Three Takeaways on being the CEO of a startup from Anna Rath of Vestaron

MEDC Staff

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Heading a startup comes with its own multitude of challenges, but CEO Anna Rath is facing these complications head-on. Now, she's passing on her knowledge to those embarking on a similar path.

Recently named CEO, Anna Rath has accepted the charge to lead Vestaron in the commercial launch of its first family of biological insecticides, SPEAR®. With more than 15 years of results-driven accomplishments in strategy, execution, venture financing and global, technology, and partnership management, Anna and the corporation are gaining national attention.

Supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative, Vestaron is The Peptide Company dedicated to improving the safety, efficacy and sustainability of crop protection through migration from chemical pesticides to biological peptides.

Initially, Vestaron is focused on a class of peptides that kills insect pests efficiently, but is safe for humans, birds, fish, pollinators and the environment. As part of this, the company has developed fermentation-based peptide production and insect resistant crop platform that will allow it to develop a wide variety of biologic crop protection and trait products.

A leader in the bioinsecticide sector, the Kalamazoo-based company received the inaugural Bernard Blum Award for Novel Biocontrol Solutions in 2015 and the Michigan SmartZone Small Business of the Year award in 2017. During its earliest stages of formation, Vestaron received support from the WMed Innovation Center, a SmartZone focused on life science, technology and engineering

In the following video, Anna shares three takeaways on being the CEO of a startup. In addition to the three takeaways in the video, Anna provided a quick tip for those hoping to take their idea from concept to commercialization:

Boards and management teams must have a clear understanding, as early in the process as possible, whether something is being pursued as a proof-of-concept or as a commercial product. Putting together the correct team with expertise in all business functions beyond the industry specific knowledge is key to prepare for commercialization. And, agreement on the organizations Purpose, Promise and Positioning in the beginning will set a much more direct path for success.

If you’ve got a high-tech start-up idea you’d like to explore further and don’t know where to start, contact the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Initiative at 888-522-0103 or visit

Contact Us

To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.