VitroLabs Appoints Anthony Chow and Martin Avetisyan to its Board of Directors
Lance Kizer joins company as new Chief Technology Officer
From L to R: Anthony Chow, Co-Founder of Agronomics; Martin Avetisyan, Chief Growth Officer of FARFETCH; Ingvar Helgason, CEO & Co-Founder of VitroLabs; Lance Kizer, Chief Technology Officer of VitroLabs
[Milpitas, California—October 5, 2022] VitroLabs Inc, the California based biotech company leading the commercialization of cell cultivated animal leather, announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors—Anthony Chow, Co-Founder of Agronomics; and Martin Avetisyan, Chief Growth Officer and member of the Executive Board at FARFETCH. Chow and Avetisyan join VitroLabs CEO & Co-Founder Ingvar Helgason to form the three-person Board. Together, they bring expertise in developing new biotechnologies in cell therapeutics and cellular agriculture, as well as global growth, acquisition, and expansion in luxury, to the company. In May, VitroLabs announced its long-standing product development partnership with Kering and closing its series A funding round, raising $46 million to date.
VitroLabs also recently appointed Lance Kizer, former Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at Cana Technologies, to its executive team as Chief Technology Officer. With extensive experience scaling products for commercialization in the foodtech, industrial biochemical, and synthetic biology spaces, Kizer will lead VitroLabs’ R&D team in driving product development and scale up to bring the world’s first cell cultivated leather to market.
“I am extremely pleased to have such a strong leadership team at the helm at VitroLabs. Lance, Anthony, and Martin’s unique backgrounds bring a strong addition of product development, scaling commercialization, growing biotech innovations, and developing businesses in luxury fashion to the company. We are now better positioned than ever before to meet our ambitious goals as we enter the next chapter,” says CEO & Co-Founder Ingvar Helgason.
“Brands today want the nobility and functionality of real leather, but with less impact on the planet,” Helgason adds. “Our team has been deep in R&D to come up with just the solution needed–a true leather replacement that changes the source of leather without changing leather itself. Within the foreseeable future, we are ushering in a new generation of real animal leather that is luxurious, bespoke, and made without the heavy and unsustainable toll on our planet.”
About Anthony Chow
Anthony Chow is a co-founder of Agronomics, a leading investor in cellular agriculture, and has worked closely with UHNW investor, Jim Mellon, investing in early-stage opportunities with a focus on biotechnology and pharma for over 13 years. He serves as a Board member of several companies in the field of cellular agriculture including SuperMeat, VitroLabs, Formo, Onego, and California Cultured; and is a board observer of Meatable and Solar Foods.
About Martin Avetisyan
Martin Avetisyan is a serial entrepreneur, growth executive, and tech investor. He is the Chief Growth Officer and Executive Board Member at FARFETCH. Being a true material science enthusiast, Martin is thrilled to serve on VitroLabs’ Board of Directors, bringing extensive experience accelerating global growth through operations as well as architecting strategic partnerships around the world. He was previously the founder and CEO at iMall, an award-winning fashion marketplace, which was acquired by Farfetch in 2015.
About Lance Kizer
Lance Kizer is an experienced founder with a demonstrated history of successfully scaling big ideas into reality for start-ups in the synthetic biology, industrial biochemical, and foodtech industries. As Co-Founder and CSO of Cana Technologies, Lance led the development of a technology to reconstruct on-demand any beverage in a home consumer electronic device using a universal flavor chemistry, enabling a novel method of distributing beverages with lower environmental impact and no single-use packaging. Part of the founding team and Vice President of Research and Development at Ripple Foods, which was founded to drive the adoption of more sustainable products in the consumer packaged goods space, lance led the successful build out of the company, development of a novel protein production process, and national launches of several plant-based dairy products that scaled into a food brand with multiple product lines available in thousands of stores nationwide.
Before starting up Ripple, Lance led research and development projects at Amyris, Inc. where he scaled and commercialized biochemicals produced via fermentation processes. Product highlights include an antimalarial compound that is now used to make more than 100 million treatments annually and sustainable cosmetic ingredient alternatives that were Amyris’ first profitable product lines. Lance earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where he specialized in applying systems biology to microbial strains engineered to produce value added chemicals from sugar feedstocks.
About Ingvar Helgason
Where fashion, technology, and sustainability intersect, you will find venture-backed VitroLabs and its Founder & CEO, Ingvar Helgason. Originally from Reykjavik, Iceland, Ingvar’s first venture, Ostwald Helgason, was a fashion brand that he co-founded in 2006 and scaled to distribution in 23 countries worldwide. Being drawn to the technology side of the fashion industry, he went on to co-found WOAH, a cloud ERP platform for apparel companies, helping 500+ brands and manufacturers speed up processes, reduce waste, and improve profitability. WOAH was sold in 2018. Ingvar’s commitment to sustainability and belief that biotech companies have the opportunity to lead the way in changing how companies produce materials and build supply chains is the foundation upon which VitroLabs’ mission stemmed. The company is supported by investors including Kering, Leonardo DiCaprio, Khosla Ventures, and Agronomics; and has received recognition in top-tier press outlets including Vogue Business, Vogue Italia, BBC, The Business of Fashion, Bloomberg News, and Forbes.
VitroLabs, founded in 2016 and headquartered in Milpitas, California, is a biotech company developing a scalable tissue engineering platform for the efficient and environmentally friendly production of leather from only a few cells. Combining advanced tissue engineering processes with proprietary advances to achieve commercial scale, VitroLabs is on a mission to produce cell cultivated leather that achieves the look, feel and performance of traditional leather without compromise. The cultivated leather process involves taking a one-time collection of cells from an animal, which then grows in a nutrient-rich environment. Without ever going back to the animal again, the cells grow, divide, and form into tissue. The composition of the material achieves the complexity of traditional hides, containing a variety of proteins that make up a durable and luxurious material when finished, but without the need to go to animals as an ongoing source of hides. The process is more environmentally sustainable and favorable for animal welfare than that which is used to produce traditional leather. For more information, visit www.vitrolabsinc.com.
You You Xia
Director of Marketing & Communications