Our Management Team
Dirk Vandenhirtz is a visionary leader in the agricultural industry who has been shaping innovation in agribusiness for many years. He is a biologist and ecotoxicologist by training, and has already demonstrated his high performance orientation and entrepreneurial and technical talent in a variety of roles as a high-performance swimmer, company founder and CEO.
Passionate about using new technologies to solve real-world problems, Dirk co-founded crop.zone, an innovative technology startup that is revolutionizing the way farmers control weeds, even in large fields.
He is very familiar with the challenges farmers face and the impact herbicides have on the environment. With the goal of creating a more sustainable future for agriculture, Dirk has used his expertise in the field to develop innovative solutions that are fundamentally changing the efficiency and effectiveness of non-chemical crop control.
Under Dirk’s leadership, crop.zone is making a significant impact on the agriculture industry by helping growers reduce their dependence on increasingly unavailable chemical herbicides and further increasing their efficiency and environmental sustainability. Focusing on electric crop control with cutting-edge technology, crop.zone helps farmers minimize their environmental footprint and improve soil and environmental health.
This gives farmers and their downstream partners the opportunity to use forward-thinking technology to make food security profitable and affordable while improving climate and environmental protection.
Dipl. -Ing. Fabian Effey
Fabian Effey is CTO and co-founder of crop.zone. With his background as a mechanical engineer (RWTH Aachen University) and experience in electrical engineering and implementing safety-critical devices from invention to product, Fabian brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the crop.zone team.
As CTO, Fabian is responsible for crop.zone’s technical direction and oversees the development and implementation of the company’s electro-physical Hybrid Herbicide technology He also ensures that the system’s machine safety is expertly and efficiently implemented and evaluated. With his deep understanding of the intricacies of electric crop control technology and the creation of a stable supply chain (even under difficult conditions), he ensures that development of products and their rollout to the field works according to plan.
Nils Gerber, CIO and co-founder of crop.zone, is a highly skilled and flexible IT professional in with vast experience as an IT consultant. With his deep understanding of the importance of data and data-driven technology in modern agriculture, Nils plays a crucial role in developing crop.zone’s innovative solutions.
In doing so, he structures and develops the requirements and implementations for both the Hybrid Herbicide system controls themselves and the data provided by the system.
Nils’ expertise in data management and analysis has helped create a powerful data platform for crop.zone that leverages the power of IoT, AI, and cloud computing. By leveraging a datalake that integrates real-time data from multiple sources, he has ensured that farmers have access to accurate and up-to-date information.
Matthias Eberius, CSO of crop.zone, is a key figure in the scientific link between agriculture and technology in the company’s leadership team. s a chemist and ecotoxicologist (KIT and RWTH Aachen University) with long experience in plant phenotyping and special machinery engineering, he brings models and knowledge in environmental protection, agroecology and advanced agronomy, always in the link between chemistry, ecosystem, technology and society. This perspective helps replace omitted herbicides with forward-thinking practices while improving biodiversity, soil health and climate resilience.
In addition to the scientific aspects of the process, he is also involved in patenting and technical-scientific communication with professionals and non-specialists in the field of innovative agriculture.
Matthias is also a strong proponent of a science-based and society-embedded Green Deal and its goal of creating a more sustainable and circular economy. In this context, crop.zone provides crucial building blocks to get closer to the goal of more biodiversity in the agricultural landscape, more sustainable cultivation but also climate-positive agriculture.
Michiel De Jongh
Michiel De Jongh provides crucial support to crop.zone in strategic planning and implementation on the international market. He earned his Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Earlier in his career, Michiel worked in consulting and in an entrepreneurial role as co-founder of a business incubator.
After growing up in the Netherlands, Michiel has spent the last 15 years living in Spain, the US, Argentina, Korea, Ukraine, and Canada, working for a leading Fortune 500 agriculture company. During this time, he filled a variety of positions, from personnel management to sales. For the past eight years, he has held executive positions with the company.
Michiel’s passion is modern agriculture and the role this industry plays in feeding a growing population in a sustainable and cost-effective manner with innovative products, applications and services. Michiel brings his many years of expertise to bear for the benefit of crop.zone, both in strategic international negotiations and very specifically in identifying agricultural collaboration partners worldwide. He thus broadens the international perspective on agriculture and its related industry and functionality especially from the perspective of large companies.
Martin Herrmann is the CFO of crop.zone, a company that plays a pioneering role in the agricultural industry. With his many years of experience in agribusiness and his reputation as a financial expert, Martin Herrmann is a valuable asset to the company. As CFO, he is responsible for overseeing crop.zone’s financial operations and ensuring that the company is on a sound financial footing.
Martin’s expertise in the financial aspects of agribusiness is highly regarded in the industry and he is widely recognized as a financial expert. He has a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities associated with operating in the agribusiness industry and is able to provide valuable insight and advice to the company.
