Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I’m the CEO of Floe, an early-stage cleantech startup out of MIT and Yale that has developed the smart, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly solution for ice dams, which are dangerous ice formations on roofs that cause over $9.5B in damages annually in the US alone. I developed the technology while I was an undergraduate student at MIT in mechanical engineering and have been working on validating and commercializing it ever since. Compared to existing solutions that are expensive, unsafe, and energy-intensive, Floe reduces costs and carbon emissions by more than 40% and 99% respectively.
Outside of my work at Floe, I’m currently a 5th year PhD student in engineering at Yale. In addition, I’m also a partner at Dorm Room Fund, the oldest student-run venture capital firm in the country powered by First Round and other top VCs. Through DRF, I have invested in a number of early-stage companies, including several in cleantech that are changing the world!
What is a fun fact about you?
I love scuba diving and have done several wreck dives around the world!
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
The climate crisis is the biggest problem of our lifetime that is going to dramatically alter millions of peoples’ lives. It has become an existential threat to our planet and humanity that we must confront with sustainable solutions and actions to ensure we avoid the worst possible effects. As the science has become clearer about the short timeline we have left, many folks, myself included, have realized they can’t wait for someone else to fight this battle. It is up to all of us to do our part in making sure we can live on a safe, habitable planet and leave this beautiful world to future generations better than we found it.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Both the built environment and the deicing industry have been very antiquated for some time. I believe over the next 10 years both will increasingly focus on automation and rely on IoT sensors and online data to make decisions in real-time without human intervention. I also think there will be a much larger focus on the environmental footprint of these sectors for several reasons, including regulatory, financial, and ESG. This will lead to the rise of new solutions that significantly disrupt the industry towards making large steps in these directions.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
There are an incredible number of resources online, many of which are free, that you can use to learn about the climate crisis and the avenues to mitigate it. You can get involved in your community to advocate for climate-forward actions, such as promoting subsidies for individuals to buy green and launching community green projects like composting. You can also begin making greener decisions each day, such as deciding how to get to school/work, what products you buy at the grocery store, and what clothes you wear. On a career level, there are a plethora of job openings at climatetech companies looking to change the world. I’d highly recommend looking into them!