April 28, 2020 Michelle Yoshinaka

VP Business Development

Sound is an innovator of bio-inspired chemistry and plant genetics. We leverage natural plant diversity to grow crops more sustainably and create differentiated, nutritious food. Sound is a Series C startup funded by leading investors in food and agriculture such as Fall Line Capital, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Cavallo Ventures and Syngenta Ventures.

We are hiring a VP Business Development to drive commercialization of our technology platform into both food and agriculture. This position will be instrumental in this expansion by securing enterprise partners in row crops, produce and CPG. The VP Business Development will serve as the foundation of our business development efforts and be expected to build out a team of specialists over time. The role reports to the CEO and is a member of Sound’s Leadership Team.

This role can be based out of one of our offices in Emeryville, CA or Research Triangle Park, NC, or be remote. In typical times, 25%+ travel is required.


  • Close complex, multi-million dollar deals with enterprise partners across food and agriculture
    • Develop value propositions, business models, IP and partnership structures
    • Lead negotiations with senior executives at large cap public and private enterprises
    • Prepare financial and NPV models to justify significant value capture
    • Create urgency and drive towards signature of contracts on tight timelines
  • Form and nurture long-term relationships with potential partners
    • Understand partner’s strategic priorities, organization, processes, systems, and business operations and position our solutions in alignment with their needs
    • Communicate with major clients on a regular basis and schedule meetings to ensure their needs are being met
    • Proactively seek new business opportunities within our market
  • Engage the industry and represent Sound in the market
    • Be actively engaged with the seeds and food industry; maintaining current knowledge of industry trends, market conditions, competitors, customer needs, and business opportunities
    • Attend industry conferences and events
  • Work collaboratively to create alignment for partner paths
    • Communicate regularly with the R&D team and tap into their expertise
    • Work closely with the Sales & Marketing teams to build brand strength and drive lead conversion
    • Participate in TRAP (Technology Review and Advancement Process) meetings to provide input on customer needs
    • Partner with our Financial Team to analyze financial opportunities and refine Sound’s operating model

Skills & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree, ideally in a technical discipline, and MBA or Master’s degree in agriculture and/or business-related area
  • 10+ years experience in agriculture and/or food industries
  • 7+ years experience in business development, corporate development, strategic sales, investment banking and/or consulting
  • Significant experience in B2B commercialization models at enterprise level, including complex agreements that involve upfront and milestone payments, royalties and forms of value sharing
  • Direct experience with the agriculture inputs industry, including seeds and traits, chemicals and fertilizer, with the ability to become a subject matter expert on the job
  • Familiarity with the food and CPG industry, including supply chain dynamics and a sense of what opportunities they value most
  • Superb critical thinking skills, able to see the big picture, prioritize critical focus areas, and generate strategic options
  • Strong financial modeling and analytical skills
  • Exemplary negotiation skills
  • Able to develop a deep understanding in technical areas of chemistry and biology
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including facilitation of group presentations
  • Innovation and problem-solving skills that include the ability to develop and propose solutions for clients

Sound is based in Emeryville, CA and Research Triangle Park, NC, with a number of employees working remotely. We have a mission driven culture and a fast-paced, collaborative work environment. We are looking for someone to join the team who will bring a passion for sustainability along with a deep expertise in the business of food and agriculture.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We seek a diverse pool of applicants and consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, ancestry, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, Veteran status, marital status, or any other protected status.

To apply for this position, please contact [email protected], attention: BD hiring manager.

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