Paula de Haes
Dr. -Ing. Robert Möller
Dipl. -Ing. Rita Bommers
Cyrille Cabaret is a prominent figure in the world of impact investing, particularly in the field of agricultural technology. As a partner at the Demeter Venture Fund and an advisory board member of crop.zone, he has demonstrated his commitment to promoting sustainable business practices and creating positive social and environmental impact.
Cyrille’s expertise in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is widely recognized, and he has been instrumental in integrating sustainability principles into the investment process. He has a deep understanding of the importance of ESG and the role it plays in creating long-term value for both investors and society.
In seiner Rolle als Beiratsmitglied von crop.zone hat Cyrille dem Unternehmen geholfen, zu wachsen und zu reifen und innovative Lösungen zu entwickeln, um den Herausforderungen der Agrarindustrie zu begegnen.
Cyrille’s passion for impact investing and commitment to sustainability have made him a respected voice in the industry. He is constantly working to promote the integration of ESG principles into the investment process and encourage companies to adopt sustainable business practices.
Dr. Josef Krapf is an agricultural expert and a leading voice in the industry. He was a member of the Board of Management of BayWa AG and Associate Partner of ARTEMIS Group, where he was instrumental in the development and implementation of Farming 4.0.
As an agriculture expert, Dr. Krapf has a deep understanding of the challenges facing the industry and the potential of modern technologies to transform agriculture. He is a strong advocate for the adoption of Farming 4.0, which aims to use digital technologies and data to improve efficiency, reduce waste and increase productivity in agriculture.
He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and has helped the company develop innovative solutions that address industry challenges.
In his role as an Associate Partner of ARTEMIS Group, Dr. Krapf has been committed to developing sustainable and efficient agricultural practices.
Uli Berners is an expert in innovative production in the automotive sector. He is CEO and owner of LBBZ, a company specialized in the production of innovative solutions for the automotive industry based on laser technologies.
With more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Uli Berners has developed a deep understanding of the production processes and challenges of vehicle manufacturing. He is widely recognized as an expert in this field and is highly regarded for his knowledge and expertise. At LBBZ, Uli Berners was instrumental in developing and implementing innovative solutions that improved the production process and increased efficiency. He is a strong advocate of integrating new technologies and data-driven solutions into the production process and has helped position the company as a leader in electromobility.
As an advisory board member of crop.zone, Uli Berners brings his expertise in manufacturing and experience in the automotive industry. He has been instrumental in helping the company develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing agriculture.
Marcus Lehnen is an intellectual property expert and CFO of LBBZ. He brings a unique combination of expertise in intellectual property and patent law, licensing agreements and financial management, and holds a master’s degree in biology and ecotoxicology.
As an intellectual property and patent expert, Marcus Lehnen has a deep understanding of the complexities of intellectual property law and has extensive experience in negotiating licensing agreements. He has been instrumental in helping companies protect their intellectual property and secure the rights to use patented technologies and products.
In addition to his expertise in intellectual property and patent law, Marcus Lehnen has extensive experience as a CFO. He has a deep understanding of financial management and has been instrumental in helping companies manage their finances and optimize their financial performance.
As an advisory board member of crop.zone, Marcus Lehnen brings his expertise in intellectual property, licensing agreements and financial management. He has been instrumental in helping the company protect its intellectual property and secure the rights to use innovative technologies and products.
Dr. Heinrich Bottermann is an expert on environmental policy. As former Secretary General of the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt – DBU) and as former State Secretary in the Ministry for the Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, he brings with him a wealth of experience.
As an advisory board member of crop.zone, Dr. Bottermann brings his expertise in environmental policy and his experience in promoting sustainability. He will be instrumental in helping the company develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing the agricultural industry and promote sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Tobias Menne is a leader in the field of agriculture and agricultural solutions. He has an extensive background in the industry and has held several leadership positions in large companies.
Menne’s experience in the industry began when he was a member of the supervisory board of Bosch BASF Smart Farming. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the company’s operations and ensuring they ran smoothly.
Following his tenure at Bosch BASF Smart Farming, Menne became general manager of Xarvio Digital Farming Solutions. In this role, he was responsible for managing the company and leading it to success. Under his leadership, Xarvio Digital Farming Solutions became a leading provider of digital solutions for farmers, helping them optimize their operations and maximize their yields.
Menne’s expertise and leadership skills led him to join the Executive Leadership Team of BASF’s Agricultural Solutions Division.
Karina von Detten is an expert in agriculture and agricultural system solutions, with a focus on AgTech and herbicide management. She brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to her role as an advisory board member at crop.zone.
Karina von Detten has extensive experience in Nufarm portfolio management, where she managed the company’s product portfolio. This allowed her to develop a deep understanding of the industry and the products growers need to maximize yields and operate efficiently. This experience has equipped her with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead crop.zone in its efforts to provide growers with the best possible solutions.
She has a deep understanding of the different types of herbicides and their applications. This expertise is very valuable to crop.zone when it comes to developing and offering alternative products that help growers operate efficiently and effectively.
crop.zone offers the next generation of hybrid herbicide and the team has the expertise and experience to make a big impact in this transforming market segment.
Michiel De Jongh