About Us

Ingredients for Success

As the body of research has grown and consumers have begun learning about the benefits of cannabinoids, demand for products containing CBD and other cannabinoids has grown. Still, getting access to these powerful natural compounds has been a challenge, because the plants that produce CBD also produce THC*.

Removing the THC* from hemp extracts has long been possible using a technology called chromatography, but only in very small quantities. And then, just at the right moment, a breakthrough happened.

As the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products at the federal level, Socati’s team of scientific researchers completed a multi-year project to develop a chromatography process that could reduce THC* to non-detectable levels more effectively than existing processes and do it at much higher speed and volume.

Ingredients first

Being a pioneer, Socati built a company to function like other ingredient suppliers, giving manufacturers access to hemp-derived ingredients that behave just like every other ingredient.

World-class team

Socati has assembled a team of experts who have real-world experience and a passion for creating a better world. Our team of agronomists, geneticists, chemists, and industry executives use their decades of specialized expertise to deliver the next generation of natural ingredients through pioneering advancements in the science that underlies our processes. Our team has a proven track record founding and managing agribusiness, biochemical, medical cannabis, healthcare, and high-tech companies.

Our Executives

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Josh Epstein

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of Socati, Josh is the visionary behind the company’s innovation-based mission. His success in the venture capital and cannabis industries drives his desire to deliver safe, quality CBD products to the market.

He was previously the president and COO of Nuvera, an international cannabis company which sold for $826 million in 2018. Prior to that, he was a partner with FastForward Innovations, an early stage venture capital firm investing globally in the healthcare, biotech, cannabis and gaming sectors. There he oversaw investments and divestitures of the firm’s portfolio companies in the U.S. and around the globe. He also previously practiced law with the international law firm Baker Botts, where he focused on venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and private and public securities offerings.

Josh is an advocate for sensible regulation of the hemp industry to ensure the delivery of safe, quality cannabinoid products to market and to stimulate industry growth. He was recently invited to address an advisory panel at the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s first ever public hearing on cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

Josh earned a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated with honors as a member of the Texas Law Review. He also holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business, where he was class Valedictorian.  He resides in Austin, TX.


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Brian Goldberg

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Brian Goldberg was formerly Chief Financial Officer, Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President of Corporate Development of Amplify Snack Brands, Inc. (TA Associates portfolio company) from company formation in 2014 through successful exit to The Hershey Company in 2018 for ~$1.7B+.  Mr. Goldberg led an Initial Public Offering of Amplify in 2015 and completed multiple M&A transactions throughout tenure.   Mr. Goldberg was previously Chief Financial Officer at Badlands Power Fuels, LLC through successful exit to Heckmann Corporation in 2012 and served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Sweet Leaf Tea Company (LCatterton portfolio company) through successful exit to Nestle in 2011.  Earlier in his career, he worked at New Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and served in financial planning and strategy roles at Pfizer and international corporate tax planning roles at Ernst & Young. He has been a director, advisory board member and/or investor in many high growth CPG companies including Deep Eddy Vodka (sold to Heaven Hill in 2015), High Brew Coffee, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Epic Provisions (successful exit to General Mills), and Kettle & Fire.  He is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Capstream Group, an investment bank based in Austin.  Mr. Goldberg holds a Bachelor of Science in Management with a major in accounting from Tulane University, a Master of Accountancy with an emphasis in taxation from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration from The Darden School at The University of Virginia.  He is on the board of Naturally Austin, the Austin chapter of JDRF, and the Dean’s Business Council at Tulane University, and is a major contributor to the Friends of Austin City Limits.  Mr. Goldberg resides in Austin, TX with his wife and three sons.


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Leon Ojalvo

Chief Commercial Officer

Leon was previously founder and managing principal of Liberty Base Investments, a private equity and real estate development firm with strategic investments in the technology and cannabis sectors. The firm successfully developed or invested in over 2.6 million square feet of medical, storage, retail and hospitality assets. Prior to that, he was director at Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, a leading investment banking firm, and VP of Mergers and Acquisitions and Latin American Business Development for Mood Media, the largest global provider of in-store sensory experiences, where he led a number of strategic acquisitions and oversaw the company’s Latin American expansion.

Leon earned a B.S. degree in Economics from Duke University and an Master’s in Business Administration from Columbia Business School.


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Rusty Sutterlin, Ph. D.

Chief Science Officer

Dr. Rusty Sutterlin is the Chief Science Officer at Socati, where he leads the scientific efforts that enable Socati to create high quality, consistent and compliant cannabinoid ingredients for the CPG market.

Dr. Sutterlin has more than 20 years of experience as the chief science officer for multiple private companies, leading scientific discovery teams that have become leaders in their respective industries. He has managed the development of more than a dozen federal and state grants and has overseen multiple projects that evolved from an idea to large commercial production facilities.

