Sustainable chemicals from
organisms, not oil

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What we do

Bluestem is a decarbonized chemicals company using programmable biology for the biomanufacturing of commodity chemicals in the Midwest

What we do

Bluestem is a decarbonized chemicals company using programmable biology for the biomanufacturing of commodity chemicals in the Midwest

Our Opportunity

Bluestem’s decarbonized chemical platform will positively impact climate, agricultural economies, and domestic supply chains, building a bio-based chemical future

Our Opportunity

Bluestem’s decarbonized chemical platform will positively impact climate, agricultural economies, and domestic supply chains, building a bio-based chemical future
A REGIONAL BIOECONOMY

Building in the Midwest

Bluestem believes the industrial bioeconomy must be built in the Midwest, leveraging the strategic pillars of agriculture, infrastructure, and workforce
INFRASTRUCTURE, AGRICULTURE & WORKFORCE

Infrastructure, agriculture, and workforce are the pillars for Bluestem’s commercial scale up of our bio-based chemical platform. These facets of industrial biotechnology are prominently found in the Midwest, and Bluestem is focused on maximizing their future potential

PUBLIC & PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

We believe that public & private partnerships integrating government, academia, and industry will accelerate our shared path to commercial success of our decarbonized chemical platform.

A REGIONAL BIOECONOMY

Building in the Midwest

Bluestem believes the industrial bioeconomy must be built in the Midwest, leveraging the strategic pillars of agriculture, infrastructure, and workforce.
INFRASTRUCTURE, AGRICULTURE & WORKFORCE

Infrastructure, agriculture, and workforce are the pillars for Bluestem’s commercial scale up of our bio-based chemical platform. These facets of industrial biotechnology are prominently found in the Midwest, and Bluestem is focused on maximizing their future potential

PUBLIC & PRIVATE
PARTNERSHIPS

We believe that public & private partnerships integrating government, academia, and industry will accelerate our shared path to commercial success of our decarbonized chemical platform.

Our Team

CEO / CO-FOUNDER

Billy Hagstrom

Bio Summary

Billy Hagstrom previously served as Executive Vice President of Strategy & Development for Green Plains, Inc.. Prior to moving to Omaha in 2021, Billy served as Chief Executive Officer of Cannalysis. Previously, Billy was a Managing Director at Highbridge Capital Management. Billy started in investment banking at J.P. Morgan focused on Natural Resources & Infrastructure. Billy earned his BA in Economics from Northwestern University.‍

CTO / CO-FOUNDER

Tyler Autera

Bio Summary

A multi-disciplinary entrepreneur with leadership experience across science, technology, operations. Most recently, Tyler served as SVP of Science & Technology at Green Plains and prior to that co-founded Cannalysis Labs. Tyler graduated from San Diego State with a BS in Biology.

CSO & CO-FOUNDER

Jared Wenger, PhD

Bio Summary

Jared Wenger has spent over 10 years in the biotech industry, most recently leading Technical Operations for a vaccine startup in Nebraska. Prior to moving to Nebraska, Jared spent 4 years at Zymergen, initially developing genetic tools for bacterial and yeast strain manufacturing pipelines, and ultimately leading process engineering and continuous improvement efforts across Build and Test capabilities. Jared started his career as a strain engineer at Amyris, after receiving his Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford and B.S. in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon.

TECHNICAL LEAD, PATHWAY DESIGN

Mark Simon, Phd

Bio Summary

Mark Simon enjoys bringing novel solutions to long standing problems. Mark received his PhD from MIT, where he was the principal inventor of the Automated Fast Flow Peptide Synthesis platform, accelerating chemical peptide synthesis nearly 100 fold while substantially improving yield and purity. Upon graduation, Mark spent 3 years at Ginkgo Bioworks, developing experience in biochemical pathway design.

