackle the global food crisis.

Pheronym’s CEO Dr. Kaplan is featured by

From Farms to Incubators: How Accelerators Act as a Springboard for Women in Agtech By Amy Wu
What does it take to enter the agriculture and innovation space?

Fatma Kaplan pitching the Pheronym solution at World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on October 15-16, 2018.

Fatma Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Pheronym, an agtech startup that produces biopesticides that use pheromones (chemicals capable of acting like hormones to impact the behavior of the receiving individuals) to control a wide range of agricultural pests. The company’s mission is to help growers control pests in an eco-friendly way. Pheronym is based in Davis, Calif., located in the Central Valley—an agricultural mecca in the U.S.

It is one of a growing number of agtech startups launched by women. Agtech is loosely defined as innovation, including hardware and software, that helps farmers work more efficiently.

Kaplan is not your conventional startup entrepreneur. Keep Reading.

This article was also featured by Hortidaily.

Our CEO, Dr. Kaplan, is featured in the American Chemical Society’s Industry Matters Newsletter

Pheronym’s first product, still in prototype, improves the efficacy of beneficial nematodes up to 78% and is “bee-friendly.” The company’s second product protects young and vulnerable plants from crop-destroying plant-parasitic nematodes. The company’s approach to pest control helps farmers grow more food in a more sustainable way, explains CEO/CSO Dr. Fatma Kaplan.

Interview: For years, pesticides were applied to the ground from above. What sparked the idea to take the battle underground and employ pheromones?

Underground pests are not as readily visible as the ones above ground. They are out of sight, out of mind. But farmers know about them because they reduce the yield. I am aware of them because I grew up on a family farm and have a degree in agriculture. I am also very familiar with the benefits of pest control.

I got the idea in 2005 when I accepted a postdoctoral position to identify the model nematode’s (Caenorhabditis elegans) sex pheromone and discovered that nematode pheromones were water-soluble. I knew how these discoveries could revolutionize agricultural pest control for nematodes. Pheromones have been used to control insects successfully for decades. Why not for nematodes? Since nematode pheromones were water-soluble, we could apply them with irrigation water to the soil where plant-parasitic nematodes attack plant roots. Keep Reading