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Green Entrepreneurs Unleashed

Yale's Climate Innovation Intensive Inspires Low-Carbon, Equitable Futures

The end of November marked the conclusion of the Climate Innovation Intensive, a dynamic collaboration between the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) and Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking. The event's grand finale was a showcase highlighting a series of impressive climate tech pitches. Featuring a cohort of 27 students selected from Yale College, the Yale School of Management, and the Yale School of the Environment, the initiative provided a stage for eight teams to unveil their visionary projects: 

CII - Winning Team White Beetle Roofing
Winning Team White Beetle Roofing (Harshit Agrawal, David Kilroy, Annie Jiang, Sofie Andal) with the final showcase judges (Connor Lynn, Haley Lieberman, and Nisha Desai)

1. White Beetle Roofing (David Kilroy, Harshit Agrawal, Sofie Andal, Annie Jiang)- creating ceramic roofing tiles, inspired by nature, to construct buildings that adapt to climate change

2. Shellstrate (Nick Callegari, Emily Lin, and Brody Nies)- upcycling nutshell and mussel shell waste to create carbon-negative construction material

3. GreenWrap (Shubh Jain, Zaneta Otoo, Calista Krass)- developing a biodegradable, Polyaniline-based, PH-sensitive food packaging biopolymer film that indicates food freshness.

4. WasteWise (Marco Marsans, Marshall McCall, Rebecca Rubright)- offering universities a turn-key SaaS solution that analyzes dining data to predict food consumption, thereby minimizing food waste

5. GreenMarine (Ambica Shalvi, Jun Go, Shane Wilson, Makenzie Birkey)- reducing carbon and sulphur intensity of the marine fuel sector with biofuel alternatives

6. SolaWind (KhaYr Barry, Olushola Aina, Nikhila Neelakantam, Bikesh Dahal)- creating a cost effective, hybrid system that operates 24/7 by harnessing both wind and solar power

7. Carbon-IQ (Mauricio Chiong, Chandler Dalton, Dhruti Mohan Gopaluni)- providing an environmental stewardship application that empowers individuals and communities to make a meaningful impact when it’s most needed

8. SolarTrade (George Aniegbunem, Iona Solomon, Sebastian Cordero Muniz, Faye Wang)- developing a platform to trade used solar panels and accessories.

White Beetle Roofing (by Annie Jiang, Sofie Andal, David Kilroy, and Harshit Agrawal) won the final showcase and received a $500 prize for their outstanding pitch. We were incredibly impressed by our cohort’s entrepreneurship and professional skills, and we hope that they continue to develop their ventures.

CII Interview Matthew Eisaman of Ebb Carbon
Grace Ferguson, Climate Innovation Intensive Student Coordinator interviewing Matthew Eisaman of Ebb Carbon

Over the past two months, we hosted a variety of inspiring workshops to educate our cohort on the fundamentals of climate entrepreneurship - starting with the ideation stage, to the business components and scaling factors of ClimateTech. Julie Zimmerman, Vice Provost on Planetary Solutions kicked off the intensive with a session on “How to think like a climate innovator”, reminding us that we can draw inspiration from nature. Ryan Dings and Casey Picket of Climate Haven led a workshop on “ClimateTech Entrepreneurship 101”, underscoring the importance of categorizing climate tech ideas to effectively solve a problem. Sara Harari, Associate Director of Innovation and Strategic Advisor to the President of Connecticut Greenbank, and Drew D’Alelio, Senior Associate at Connecticut Innovations, provided a comprehensive overview of early-stage venture and green bank financing for ClimateTech, outlining what it truly takes to scale climate innovation. 

In addition to the workshops, we hosted three speaker sessions with three brilliant startups, each offering unique perspectives on their entrepreneurial journey. Laxmi Wordham, Chief Growth Officer at Bright Feeds, shared her candid insights on developing a circular economy solution that converts food waste into animal feed. She emphasized the significance of identifying a problem that resonates with your passion, underscoring the inevitable challenges that come with being a founder. Connor Lynn, co-founder of Protein Evolution, highlighted the influential role of storytelling in captivating a diverse range of stakeholders for the adoption of their novel and disruptive technology. Protein Evolution specializes in infinitely recycling plastics through an enzyme-based technology. Lastly, Professor Matthew Eisaman, co-founder of Ebb Carbon shared his journey as a researcher and professor, illustrating how he identified market gaps in his role as a Tech Advisor at Google X, which eventually led to building Ebb Carbon. He stressed the importance of co-founders with aligned values and complementary skill sets, emphasizing their critical role in any startup. Ebb Carbon, utilizing electrochemistry, focuses on removing carbon and de-acidifying seawater.

This intensive served as a testament to the incredible partners in our ecosystem, passionately sharing their insights with a committed and engaged student community here at Yale. We're thrilled to announce that we'll be offering this intensive again next semester, so stay tuned!