Agriculture is in Matt Helms’ DNA. For seven generations, his family has operated a farm in Belleville.
Growing up, Helms said he developed a passion for plants as he spent time on the Belleville farm. Today, he carries on the family’s tradition of agriculture – in several ways.
Helms is managing director of BioGenerator Ventures, the investment arm of local innovation hub BioSTL. At BioGenerator Ventures, Helms is involved in its investment and development of startups in the food and agriculture technology space. He joined BioGenerator in 2022 after having been chief commercial officer at St. Louis-based agriculture startup NewLeaf Symbiotics. That followed an 18-year tenure at Monsanto.
Helms is also an entrepreneur himself: He and his wife, Michelle, in 2017 launched their own popcorn company, Ella & Ollie Popcorn. The company sources popcorn from corn hybrids grown on the Helms’ family farm. It also sells oils and spices that can be paired with the product.
Title: Managing director at BioGenerator Ventures and co-owner of Ella & Ollie Popcorn
Residence: Webster Groves
Family: Wife, Michelle; daughter, Lily Ella
Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; an EMBA from Washington University