Benchling, the R&D Cloud powering the biotechnology industry, today announced new executive leaders, Shawna Wolverton as chief product officer and Stuart Kerst as head of revenue operations. Wolverton, formerly of Zendesk and Salesforce, played a critical role in developing both companies’ platform product strategies with a focus on end-user community engagement. Kerst brings 25 years’ experience managing global field teams, most recently from Workday, but also SAP, HP, and SurveyMonkey.
“Both Shawna and Stuart have world-class experience in building the cloud ecosystems that revolutionized how multiple industries work,” said Sajith Wickramasekara, CEO and co-founder of Benchling. “Biotechnology is leading the most important technological revolution since computing, and our R&D Cloud plays a critical role in unlocking that potential. Shawna and Stuart will help scale our product and our go-to-market as we support more customers across the broad reach of biotech — in agriculture, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, materials, and more.”
In her new role, Wolverton will lead Benchling’s ambitious goal to be the R&D Cloud at the center of an expansive biotech ecosystem. At Zendesk, Wolverton led the product organization as executive vice president of product. Prior to that, as senior vice president of product management at Salesforce, Wolverton was at the forefront of bringing a platform strategy to SaaS and in championing the role of developers and administrators in the Salesforce community. Throughout both her 14-year tenure at Salesforce and her more recent role at Zendesk, Wolverton developed products that served companies spanning small businesses all the way to Fortune 500. At Benchling, Wolverton will lead product and design.
“In this new era of R&D, where data, analytics, and automation offer a competitive edge, scientists need a central source of truth for their work. These scientists entrust Benchling with their most critical work — the customer demand and product love for the company is truly impressive,” said Wolverton. “I’m honored to join the team at Benchling, and to build the solutions that enable scientists to spend more time doing the work that really matters, as they solve today’s most pressing challenges.”
At Benchling, Kerst will ensure the company scales a high-level of service globally, to organizations of all sizes. A seasoned leader with experience in business development, sales strategy, and field operations, Kerst came to Benchling from Workday, where he served as vice president of global field operations.
As biotech grows, Benchling continues to expand its R&D Cloud to support companies throughout their lifecycle of bringing transformative products to market. This year, Benchling incorporated in vivo research into its R&D Cloud with the acquisition of Overwatch Research and also launched novel solutions such as an AlphaFold beta integration.
The executive leaders join at a time of rapid growth for Benchling. In its most recent fiscal year, Benchling saw 80% year-over-year growth in customer count, with more than 900 biotechnology companies now using Benchling’s R&D Cloud. The company’s market leadership can be seen in the results it drives for customers:
- One in four biotech startups that went public in the last two years was built on Benchling.
- Nearly one in three of the new drugs and biologics approved by the FDA in 2021 were developed by Benchling customers.
- Customers have experienced a 62% reduction in scientists’ time spent on avoidable logistical tasks with Benchling.
- Using Benchling, customers have reported an approximately 50% increase in confidence in data quality.
- Using Benchling improves ease of scientific data hand-offs by 102%, enabling cross-team collaboration.
In the last year, Benchling has expanded its executive bench with the appointments of Paul Robson as President of Field Operations, Lindsey Irvine as CMO, Richard Wong as CFO, and Zach Powers as CISO. The company also added Elena Donio to its board.