Asilomar trial.jpg

new tools to increase crop yield



We make chemistry to help crops perform their best.  

A field of corn is one of the most complex systems in Nature. Individual plants are constantly sensing the environment and adjusting how to use the water and nutrients in the soil. Building on breakthrough discoveries in chemistry and plant science, we are developing products to enable crops to yield more when conditions are good, and to better survive tough weather.

We started Asilomar in 2013 with a radical idea: that we could use chemistry to 'rewire' how plants work at the molecular level, leading to a better bottom line on the farm. With some hard work and a little luck, we have built a pipeline of promising technology that performs in the field. We are working to bring these ideas to farmers with a dedicated team and fantastic partners.


We use the latest tools in genomics, synthetic chemistry, agronomy, and data science to discover new molecules and rigorously test them in the field. Our discovery platform uses molecular methods and plant physiology assays to screen libraries of compounds for activity on multiple indications, including water use efficiency, drought tolerance, nutrient uptake and utilization efficiency, and crop growth and development. 

Our first chemistry coming to market results in hydraulic enhancement of crops.  Our laboratory data and years of field testing shows that hydraulic enhancement works like this:

1. Chemistry signals to the plant. Applying our chemistry is like flipping a switch in the "wiring" of the plant. The plant responds by changing how water is transported through the roots, stem, and leaves. Water flow through the plant is more efficient.

2. A hydraulic enhanced plant is different. We see that hydraulic enhanced plants are more productive when soil moisture is plentiful, and are able to capture more water when the soil is dry.

3. Hydraulic enhancement means better harvest yields. Across a season, a field will see a lot of different weather, from cold and wet to hot and dry. Hydraulic enhanced plants can better survive the dry spells, and can thrive when the weather is good.


April 2018 - Asilomar grows into new lab and office space in Emeryville, California.

January 2018 - 'Ag tech fundraising doubles as farmers seek disruptive solutions', Financial Times.

December 2017 - 'Crop protection attracts big dollar amid PE push earlier in the start-up lifecycle', Agri Investor.

December 2017 - Asilomar announces Series B financing co-lead by Syngenta Ventures and Cavallo Ventures. 

December 2017 - 'Something New Under The Sun', Techer.

November 2017 - Asilomar announces agreement with Koch Biological Solutions for commercialization of novel yield enhancing technology (press release).

The news archive can be found here.

We are excited about the future of agriculture.

We are a team of agronomists, biologists, and chemists working to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. The team is split between the San Francisco Bay Area and northeast Iowa.

Founding team. A biologist by training, Eric Davidson was previously a postdoctoral associate at Imperial College London, where he developed integrated genetic, software, and hardware tools for programming biological systems. Eric holds a Ph.D. and B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. Travis Bayer is a biochemist with experience developing technologies for the bioprocessing, fine chemicals, energy, and mining sectors. Before starting Asilomar, Travis was an Associate Professor at the University of Oxford. Travis received his Ph.D. from Caltech.

Support. We are supported by investments led by Syngenta Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, Fall Line Capital, and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. We have also received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).

Join the team.

If you are interested in working on some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture, we would love to hear from you. Open positions can be found here.