Women in Agtech: Joy Parr Drach of Advanced Animal Diagnostics is Done with Double Standards

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Joy Parr Drach is CEO of Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), a company developing tools to diagnose livestock disease on the farm. The Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based company aims to help cut back on the number of antibiotics administered to livestock on farms. The technology uses the animal’s immune system response to identify and determine the stage of infections, offering an alternative to blanket preventative antibiotic-administration, which is increasingly blamed for growing antibiotic resistance.

AAD has raised a total of $38.8 million since Parr Drach joined the team as CEO in 2009 with decades of experience raising cattle and almost no experience raising venture capital. AAD has received funding from agriculture funds Cultivian Sandbox and  Middleland Capital, and life sciences VC Novartis Venture Fund among others.

We spoke to Joy Parr Drach on the sidelines of the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Kansas City, MO last week about her advice for women in agtech and how she thinks about diversity in her own organization.

How long have you been working in agriculture startups?

Six and a half years ago AAD was three people and an idea. About a dozen years ago, I started a company that does marketing and management consulting for food and ag businesses. We set aside time for some early-stage companies if they met some key criteria. AAD is one of the few companies that met that criteria.

Animal ag is one of my passions. Instead of having an associate work with AAD, I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do this.’ Within a year, I turned the company I’d started over to a partner and went all in on AAD.

In what aspect of your job do you become aware of your gender? In what situations does it come up for you? Continue reading here…

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