Our Team

Germin8 Team

Who We Are

Our world is evermore connected to food. Enabled by innovation in technologies and business models, food that is produced, sourced and consumed in the right ways, has the power to nourish the population, make us healthier, sustain our planet and strengthen our bonds with those who put the food on our table. There are founders who share this vision and have ambition to shift paradigms by 10x as opposed to 10%. 

Michael Lavin founded Germin8 as the partner that founders can count on, a venture fund with strategic capabilities, an angel approach, and we’re here to build with them.

Strategic, Independently-Minded and Nimble

Germin8’s leadership uniquely comprises a range of veterans and executives bringing highly-relevant experience from leading, global food & agriculture companies throughout the supply chain, technology companies and research institutions.

Through our experience, know-how and networks, Germin8 provides global perspectives, strategic expertise, unique access to expansive resources, independently-minded action and strong personal commitment.

Germin8 Team

Who We Are

Our world is evermore connected to food. Enabled by innovation in technologies and business models, food that is produced, sourced and consumed in the right ways, has the power to nourish the population, make us healthier, sustain our planet and strengthen our bonds with those who put the food on our table. There are founders who share this vision and have ambition to shift paradigms by 10x as opposed to 10%. 

Michael Lavin founded Germin8 as the partner that founders can count on, a venture fund with strategic capabilities, an angel approach, and we’re here to build with them.

Strategic, Independently-Minded and Nimble

Germin8’s leadership uniquely comprises a range of veterans and executives bringing highly-relevant experience from leading, global food & agriculture companies throughout the supply chain, technology companies and research institutions.

Through our experience, know-how and networks, Germin8 provides global perspectives, strategic expertise, unique access to expansive resources, independently-minded action and strong personal commitment.

Michael Lavin

Founder & Managing Partner

Michael founded Germin8 Ventures to be a purpose-driven venture capital firm with strong strategic backing from executives, entrepreneurs, visionaries and technologists across the Food & Agriculture industry. As Founder & Managing Partner, Michael oversees all aspects of Germin8’s investing, operations and strategy, as well as actively participates on the boards of invested companies. Michael is also an advisor, mentor and member at several accelerators and incubators, including Rabobank’s TERRA Accelerator, Alchemist Accelerator, the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, 1871, The Good Food Accelerator, Family Farmed and The Hatchery.  Michael’s experience includes extensive investment banking and consulting for clients ranging from early- stage startups and the middle market to the Fortune 500 across numerous industry verticals, with particular emphasis on Industrial Technology, Aerospace and Food & Agriculture. Michael also served on an executive team, leading highly-strategic internal corporate development advisory and M&A for Mesirow Financial, a global financial services firm managing more than $100 billion of assets.

Michael's passion and knowledge within Food & Agriculture is authentic and deep rooted, having grown up in the industry, working throughout the value chain and completing coursework in agribusiness and related sciences, in addition to receiving Bachelors and Masters degrees in Finance. Michael is a proud Chicago native, but regularly commutes to the San Francisco Bay Area, Europe, Tel Aviv and other hubs where food meets tech.

Michael Lavin

Founder & Managing Partner

Michael founded Germin8 Ventures to be a purpose-driven venture capital firm with strong strategic backing from executives, entrepreneurs, visionaries and technologists across the Food & Agriculture industry. As Founder & Managing Partner, Michael oversees all aspects of Germin8’s investing, operations and strategy, as well as actively participates on the boards of invested companies. Michael is also an advisor, mentor and member at several accelerators and incubators, including Rabobank’s TERRA Accelerator, Alchemist Accelerator, the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, 1871, The Good Food Accelerator, Family Farmed and The Hatchery.  Michael’s experience includes extensive investment banking and consulting for clients ranging from early- stage startups and the middle market to the Fortune 500 across numerous industry verticals, with particular emphasis on Industrial Technology, Aerospace and Food & Agriculture. Michael also served on an executive team, leading highly-strategic internal corporate development advisory and M&A for Mesirow Financial, a global financial services firm managing more than $100 billion of assets.

Michael's passion and knowledge within Food & Agriculture is authentic and deep rooted, having grown up in the industry, working throughout the value chain and completing coursework in agribusiness and related sciences, in addition to receiving Bachelors and Masters degrees in Finance. Michael is a proud Chicago native, but regularly commutes to the San Francisco Bay Area, Europe, Tel Aviv and other hubs where food meets tech.