TECHNICAL LEAD, MICROBIAL PHYSIOLOGY

Youngnyun Kim, PhD

Bio Summary

Youngnyun was trained as a domain expert in microbial molecular biology, metabolic engineering, and fermentation of biochemicals. He has worked at Zymergen and at Amyris for more than a decade. His strong scientific background in microbial synthetic biology and physiology plays a key role at OLAB. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida at Gainesville, FL

Director of Strain Development

Kate Curran PhD

Bio Summary

Kate previously served as Director of Platform Operations at Think Bioscience. Prior to that, Kate spent 5 years building high throughput laboratory operations at Demetrix. Kate started her career in industrial biotechnology at Amyris, working in strain engineering and automated operations. Kate holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on metabolic engineering and building of genetic tools in yeast.

DIRECTOR, GOVT. AFFAIRS & SUSTAINABILITY

Cameron Rylance

Bio Summary

Cameron Rylance has a passion for environmental sustainability and people. After receiving his Masters of Biomedical Engineering from Clemson University, Cameron combined his passions with his entrepreneurial spirit to develop more sustainable solutions for single-use medical device kits. While at Clemson, Cameron’s research focused on genome editing of mammalian cells through viral transcription. Cameron earned his BS in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

CONSULTANT, PROCESS DESIGN & SUSTAINABILITY ANALYSES

Sarang Bhagwat

Bio Summary

Sarang is a highly driven PhD candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign where he designs, simulates, and evaluates (via techno- economic analysis and life cycle assessment) biorefineries to characterize their financial viability and environmental sustainability and set development targets in projects funded by DOE and BioMADE. With Bluestem, he leverages his expertise to develop tools to design and evaluate biorefineries for over 200 biochemical pathways, act as key personnel in contributing to grant proposals, and provide regular inputs to help prioritize research and development.

INTERN, RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Thomas Schulze

Bio Summary

Tom is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where his research focuses on drug discovery and development for neglected infectious diseases. He has broad scientific training and deep experience with genomic and transcriptomic tools, as well as molecular and cellular immunology. Tom is passionate about disruptive science and Bluestem’s mission to revolutionize the chemical commodity space with green-first approaches, while demonstrating the untapped potential of anaerobic fermentation processes.

CEO / CO-FOUNDER

Billy Hagstrom

Bio Summary

Billy Hagstrom previously served as Executive Vice President of Strategy & Development for Green Plains, Inc.. Prior to moving to Omaha in 2021, Billy served as Chief Executive Officer of Cannalysis. Previously, Billy was a Managing Director at Highbridge Capital Management. Billy started in investment banking at J.P. Morgan focused on Natural Resources & Infrastructure. Billy earned his BA in Economics from Northwestern University.‍

CTO / CO-FOUNDER

Tyler Autera

Bio Summary

A multi-disciplinary entrepreneur with leadership experience across science, technology, operations. Most recently, Tyler served as SVP of Science & Technology at Green Plains and prior to that co-founded Cannalysis Labs. Tyler graduated from San Diego State with a BS in Biology.

CSO & CO-FOUNDER

Jared Wenger, PhD

Bio Summary

Jared Wenger has spent over 10 years in the biotech industry, most recently leading Technical Operations for a vaccine startup in Nebraska. Prior to moving to Nebraska, Jared spent 4 years at Zymergen, initially developing genetic tools for bacterial and yeast strain manufacturing pipelines, and ultimately leading process engineering and continuous improvement efforts across Build and Test capabilities. Jared started his career as a strain engineer at Amyris, after receiving his Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford and B.S. in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon.

TECHNICAL LEAD, PATHWAY DESIGN

Mark Simon, Phd

Bio Summary

Mark Simon enjoys bringing novel solutions to long standing problems. Mark received his PhD from MIT, where he was the principal inventor of the Automated Fast Flow Peptide Synthesis platform, accelerating chemical peptide synthesis nearly 100 fold while substantially improving yield and purity. Upon graduation, Mark spent 3 years at Ginkgo Bioworks, developing experience in biochemical pathway design.

