Leadership team


Theo Verleun (CEO) started his career as researcher brain cancer (35+ publications) in the Academic Medical Center Dijkzigt, Rotterdam. He changed his path into commercial biotech business whilst finishing the technical high school (HTS Chemistry). Since 2007 he worked for innovation giant DSM, responsible as global director for bringing new business – like enzymes, new protein and biogas – to the market. With support from DSM he founded GOA Ventures and in 2016 guided GOA as a spin-out into the market. Theo was also co-founder of the European Biogas Association and Dutch leader of the Insect Protein business installing Insect Valley Europe. In his spare time he enjoys playing volleyball and studies poison frogs.

“ GOA is checking a lot of boxes to bring the best of biotech into the seaweed community. I am thrilled that our team is impacting this new and critical wave in this sector. It will bring new protein and alternative products like biogas or bioplastics to the market. There is so much to improve for a better world”.


Dr. Catherine Jadot (General Manager North America) is an experienced entrepreneur working with a leading environmental consulting firm, Elemental Solutions Inc. She holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology, a M.Sc. in Oceanography and a M.Sc. in Biology. Originally from Belgium, Catherine has worked for various universities and agencies in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Currently, Dr. Jadot is based in Florida and works primarily to improve the sustainability of the Caribbean region by helping small island nations develop strategies to become more resilient to climate change with a focus on nature-based solutions and an ecosystemic approach. It is in this context that she experienced firsthand the ecological, social and economic impact of the Sargassum crisis on the region and is now working on turning the tide towards a positive blue economy.

“Working with the GOA team offers me an other tool to combat ecological, social and environmental conditions impact of the Sargassum floods.”

Advisory Board

Wim Hilbrands is currently acting as CEO of Olatein, a joint venture between DSM-Firmenich and the French company Avril, on the commercialization of CanolaPROTM, an innovative rapeseed protein isolate with unique nutritional and functional properties for plant-based foods. Next to that, Wim is a member of the Supervisory Board of Vivici, a startup in fermentative dairy proteins, and coordinates the overall DSM strategy in alternative proteins.  He has a long-standing career in DSM, with various roles in project management, business development and general management in the DSM nutrition businesses and in multiple countries. Prior to his current role, Wim has worked in the DSM Innovation Center, leading a variety of strategic projects across the innovation areas of DSM, involving acquisitions and divestments, joint-ventures and various other types of collaborations.


Pierre Erwes is an oceanographer and an engineer in IT and Robotics, with a master in pharmaceutical marketing. He is an entrepreneur with more than 35 years of international experience, primarily in the areas of marine bio resources. From 2005 to 2008, under the chairmanship of Raymond Barre (the former Prime Minister of France), he worked at the Scientific Foundation of Lyon and created the first BioMarine event in 2008. Soon after, he developed BioMarine independently, and built an international network, quickly recognized as the broker for innovation, international collaborations and investment in the marine bioresources industry. In 2020,  he began to work on the launch of 150 mio € “Blue Forward Fund”, a private equity fund dedicated to the blue economy. The fund invests in innovative blue companies to relieve pressure of human activities on the planetary boundaries and aggregates the companies’ outcomes on measurable environmental KPIs such as GOA Ventures.

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