His primary area of focus is in the development of process technologies for the rapid, low-cost, high yield extraction of valuable materials from agribusiness into biochemical and material building blocks. He has received organizational, local, state and federal recognition for his work, including the prestigious U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. He was part of a research collaboration in biomass conversion between the U.S. and Brazil and is listed on more than 100 patents and patent applications.

Dr. Sutterlin earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and a Post-Doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He resides in Tuscaloosa, AL.


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Mark Tegen

Chief Operating Officer

With more than 25 years of experience as a chemical industry inventor, executive and entrepreneur, Mark is the primary driver of the day-to-day operations at Socati, and is responsible for running Socati’s research, extraction and facilities teams.

He has developed or co-developed 50 patents and patent applications and sits on the boards of several chemical and renewables organizations. He was most recently the founder of Inventure Renewables, a developer of process technologies for the rapid, low-cost, high yield extraction of valuable materials from agribusiness waste into biochemical and material building blocks such as oleochemicals and biodiesel. Prior to that, he was the founder and president of Senergy Chemical, a chemical manufacturing firm focused on leveraging patented technologies to convert waste glycerol. He also previously served as vice president of Lilyblad Petroleum, a specialty chemical manufacturing and petroleum terminal.


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Mark Elfenbein

Chief Revenue Officer

As Chief Revenue Officer at Socati, Mark oversees the company’s sales and marketing functions, building on more than 20 years of experience leading rapidly growing companies in new emerging industries.

Mark has previously served as chief revenue officer, president or CEO of five publicly traded companies, which combined raised financing in excess of $1 billion. He was most recently chief revenue officer at Sentient Technologies, which raised nearly $150 million, the largest sum at the time for an artificial intelligence (AI) company. Prior to that, Mark was president and CEO of Slyce Technologies, where he led the company’s effort to deploy a visual research technology that had tremendous success among Fortune 500 companies. Earlier in his career, Mark was a founder of Mood Media, the largest global provider of in-store sensory experiences, and co-founder and head of revenue for Fun Technologies, the largest online pay-to-play casual gaming business. His family founded the iconic Canadian global TV marketing company, K-tel International, a leading disruptor in the music and consumer products industry.

Mark earned a B.B.A. degree from the University of Manitoba. He resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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Scott P. Seder

SVP of Regulatory Affairs

As SVP of Regulatory Affairs for Socati Corp., Scott is responsible for the company’s regulatory, compliance and government relations activities. As a former prosecutor, regulator, legislative counsel, policymaker and attorney in private practice, Scott brings over two decades of government affairs and regulatory affairs experience to his role. Among his more notable positions, Scott served the State of Illinois as the General Counsel to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. In that role, Scott was responsible for all legal matters relating to the agency’s regulation of over 1.2 million licensed professionals in Illinois, including physicians, pharmacists and pharmacies. As a private attorney prior to joining Socati, Scott represented some of the country’s largest and most successful cannabis cultivators and dispensaries in licensure, vendor contracts, personnel, and regulatory matters. Scott earned a B.S. degree in history from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. He resides in Austin, TX


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James Stephens

Director, Socati Montana

Mr. Stephens serves as the general manager of Socati Montana, joining the organization with the acquisition of Blue Marble Biomaterials in April of 2019 where he served as the Chief Executive Officer and founded that company in 2007. He has developed extensive experience in combining biology and chemistry to create sustainable, natural and functional products to delight customers. With over two decades of conceptual continuity using nature’s genius in sustainability, pharma, food, cosmetics, and defense industries his skills start at the technical inception and flow through to the execution of the design, fabrication, testing, piloting, scale-up, and commercialization of technology. Mr. Stephens most far-reaching achievement was the development and commercialization of the world’s first non-genetically modified microbiome-based industrial fermentation platform for cosmetics, food, flavor, fragrance, and specialty chemical products from which over 320 natural or biomimetic products were used by over 300 companies.


Our Board of Directors

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Josh Epstein

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of Socati, Josh is the visionary behind the company’s innovation-based mission. His success in the venture capital and cannabis industries drives his desire to deliver safe, quality CBD products to the market.

He was previously the president and COO of Nuvera, an international cannabis company which sold for $826 million in 2018. Prior to that, he was a partner with FastForward Innovations, an early stage venture capital firm investing globally in the healthcare, biotech, cannabis and gaming sectors. There he oversaw investments and divestitures of the firm’s portfolio companies in the U.S. and around the globe. He also previously practiced law with the international law firm Baker Botts, where he focused on venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and private and public securities offerings.

Josh is an advocate for sensible regulation of the hemp industry to ensure the delivery of safe, quality cannabinoid products to market and to stimulate industry growth. He was recently invited to address an advisory panel at the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s first ever public hearing on cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

Josh earned a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated with honors as a member of the Texas Law Review. He also holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business, where he was class Valedictorian.  He resides in Austin, TX.


