Product Director, Agriculture


Emeryville, CA, USA Remote

Full time


Aug 11

This job is no longer accepting applications.

Zymergen is continuing to build our portfolio out in core sectors, and has identified Agriculture as an industry ripe for innovation. This role will be in the driving seat for identifying unmet needs, driving innovation to solve these needs and bringing products to market. 

The Product Director, Agriculture will report to the Vice President of Business Development. The Product Director will be accountable for the overall Product success from Idea Generation to Sales. They will own and be accountable for the execution of all the tasks leading to a new product portfolio. Both strategy development as well as operational management tasks and coordination are part of the job scope. 

You will partner closely with the VP, internal stakeholders including the CEO and technical co-founders, and other members of the Executive team to develop appropriate strategies and products. Demonstrated leadership skills and navigating ambiguity within a matrixed organization are crucial to success, as are skills working with partners and shepherding collaborative partnerships. A bias to action is key to success, and the pace of work is faster than typically seen.

Examples of activities are signing off on technical work plans, program budgets, value proposition of product, and business model / pricing approach expected. Areas relevant for product creation to be managed internally are as diverse as molecule/chemistry choice, strain engineering, fermentation development, and formulation/processing into final products.

The diversity of tasks and complexity of the product process will ask for excellent communication and matrix management skills as well as the ability to set priorities both on the strategic and operational level. Creative problem solving is important as we explore products that offer completely new solutions and new approaches should be explored.

Zymergen focuses on a number of core sectors, and has already created significant impact given its unique and distinctive capabilities. Zymergen is a fast-growing company and, as such, the nature of the role is likely to change and expand. This position offers a unique possibility to lead that change. 

Location is preferable in Emeryville, CA, but for the right candidate, can be flexible. In the event the person is not located full time in the Bay Area, some time should be spent at Emeryville (post August 2021) to build Zymergen networks in-person and increase efficiency and effectiveness


Job Description and Specific Responsibilities

Immediate responsibilities include:

  • Define product opportunities and set the strategy based on the Zymergen technology platform (including market analysis, identification of unmet needs and potential business models to meet needs).
  • Develop and execute against long term, stage-gate Product Roadmap. 
  • Work closely with cross-functional teams to assess technology feasibility (technical, regulatory, scale-up etc.,) and work with project management functions to deliver against these plans
  • Develop the vision, the business case and business plan (including go-to-market plan), the budget, overall resource planning, and IP opportunity.
  • Drive delivery and create a vision that is shared by the cross-functional team.
  • Build alignment within the company on the overall work plan and manage the program milestones.
  • Build and manage the Product delivery organization including the potential use of external partners.
  • Manage the P&L for the product/s
  • Manage Customer and Partner interfaces and the handling of joint ventures and joint development agreements where applicable.
  • Develop next-generation Product needs in conjunction with customers and partners as relevant.
  • Attend industry events and develop Zymergen’s brand/presence in the sector, and beyond.


  • Bachelor's degree required; MBA or PhD preferred. 
  • ~10+ years of strategic and/or operational experience - with agriculture experience strongly preferred.
  • Experience in people/team management. 
  • Demonstrated executive presence and excellent communications skills.
  • Expected travel intensity is roughly 20% but can vary significantly depending on product needs.
  • Strong problem solving skills, creativity and ability to structure under ambiguity/uncertainty.
  • Significant relevant work experience in agriculture, biotechnology, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, or other areas of interest.
  • Partner management and relationship building.
  • Contract negotiations and management experience.
  • Ability to set up new commercial structures (e.g., joint ventures), and the appropriate foundation (e.g., supply chain) for a new business.

Key personal characteristics:

  • Curiosity about technology - a desire to learn about science and technology and cultivation of an open-mindset is critical to success at Zymergen and contributes to the ability to work effectively cross-functionally with subject matter experts.
  • Provide pragmatic leadership with a high sense of urgency. Able to lead, embark and influence. Results driven.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset with a track record of self-starting for successful outcomes. 
  • Passionate about agriculture and sustainability. 
  • Outstanding communicator and convincing presenter.
  • Ability to problem solve with minimal guidance in a fast-paced, deadline-driven, and team-oriented environment.
  • Strong organizational skills and project management experience, capability to work on multiple projects/priorities simultaneously.
  • Very good interpersonal skills and strong ownership, go deep when needed.
  • Team player with the strong desire to succeed in a start-up business. Strong collaboration skills and demonstrated ability to bring others along on the journey.
  • Organized, detail oriented, structured, love to document and dive head-first into solving business problems but able to think strategically as well. Navigate easily between quantitative analytics and creativity.
  • Deep fluency and skilled with Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word. Knowledge of and familiarity using a broad set of market research data sources.
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