Spotlight: Elaine C. Stracker PhD, JD

By Indigo 

Today we’re pleased to announce the addition of Elaine Stracker to the Indigo team. Elaine joins Indigo as General Counsel and Head of Intellectual Property, bringing with her more than 20 years of corporate, patent, and transactional law experience in the scientific, pharmaceutical, medical device and technology industries. We’re excited to add Elaine to our growing team and look forward to all the great work we’ll do together.

Elaine will also be the inaugural feature in our Spotlight series, sharing a bit more about her background and the work she’ll be doing here at Indigo. So, without further ado...

Tell us a little more about your background. 

Up until and through college, my goal wasn’t always to be a lawyer. In fact, I wanted to be a scientist and received my undergraduate degree and PhD in organic chemistry from UC Davis. After graduation I worked as a chemist in the pharmaceutical space for some time. Eventually, the project we were working on needed to be patented, but since patent attorneys were hard to come by, we did a lot of the research and work ourselves. It was this process that got me really excited about law, so I enrolled in law school at UC Berkeley.

After law school, I started my career in litigation focusing on patent law, but over the past 20+ years I have worked in a number of roles, both at law firms and in house. Just before joining Indigo, I was General Counsel at Pharmacyclics Inc. where I handled all legal and business-related matters on everything from transactions and regulatory, to compliance and intellectual property. I was also part of a team that facilitated the sale of the company, the second largest biopharma sale ever. The opportunity to be involved in all aspects of a company, from legal to business, people and strategy, really appeals to me, and what excites me about the opportunity here at Indigo.

What is your role at Indigo?

I will be serving as General Counsel and Head of Intellectual Property. First and foremost I’ll be addressing any legal issues that may arise, but I’ll also be working to assess and position our intellectual property and protect it from our competitors. On the business side, I’ll help set business and regulatory strategy, work with financing agencies, and structure fundraising and other outside deals in the best interest of all parties, among other roles. More generally though, I’m here to help Indigo in any way I can to further our mission to help improve food and agriculture.

Why did you join Indigo? 

I joined Indigo for the opportunity to work with an incredibly smart and committed team on a meaningful problem. At this point in my career, I wanted to work somewhere where we were truly making a difference. The culture here at Indigo really stuck out to me as well. I’ve worked in quite a few places and I’ve seen the difference between working for personal gain and working for the betterment of the group. Nobody here is fighting for their territory or their “win,” which is rare. Indigo is the most relaxed job I’ve ever had. That’s not because we all don’t work hard (we do), but the stress is gone because everyone is working in collaboration to reach our common goal.

What inspired you to work in agriculture?

I come from a family of farmers, including my father, so I grew up on a farm and in the industry and learned the value of hard work. Running a farm is an especially tough business, especially in the world we live in today. In addition to the rigors of running a business, you’re subject to weather patterns, an exploding human population to feed and environmental issues. The opportunity to help farmers in a natural way really a perfect fit for me.

Where do you hope to see Indigo in the next 5 years?

the next five years I believe we’ll be making major strides in our mission to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. At Indigo, we’re going back to a natural way of farming, adding back into our crops what nature intended to be there - a process that I truly believe will have a substantial impact on agriculture as a whole. But in the immediate future, Indigo is going to impact people. Both growers and consumers will start to reap the benefits of the work we’re doing, from improved crop yields to healthier food, and that’s something I can get behind.

What one vegetable or fruit do you always have available at home?

I always keep pineapple on hand - it’s my favorite fruit. I also have watermelon, assuming it’s in season, strawberries and blueberries in my house all the time.

How do you help preserve the environment?

I’m a member and supporter of the National Young Farmers Coalition, a strong advocate for farmers who implement practices for water conservation, including treating the soil with cover crop to improve soil conditions and decrease water use. Additionally, I plant trees on my property and family farms, which helps reduce soil erosion. 

At home, I make an effort to recycle all household waste, like incorporating mulch and brush trimmings back into the landscaping. I also minimize the use of running water whenever possible by using a bucket when washing my car, only doing full loads of laundry and running the dishwasher only when it’s full. As for personal hobbies, I love to read so I use a Kindle, helping reduce paper waste. When it comes to preserving the environment, every little bit helps!