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Lorne Abony

Chairman of the Board

Lorne is a prominent entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He was the co-founder and CEO of Nuuvera, a Canada-based cannabis company, which sold in 2018 for $826 million. Prior to that he was the CEO of Mood Media Corporation, a large publicly traded media entity which employed 3,300 people in 47 countries. He also co-founded FUN Technologies and in 2004 became the youngest ever CEO of a listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company was sold to Liberty Media in 2006 for $484 million.

Lorne earned an honors B.A. degree from McGill University, a L.L.B. and J.D. from the Windsor University International Law Center, and a M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. He resides in Austin, TX.


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Jonathan Peacock

Director

Jonathan Peacock is a globally recognized executive with broad experience in Biopharma, strategy and finance.

Mr. Peacock currently holds the position of Chairman at Arix Bioscience as well as Bellerophon Therapeutics. He also chairs the Audit and Finance Committee of Avantor, Inc. (NYSE:AVTR). Mr. Peacock is the former CFO of Amgen Inc. based in California and prior to that CFO of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Novartis AG, based in Switzerland. Before joining the pharmaceuticals industry, he was a partner at McKinsey and Co, where he was co-head of the European Corporate Finance practice, and was also a partner at Price Waterhouse in London and New York from 1993-98. From 2014 he was audit and finance committee chair at Kite Pharma, until its sale to Gilead for $11.9b in 2017. Mr. Peacock is a graduate of the University of St Andrews in Scotland.


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Edward F. Lonergan

Director

Edward is a proven business leader with more than 40-years of success in global consumer industries. He currently serves as the executive chairman of Zep, a leading innovator of cleaning solutions for retail, food and beverage, industrial and institutional, and vehicle care customers, and chairman of DRB Systems, a leading provider of point of sale software and tunnel control solutions. He also serves on the board of Owens Corning and the Schwan Food Company and is a senior advisor at New Mountain Capital. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Chiquita Brands International, president and CEO of Diversey, and president of Europe for Gillette.

Edward earned a B.A. degree in political science from Union College. He resides in Atlanta, GA.


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Eric Ball

Director

Eric is a veteran technology finance executive, investor and board member across multiple industries. He currently serves as general partner at Impact Venture Capital, which invests in early stage information technology startups with a focus on civic technology, cyber security, financial technology, big data, telecommunications and media. He also chairs the Audit Committee at Glu Mobile, a publicly traded leader in 3D freemium mobile gaming. Previously, Eric was CFO at C3 IoT, a leading enterprise AI software provider, and served as treasurer at Oracle, one of the world’s premier technology companies. While at Oracle, he was named one of the “100 Most Influential People” in finance by Treasury & Risk Magazine. Prior to joining Oracle, Eric served in executive roles at Flextronics International, Cisco Systems, Avery Dennison, and AT&T.

Eric earned a Ph.D. in management from Claremont Graduate University – Peter F. Trucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, as well as a M.A. degree in economics and a M.B.A. from the University of Rochester and a B.A. degree in economics from University of Michigan.


Industrial leadership

Beyond our first-class team, cutting-edge technology and exceptional product, our commitment to safety and quality sets us apart. We have been identified as the leader in the cannabinoid ingredient sector, taking an active role in advocating for hemp farmers, processors and scientists, and in building the legal, commercial and financial conditions for the industry to thrive.

Our CEO Josh Epstein was selected to speak at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) first public hearing on hemp-derived compounds. We called on regulators to act quickly to deliver guidance on claims, quality and labeling, ensuring that consumers can safely derive the greatest value from this ingredient and the U.S. economy can realize the full economic potential of this fast-growing industry. Josh’s testimony focused on the urgent need for strong regulation to ensure manufacturing quality and purity, creating that “race to the top” instead of a “race to the bottom. ”We know your customers want it and we are creating the safe and reliable path to get there.

Locations

Austin, TX

Socati’s corporate headquarters is located in Austin, TX. In addition to housing many of the company’s basic functions, our headquarters also boasts a unique experiential space on the ground floor, offering occasional, invitation-only events and giving customers the chance to see Socati’s industry-leading ingredients in action.

Woodburn, OR

Socati’s seed genetics, R&D and agricultural operations are based in Woodburn, Oregon. At this facility, Socati’s researchers refine our advanced processes for removing THC* and customizing cannabinoid profiles and work to develop new hemp genetics that produce biomass that leads the industry in cannabinoid content.

Missoula, MT

Socati’s processing plant plays an important role in the company’s operations. Located in Missoula, MT, the plant produces some of the highest quality and purest cannabinoid ingredients available. With more than a decade of history as a flavor and fragrance producer for some of the world’s largest CPG companies, the facility and the team at Socati Montana have unique experience that helps get products containing cannabinoid ingredients into production quickly and cost-effectively.

*As determined by independent testing with leading US laboratories.