The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Welcomes Hertz Fellow Scott L. Rakestraw, PhD to Board of Directors

February 6, 2018
Hertz Staff

LIVERMORE, Calif. – February 6, 2018 – The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering America's most brilliant minds in science, mathematics and engineering, has announced the election of Scott L. Rakestraw, PhD to its Board of Directors. Dr. Rakestraw is a Hertz Fellow with a track record of successfully developing both products and companies in the biotechnology and biomedical fields. During his career, Dr. Rakestraw has helped raise more than $450 million in funding for ventures in which he has been involved as a founder or executive, and has worked on 11 successful initial public offerings and multiple acquisitions of biopharmaceutical companies.

The Hertz Foundation's Board of Directors play an immense role in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity of our Fellows," said Robbee Baker Kosak, president, Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. “Hertz Fellows are leaders not only in STEM innovation, but in bringing those innovations to life to benefit mankind. Scott brings a vast body of experience in ushering biotech and biomedicine breakthroughs from the lab to the market, and his wisdom and mentorship will be invaluable for our enterprising Fellows seeking to usher in the future of human health innovation. The entire Foundation team is delighted to welcome Scott and we look forward to working with him to turn the dreams of America’s most brilliant PhD students into reality.”

As a Hertz Fellow, Dr. Rakestraw earned his PhD in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Rakestraw is president and managing director of The Branta Group, LLC, a healthcare company formation, capital investment and strategic advisory firm. He co-founded and recently served as president of Sojournix, Inc. and was co-founder and chief business officer at Orchid GeneShield, part of Orchid Biosciences, where he led the creation of personalized consumer healthcare products in partnership with leading healthcare companies. He has held management and Board roles at Altus Pharmaceuticals and began his career at DuPont Ventures, where he worked in research and development, investment and business development. Dr. Rakestraw is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Surgery, Innovation and Bioengineering at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Chemical & Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board of the University of Illinois and the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board of Rutgers University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Sojournix.

"In my years in the Hertz Community, I have found that Hertz Fellows are, without exception, insightful and creative innovators," said Dr. Rakestraw. "I am excited to take a larger role in mentoring our early career Fellows, and in working to connect the Foundation with leading global 'doers' to find real solutions to the biggest challenges in our world."

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is the legacy of John Hertz, a Hungarian immigrant who made his fortune by capitalizing on the entrepreneurship prospects in the budding automotive industry. He believed that innovative and entrepreneurial solutions were vital to the strength, security and prosperity of our nation ;— ;and began the Foundation to support exceptionally talented students expected to have the greatest impact on the world's problems. The Hertz community is one of the most influential groups of leaders, innovators, engineers, mathematicians and scientists in the American corporate, university national laboratory and military sectors. To date, Hertz Fellows collectively possess more than 3,000 patents, have founded more than 200 companies and have received more than 200 major national and international awards, including eight Breakthrough Prizes in Science, a Fields Medal, a Turing Award and two Nobel Prizes.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is a not-for-profit organization changing the world around us by granting freedom of American scientific research and innovation through fellowship and financial support. Celebrating 60 years in 2017, the Hertz Fellowship is the most exclusive program in the world. Our 1,200 Hertz Fellows are the leaders, shapers and disruptors of American science, engineering and mathematics. For more information on the Hertz Foundation and the innovations led by our Hertz Fellows please visit;


Media Contact

Allyson Scott
(408) 727-0351