Michael Lavin

Founder & Managing Partner

Michael founded Germin8 Ventures to be a purpose-driven venture capital firm with strong strategic backing from executives, entrepreneurs, visionaries and technologists across the Food & Agriculture industry. As Founder & Managing Partner, Michael oversees all aspects of Germin8’s investing, operations and strategy, as well as actively participates on the boards of invested companies. Michael is also an advisor, mentor and member at several accelerators and incubators, including Rabobank’s TERRA Accelerator, Alchemist Accelerator, the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, 1871, The Good Food Accelerator, Family Farmed and The Hatchery.  Michael’s experience includes extensive investment banking and consulting for clients ranging from early- stage startups and the middle market to the Fortune 500 across numerous industry verticals, with particular emphasis on Industrial Technology, Aerospace and Food & Agriculture. Michael also served on an executive team, leading highly-strategic internal corporate development advisory and M&A for Mesirow Financial, a global financial services firm managing more than $100 billion of assets.

Michael's passion and knowledge within Food & Agriculture is authentic and deep rooted, having grown up in the industry, working throughout the value chain and completing coursework in agribusiness and related sciences, in addition to receiving Bachelors and Masters degrees in Finance. Michael is a proud Chicago native, but regularly commutes to the San Francisco Bay Area, Europe, Tel Aviv and other hubs where food meets tech.

Dr. Ashlie L Burkart

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Ashlie Burkart is the Chief Scientific Officer at Germin8 Ventures. As a double-boarded anatomic and clinical pathologist with expertise in gastrointestinal/liver pathology, Dr. Burkart is uniquely skilled at investigating the causes and nature of gastrointestinal diseases, as well as the laboratory application of biologic, chemical and physical sciences. She is also a grant-funded researcher conducting gut barrier mechanistic studies with far reaching implications for human health and disease.

Drawing upon her deep pathology and research background, Dr. Burkart plays a key role in extending Germin8’s scientific capabilities and actively supporting Germin8 portfolio companies. Dr. Burkart’s extensive knowledge across health and nutrition, microbiome, agro-ecology, and climate alike positions her effectively as a medical-ecologist bringing intellectual horsepower to shepherd a new standard of care for people and the planet, enabled by our food. Additionally, Dr. Burkart serves on the International Council for The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which is a prestigious group of senior business leaders, innovators and former government officials operating as the hub of Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. The Belfer Center is ranked the No. 1 university think tank in the world.

Dr. Burkart received a B.A. in biology from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude with an honors in neuroscience, and an M.D. from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Burkart completed residencies in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology at John Hopkins Medical Institutions, as well as a fellowship in gastrointestinal/liver pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest teaching award that is awarded by the graduating medical school class. Dr. Burkart was also awarded the National Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which the medical college awards to “one faculty member who demonstrates both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion.” She is based in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ashlie L Burkart

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Ashlie Burkart is the Chief Scientific Officer at Germin8 Ventures. As a double-boarded anatomic and clinical pathologist with expertise in gastrointestinal/liver pathology, Dr. Burkart is uniquely skilled at investigating the causes and nature of gastrointestinal diseases, as well as the laboratory application of biologic, chemical and physical sciences. She is also a grant-funded researcher conducting gut barrier mechanistic studies with far reaching implications for human health and disease.

Drawing upon her deep pathology and research background, Dr. Burkart plays a key role in extending Germin8’s scientific capabilities and actively supporting Germin8 portfolio companies. Dr. Burkart’s extensive knowledge across health and nutrition, microbiome, agro-ecology, and climate alike positions her effectively as a medical-ecologist bringing intellectual horsepower to shepherd a new standard of care for people and the planet, enabled by our food. Additionally, Dr. Burkart serves on the International Council for The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which is a prestigious group of senior business leaders, innovators and former government officials operating as the hub of Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. The Belfer Center is ranked the No. 1 university think tank in the world.

Dr. Burkart received a B.A. in biology from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude with an honors in neuroscience, and an M.D. from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Burkart completed residencies in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology at John Hopkins Medical Institutions, as well as a fellowship in gastrointestinal/liver pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest teaching award that is awarded by the graduating medical school class. Dr. Burkart was also awarded the National Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which the medical college awards to “one faculty member who demonstrates both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion.” She is based in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ashlie L Burkart

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Ashlie Burkart is the Chief Scientific Officer at Germin8 Ventures. As a double-boarded anatomic and clinical pathologist with expertise in gastrointestinal/liver pathology, Dr. Burkart is uniquely skilled at investigating the causes and nature of gastrointestinal diseases, as well as the laboratory application of biologic, chemical and physical sciences. She is also a grant-funded researcher conducting gut barrier mechanistic studies with far reaching implications for human health and disease.

