Derek Rapp is a managing director at RiverVest Venture Partners, where he focuses on the firm’s investment strategy, fundraising efforts, and investor relations and serves as liaison to St. Louis’ innovation ecosystem. As the former CEO of a biotech startup acquired by Monsanto Company, Derek brings a deep understanding of the financial and operational support needed to guide early-stage companies to successful exits. His experience as the past president and CEO of JDRF, combined with his personal connection as the father of a young man with type 1 diabetes, fuels his commitment to improving patient lives through science, strategy, and innovation.

It's inspiring to help talented people turn their concepts into life-altering therapies, even cures. RiverVest plays a key role in that product development continuum.

Derek K. Rapp


Derek K. Rapp joined RiverVest as a managing director in 2019, bringing broad experience in the life sciences industry with a focus on business management, company valuation, and deal negotiation. Derek focuses on the investment strategy and direction of the firm, assessing market dynamics, participating in due diligence, and serving as a liaison to the Midwest’s growing innovation ecosystem. He places particular emphasis on assessing management strength and team culture when evaluating investment opportunities, recognizing these factors as crucial contributors to a profitable exit.


Derek currently serves on the board of directors of RiverVest portfolio company Biolinq, Inc., Research!America, Cancer Research Foundation, Cortex Innovation Community, InvestMidwest, and biotech startup WeedOUT, of which he is the board chair, as well as serving on the Global Mission Board of JDRF. Past board positions include chairmanship of the Saint Louis Community Foundation, the Plant and Life Sciences Working Group in St. Louis, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Friends Board, among others.


Before joining RiverVest, Derek served as president and CEO of JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research and advocacy, and as CEO of biotech startup Divergence, Inc., which he successfully led to an acquisition by Monsanto Company. Prior to that, Derek served as director of investor relations and head of mergers and acquisitions at Monsanto, leading transactions totaling more than $7 billion. Derek began his career in mergers and acquisitions with Lazard Freres & Co. in New York.


Derek earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. from Brown University. As the father of a young man with type 1 diabetes and past president & CEO of JDRF, Derek is a passionate advocate for the diabetes community.


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