26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Frank Klemens, DuPont

Frank Klemens is a managing director at DuPont Ventures, chemicals producer DuPont’s strategic investment arm, who identifies, evaluates and conducts strategic equity deals for DuPont’s businesses.

Klemens joined DuPont at the end of 1991 as a regulatory analytical scientist in crop protection for nearly six years, before being promoted to budget and project manager, a role he held for almost nine years.

In August 2006, he became director of licensing, a position he holds concurrently alongside his duties at DuPont Ventures which he assumed in 2016.

As a licensing director at DuPont, Klemens works with different DuPont business units to in-license and out-license technology and seeks technology investment opportunities. He oversees investment and licensing in areas including biotech, food ingredients, food safety, nutrition and health, electronics and imaging, internet of things, safety and construction, machine learning and advanced materials.

He concentrates his efforts on speciality chemicals, which address digestive, metabolic and cardiovascular health, and speciality food protection.

DuPont Ventures was launched in 2003, and since 2016, Klemens has been involved in all phases of corporate venturing activities ranging from deal sourcing to execution as well as post-investment management. In this capacity, Klemens acts as a liaison between business development and innovation units through venture investments to enhance the company’s growth.

Having come from a chemistry background, Klemens uses his knowledge in the industry to pursue technologies that can bridge the gaps in projects in progress as well as the new ones. He actively seeks strategic alliances with and invests in venture-backed startups.

DuPont Ventures’ most recent deal took place in January last year when it co-invested in a $75m funding round for US-based drone technology producer PrecisionHawk with corporate venturing peers Comcast Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures, Intel Capital, Verizon Ventures, NTT Docomo Ventures and Syngenta Ventures, as well as automotive equipment maker Yamaha Motor and a subsidiary of financial services provider USAA.

PrecisionHawk’s chief executive Michael Chasen told Triangle Business Journal at the time of fundraising: “We have the opportunity to grow a multibillion-dollar, maybe even public, company right here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I would love PrecisionHawk to be that company.”

Eight months later, PrecisionHawk acquired two energy industry-focused drone services providers Hazon and InspecTools for undisclosed amounts in September.

Other notable activities of DuPont include its acquisition of US-based microbiome technology developer Taxon Biosciences for an undisclosed amount in July 2016, as well as the launch of an agtech-focused accelerator fund called Radicle between its plant genetics subsidiary DuPont Pioneer and Germany-based pharmaceutical and chemicals firm Bayer in June 2016.

Among earlier known deals of DuPont Ventures was a $22m series C round for US-based biofuels product maker NexSteppe in 2014.

In February last year, Klemens became a board member of nonprofit Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce which aims to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Israel and the US state of Philadelphia.

Klemens holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from John Carroll University, a master of science in chemistry and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University.