Calibrate Welcomes Two New Senior Advisors: Henrik Christensen and Don Barnett

July 19, 2023 / Calibrate Ventures Staff

The AI industry is evolving at an almost unimaginable speed–with new innovations not just happening each month, but each day. As investors in AI and automation for over a decade, we rely on data, our technical expertise, and rigorous market analysis to make investment decisions. But we also rely on our trusted advisors to help us spot emerging trends and identify the most promising technologies and startups. 

At Calibrate, our advisors play a crucial hands-on role. They are a trusted source to uncover ideas and spot trends. Yet finding advisors who share our vision for building and scaling deep-tech companies is a rarity. That's why we are delighted to introduce our two new advisors: Dr. Henrik Christensen and Don Barnett. Both Henrik and Don bring unique perspectives to the table and will be invaluable partners to the Calibrate investment team and all the founders in our portfolio. 

Henrik is a distinguished professor of Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego and a renowned researcher, entrepreneur, and investor. A technologist with deep AI expertise, Henrik is the Qualcomm Chancellor's Chair in Robot Systems and directs the Contextual Robotics Institute, the Cognitive Robotics Laboratory, and the Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory. He has co-founded multiple companies including Robust.AI, AeroScan, and Intelligent Machines, and is a consultant to high-growth companies around the world. His research on robotics, computer vision, and AI has been published in 400+ contributions and has been adopted by companies such as Electrolux, ABB, KUKA, Boeing, iRobot, and General Motors. 

Don is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and board member in the food and beverage, ag-tech, CPG, and health and wellness sectors. Most recently, Don was CEO of Sun Basket, a natural organic home meal delivery company that he grew to serve 98% of ZIP codes in America and shepherded through a successful M&A exit. Don has also served as CFO of several companies including Organicgirl Produce and Rocket Farms and was selected to serve on the FedEX E-commerce Advisory Board.

Our first encounter with Henrik was serendipitous: leaving a cocktail party in Palm Springs we offered him a ride to an event we were all attending. During those 20 minutes together, we quickly discovered how many people and companies we had in common – and how unique Henrik’s view of robotics was for such an accomplished academic. He is well-versed in the technology stack and solidly grounded in the imperative that technology should solve a problem, not look for one. He applies his cutting-edge research to practical applications. We’re thrilled to now get the chance to work with Henrik to more closely follow the latest research at academic labs worldwide, tapping into his expansive network to support the most promising founders emerging from academia.

We’ve known Don since he ran Sun Basket, where we were investors at our prior venture firm. When Don sets out to solve a problem, he does so with infectious energy, a collaborative mindset, and tremendous leadership. He is a passionate operator at heart and is in his element working with executives to share his experience, judgment, and deep industry insights. Don’s company-building expertise and deep operational understanding of agriculture and food service industries will be invaluable to us and the founders in Calibrate’s portfolio.

Henrik and Don have a wealth of technical and business acumen that will energize the Calibrate team. We can’t wait to collaborate with them to discover and support the next generation of exceptional deep-tech founders.