TECHNICAL LEAD, MICROBIAL PHYSIOLOGY

Youngnyun Kim, PhD

Bio Summary

Youngnyun was trained as a domain expert in microbial molecular biology, metabolic engineering, and fermentation of biochemicals. He has worked at Zymergen and at Amyris for more than a decade. His strong scientific background in microbial synthetic biology and physiology plays a key role at OLAB. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida at Gainesville, FL

Director of Strain Development

Kate Curran PhD

Bio Summary

Kate previously served as Director of Platform Operations at Think Bioscience. Prior to that, Kate spent 5 years building high throughput laboratory operations at Demetrix. Kate started her career in industrial biotechnology at Amyris, working in strain engineering and automated operations. Kate holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on metabolic engineering and building of genetic tools in yeast.

DIRECTOR, GOVT. AFFAIRS & SUSTAINABILITY

Cameron Rylance

Bio Summary

Cameron Rylance has a passion for environmental sustainability and people. After receiving his Masters of Biomedical Engineering from Clemson University, Cameron combined his passions with his entrepreneurial spirit to develop more sustainable solutions for single-use medical device kits. While at Clemson, Cameron’s research focused on genome editing of mammalian cells through viral transcription. Cameron earned his BS in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

CONSULTANT, PROCESS DESIGN & SUSTAINABILITY ANALYSES

Sarang Bhagwat

Bio Summary

Sarang is a highly driven PhD candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign where he designs, simulates, and evaluates (via techno- economic analysis and life cycle assessment) biorefineries to characterize their financial viability and environmental sustainability and set development targets in projects funded by DOE and BioMADE. With Bluestem, he leverages his expertise to develop tools to design and evaluate biorefineries for over 200 biochemical pathways, act as key personnel in contributing to grant proposals, and provide regular inputs to help prioritize research and development.

INTERN, RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Thomas Schulze

Bio Summary

Tom is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where his research focuses on drug discovery and development for neglected infectious diseases. He has broad scientific training and deep experience with genomic and transcriptomic tools, as well as molecular and cellular immunology. Tom is passionate about disruptive science and Bluestem’s mission to revolutionize the chemical commodity space with green-first approaches, while demonstrating the untapped potential of anaerobic fermentation processes.

Advisors

Matt Vining

Bio Summary

Matt is the CEO of Navigator CO2, and a thought leader in transitional energy, and midwest infrastructure. Navigator is a Blackrock-backed company building the largest carbon sequestration network in the Midwest.

John Kwaak

Bio Summary

Founder & Managing Partner for Zero Infinity Partners, an early stage venture capital firm focused on investments to transform infrastructure. Previously, John was Executive Director & Head of Transportation for Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Alexander Greenbaum

Bio Summary

Alex Greenbaum is Partner at EQT Group, a $100 billion private equity group, where Alex is focused on infrastructure for North America. Previously, Alex was Head of North America Infrastructure for GIC (Govt of Singapore).

Kristy Hawkins, PhD

Bio Summary

Kristy has 20 years of experience in the field of synthetic biology focusing on yeast metabolic engineering for the production of small molecules while earning a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Caltech. She is currently a co-founder and CSO at Antheia.

Antonius (Ton) van Maris, PhD

Bio Summary

Ton is a world renowned bioprocess engineer, microbial physiologist, and visionary in anaerobic fermentation. He is department head for Industrial Biotechnology at KTH (Stockholm). He was formerly at TUDelft and Tate & Lyle.

Jed Dean, PhD

Bio Summary

Jed was a co-founder Zymergen where he built and led high-throughput Build, Test, and Fermentation operations. Previously, he was key in building Amyris’ strain engineering platform, and is a thought leader in industrial SynBio.

Cathy Dundon, PhD

Bio Summary

Cathy has invented and commercialized yeast biocatalysts for the production of biofuels and renewable chemicals for over 20 years Two key examples include the low pH lactic acid-producing yeast used by NatureWorks & Cargill for the production of PLA and the isobutanol-producing yeast used by Gevo. She earned her [B.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and] her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from the University of Minnesota.

