A Company Balancing Form with Function

Amy Wen August 20, 2019

2019 Interns

The exceptional 2019 summer intern team at Pivot Bio, from left to right: Shireen Tango, Ty Cook, Amy Wen, Kirsty Hall, Asma Ayyad, Kelly Tucker, Elizabeth Aguilar, Nate Boyer, Bobby Clemmons, Julio Pena, & Joshua Verkerke.


 

At Pivot Bio’s offices, plants frame our work, literally and figuratively. Inside our office building is an inviting and warm environment, with bits of greenery that we choose to bring from the outside in. To me, this melding of the form and function of our buildings is a gentle reminder that despite our demure appearance, we have developed a simple yet groundbreaking solution to a global problem.

Pivot Bio combines form and function in its workspaces and the individuals who make up our company. For example, while Pivot Bio falls under the broad industry category of a molecular and synthetic biology company, we are a collective of industry leaders, researchers, and scientists with varied backgrounds in a mix of fields which include (but are not limited to!) data science, microbiology, field technology, regulatory affairs, and product development. Despite our varied backgrounds, however, we are all grounded by a mission to transform crop nutrition through our experience and passion. So, I believe we are all drawn to plants in one way or another. Whether we are motivated by big data, soil microbes, or fields full of corn, the working parts of this company consist of diverse individual team members, all of whom function towards our common goal. 

While not every employee has an extended background in plant sciences, we appreciate the beauty and potential of our work to impact others. Whether our team members choose to keep indoor plants nourished with grow lights fixated to their desks or decorate their offices with mugs containing flowers picked from locations around the city of Berkeley, there is pride in working for a company devoted to sustainability and the care of plants.  When one steps inside of our two-story, off-white, rectangular Berkeley office, one can see that we personally design the entire space of our building into a functional and capable interior workspace where we build the future of crop nutrition. 

Furthermore, this portrays to me the idea that Pivot Bio’s work is a balance of form and function -- our buildings are designed functionally and simplistically to allow us to achieve our goal of replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. The thriving plants around the buildings draw public interest, and are what we see when we first enter the door to begin the day, and the last elements of the job we are reminded of as we exit. This balance extends to the microbes we develop for modern agriculture -- they represent an elegant solution to a pressing issue, solving not just the symptom (nutrients being washed away from the field they belong to) but also the root cause: farmers need a better tool to deliver nitrogen. 

As the company grows, I’ve witnessed shifting office spaces and the addition or minimization of other spaces to incorporate the new talent that joins us and the new infrastructure to meet the demands of our tasks. I'm excited to see the company grow in a way that is proportional to our vision of expanding our impact on the agricultural industry. Some might say that as a company with fewer than 100 employees, we are bold to have aspirations as we do. But agricultural startups are promising. Pivot Bio is rapidly growing, and as such, our company looks different in culture and workspace than it did just a couple months ago, and it's sure to continue to change. Will we be able to continue to grow, expand, and achieve our goals with graceful boldness? I think so.