Indigo Ag said Tuesday it appointed former Tyson Foods President and CEO Dean Banks to lead the sustainable farming and carbon credit startup.
Banks, who takes over effective Feb. 1, will also join Indigo's parent company Flagship Pioneering as CEO-Partner. He joins as Indigo closes a $270 million funding round led by several investors, including the State of Michigan Retirement System, one of the largest pension funds in the U.S.
The former meatpacking executive will be in charge of scaling the startup and maximizing profitability after Indigo’s valuation reportedly plummeted. The company was valued as much as $3.5 billion three years ago, but a funding round last year had Indigo worth closer to $200 million, tech news site CTech reported in August.
"I am confident [Banks] will steward the company into this next critical phase of growth and profitability, and ultimately realize the full potential of the Indigo platform for companies, farmers, and the planet," said Robert Berendes, board chairman of Indigo Ag and executive partner of Flagship Pioneering.
At Tyson, Banks oversaw the development and integration of alternative proteins and advanced technologies. Prior to that, Banks led teams that worked on sustainable food and robotics projects at Google’s X, a research arm for “moonshot” technologies. He has served as a member of Indigo’s board since July 2022.
Indigo offers a host of sustainable agriculture solutions for farmers and companies, including biologicals that enhance plant growth and resilience. It’s also a provider of verified carbon credits, providing payments to farmers who transition to sustainable practices. Indigo is one of more than 40 companies in the Flagship portfolio, which includes Denali Therapeutics, Inari Agriculture and Moderna.
“Indigo's solutions are delivering on their promise to help make our farmers more successful today, driving higher yields and new revenue streams while helping them nurture their soil for better tomorrows,” Banks said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team to take the company to the next level as we scale its growth and impact."
In addition to Banks, Indigo is adding two members to its board of directors: Nader Bekhouche, who is currently leading the growth equity investment team at Investment Corporation of Dubai; and Noubar Afeyan, who founded Indigo and helped build more than 70 life science and technology companies.