Gregg Beckham, PhD

Bio Summary

Gregg is an expert in downstream processing and product “upgrading” through chemistry (including acrylics)

Darren Platt, PhD

Bio Summary

Darren has built the backend architecture for genomics, robotics, HTP screening, and fermentation at multiple companies.

Hugo Cueto-Rojas, PhD

Bio Summary

Hugo is an expert in process development, microbial physiology, and thinking anaerobically.

John Warner, PhD

Bio Summary

John is a founder of the Warner-Babcock institute and is a thought leader for green chemistry and supply chains. John sits on the sustainability advisory boards of Dow Chemical, Apple, Nike and many others. ‍

Kevin Moore

Bio Summary

Kevin is an +25yr leader with track record of bottom-line results in commercial, R&D, and operations leadership roles. History of taking on challenging high-risk assignments

Neil Renninger, PhD

Bio Summary

Neil has proven experience in developing and commercializing novel climate-impacting technologies, from concept through implementation, with leading network in climate and VC

Jed Dean, PhD

Bio Summary

Jed was a co-founder Zymergen where he built and led high-throughput Build, Test, and Fermentation operations. Previously, he was key in building Amyris’ strain engineering platform, and is a thought leader in industrial SynBio.

Alexander Greenbaum

Bio Summary

Alex Greenbaum is Partner at EQT Group, a $100 billion private equity group, where Alex is focused on infrastructure for North America. Previously, Alex was Head of North America Infrastructure for GIC (Govt of Singapore).

Kristy Hawkins, PhD

Bio Summary

Kristy has 20 years of experience in the field of synthetic biology focusing on yeast metabolic engineering for the production of small molecules while earning a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Caltech. She is currently a co-founder and CSO at Antheia.

John Kwaak

Bio Summary

Founder & Managing Partner for Zero Infinity Partners, an early stage venture capital firm focused on investments to transform infrastructure. Previously, John was Executive Director & Head of Transportation for Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Antonius (Ton) van Maris, PhD

Bio Summary

Ton is a world renowned bioprocess engineer, microbial physiologist, and visionary in anaerobic fermentation. He is department head for Industrial Biotechnology at KTH (Stockholm). He was formerly at TUDelft and Tate & Lyle.

Matt Vining

Bio Summary

Matt is the CEO of Navigator CO2, and a thought leader in transitional energy, and midwest infrastructure. Navigator is a Blackrock-backed company building the largest carbon sequestration network in the Midwest.

Gregg Beckham, PhD

Bio Summary

Gregg is an expert in downstream processing and product “upgrading” through chemistry (including acrylics)

Hugo Cueto-Rojas, PhD

Bio Summary

Hugo is an expert in process development, microbial physiology, and thinking anaerobically.

Cathy Dundon, PhD

Bio Summary

Cathy has invented and commercialized yeast biocatalysts for the production of biofuels and renewable chemicals for over 20 years Two key examples include the low pH lactic acid-producing yeast used by NatureWorks & Cargill for the production of PLA and the isobutanol-producing yeast used by Gevo. She earned her [B.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and] her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from the University of Minnesota.

Kevin Moore

Bio Summary

Kevin is an +25yr leader with track record of bottom-line results in commercial, R&D, and operations leadership roles. History of taking on challenging high-risk assignments

Darren Platt, PhD

Bio Summary

Darren has built the backend architecture for genomics, robotics, HTP screening, and fermentation at multiple companies.

Neil Renninger, PhD

Bio Summary

Neil has proven experience in developing and commercializing novel climate-impacting technologies, from concept through implementation, with leading network in climate and VC

John Warner, PhD

Bio Summary

John is a founder of the Warner-Babcock institute and is a thought leader for green chemistry and supply chains. John sits on the sustainability advisory boards of Dow Chemical, Apple, Nike and many others. ‍

Explore the latest job openings

Bluestem is excited to offer a remote-first working model, with headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska

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