Drawing upon her deep pathology and research background, Dr. Burkart plays a key role in extending Germin8’s scientific capabilities and actively supporting Germin8 portfolio companies. Dr. Burkart’s extensive knowledge across health and nutrition, microbiome, agro-ecology, and climate alike positions her effectively as a medical-ecologist bringing intellectual horsepower to shepherd a new standard of care for people and the planet, enabled by our food. Additionally, Dr. Burkart serves on the International Council for The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which is a prestigious group of senior business leaders, innovators and former government officials operating as the hub of Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. The Belfer Center is ranked the No. 1 university think tank in the world.

Dr. Burkart received a B.A. in biology from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude with an honors in neuroscience, and an M.D. from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Burkart completed residencies in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology at John Hopkins Medical Institutions, as well as a fellowship in gastrointestinal/liver pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest teaching award that is awarded by the graduating medical school class. Dr. Burkart was also awarded the National Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which the medical college awards to “one faculty member who demonstrates both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion.” She is based in Pennsylvania.

Featured Advisors

Jay Bauer

Jay Bauer

Advisor & Food Innovation Executive

CEO of National Pizza & Foods, with expertise across food manufacturing, product innovation, rapid scale-up and supply chain. Jay has built one of the largest manufacturing and R&D partners to major, global blue-chip food companies and has a vast network of close partners.

Brady Sidwell

Brady Sidwell

Advisor & Resident Ag Executive

Tenured food & agriculture executive bringing vast expertise and networks from past senior positions at global companies such OSI Group and Rabobank, as well as unique know-how as a professional farmer, innovator and entrepreneur.

Alex Lavin

Alex Lavin

Advisor & Resident AI Technologist

Accomplished AI researcher, software engineer and entrepreneur experienced in developing and commercializing cutting-edge of innovation at top technology organizations, including Augustus Intelligence, Vicarious, Numenta, Blue Origin and NASA.

Steve Lavin

Steve Lavin

Advisor & General Counsel

Attorney in private practice, experienced investor, banker and food industry executive with an expansive global network. Steve’s food expertise is wide ranging across large-scale manufacturing, global supply chain, partnerships and joint ventures, risk management and food safety, among many other areas.

Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon

Advisor & Overseas Affiliate

Formerly the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of Knesset and advisor to three prime ministers. Danny is presently the Co-founder & Chairman of Silver Road Capital, an investment banking firm based in Israel.

Lior Maimon

Lior Maimon

Advisor & Overseas Affiliate

Veteran entrepreneur, having founded several technology companies, executive and investor. Presently, Lior is the Co-founder and CEO of Silver Road Capital, an investment banking firm based in Israel.

Jay Bauer

Jay Bauer

Advisor & Resident Food Innovation Executive

CEO of National Pizza & Foods, with expertise across food manufacturing, product innovation, rapid scale-up and supply chain. Jay has built one of the largest manufacturing and R&D partners to major, global blue-chip food companies and has a vast network of close partners.

Brady Sidwell

Brady Sidwell

Advisor & Resident Ag Executive

Tenured food & agriculture executive bringing vast expertise and networks from past senior positions at global companies such OSI Group and Rabobank, as well as unique know-how as a professional farmer, innovator and entrepreneur.

Alex Lavin

Alex Lavin

Advisor & Resident AI Technologist

Accomplished AI researcher, software engineer and entrepreneur experienced in developing and commercializing cutting-edge of innovation at top technology organizations, including Augustus Intelligence, Vicarious, Numenta, Blue Origin and NASA.

Steve Lavin

Steve Lavin

Advisor & General Counsel

Attorney in private practice, experienced investor, banker and food industry executive with an expansive global network. Steve’s food expertise is wide ranging across large-scale manufacturing, global supply chain, partnerships and joint ventures, risk management and food safety, among many other areas.

Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon

Advisor & Overseas Affiliate

Formerly the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of Knesset and advisor to three prime ministers. Danny is presently the Co-founder & Chairman of Silver Road Capital, an investment banking firm based in Israel.

Lior Maimon

Lior Maimon

Advisor & Overseas Affiliate

Veteran entrepreneur, having founded several technology companies, executive and investor. Presently, Lior is the Co-founder and CEO of Silver Road Capital, an investment banking firm based in Israel.