We look for scientists and engineers who are entrepreneurial leaders in their field, those
with the rare combination of exceptional technical skills, an impact-oriented mindset,
and a commitment to solve commercially relevant problems.
Cohort Three (2017–2019)
Adam Vaughan Founder, Dauntless.io
Adam is focused on the intersection of physical systems and computer control. His work has included engine control electronics for custom race cars, robotics, electric motor control, machine learning control for near-chaotic engine combustion. Adam earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and masters and bachelors degrees under full scholarship from The Cooper Union in New York City.
Dave Walther Cofounder, Nelumbo
Prior to Nelumbo, Dave spent eight years in research and development, and engineering management roles for Cobalt Technologies, an international renewable chemicals and biofuels company. He spent over 10 years leading research teams in biosensing, power, and energy at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center. David holds a B.S. in materials science & engineering and B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley.
David Bierman Founder, Marigold Power
David Bierman completed his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MIT. There, he and team member Prof. Andrej Lenert (University of Michigan) developed a novel solar thermophotovoltaic converter that is capable of harnessing the entire solar spectrum for power generation. Their research helped revitalize the field and established the current world record for solar-to-electrical conversion efficiency for this technology.
Jessica Morrison Founder, Helux
Jessica Morrison began developing micromirror-based lighting architectures while earning a Ph.D. in physics from Boston University. After graduating in 2016, she worked as a postdo in the Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) NSF Engineering Research Center, where she focused on dynamic free-space optical communications using microelectromechanical systems. She also holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Cincinnati.
Joe Geddes Founder, Photia
Joe founded Photia to enable rapid manufacturing of advanced materials for energy applications using holographic lithography. Prior to Photia, Joe was an engineer at the company Rolith, where he made key contributions to the development of Rolling Mask Lithography, a method for making two-dimensional nanostructured coatings. He earned his Ph.D. in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State.
Lance Brockway Cofounder, Nelumbo
Lance received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2014. Following his doctorate work he was a visiting scholar at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and, most recently, a postdoc at a joint venture between UC Berkeley and the National University of Singapore. There, he led a research and development and manufacturing teams to reinvent the air conditioner for efficient operation in tropical climates.
Lauren Otto Founder, Laminera
Lauren holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in optics, nanofabrication, and materials, and has built devices including sensors, solar cells, and hard drive heads. Laminera is developing industrial manufacturing methods for synthetic metals, with applications in energy and digital memory. Lauren also holds B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics and mathematics from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
Sarah Richardson Founder, Microbyre
Sarah earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Maryland in 2004 and a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2011. As Chief Scientific Officer of Microbyre she leads the construction of genomic toolkits for non-model prokaryotes. Trained in both computational and molecular biology, she brings a unique perspective on the emerging technologies enabled by “synthetic” biology.
Supriya Jaiswal Founder, Astrileux
Supriya holds bachelors and masters degrees in physics from the University of Oxford, a masters degree in atomic physics and a Ph.D. in engineering physics from the University of Virginia, and professional qualifications in business and finance from University of California, San Diego. In 2015 Supriya was elected to SPIE Senior Member for distinction and honors in optics and photonics. She was listed on SPIE’s 2016 Women in Optics.
Vince Romanin Founder, Treau
Vince received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, with a focus on heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and energy & resources. Prior to Cyclotron Road, he was a mechanical engineer and research scientist at Otherlab where he was the project lead on a hybrid solar photovoltaic and thermal system. Prior to Otherlab, Vince worked with Abengoa Research on advanced heat transfer fluids, properties, and chemistries.
Cohort Two (2016–2018)
Andrew Hsieh Co-founder, Feasible
Andrew is an expert in electrochemistry, materials science, and characterization. During his Ph.D., Andrew developed novel graphene-TiO2 anodes for Li-ion batteries. As a postdoc, Andrew led two ARPA-E funded projects and co-invented Feasible’s ultrasonic battery analysis technology. Andrew holds a Ph.D. in chemical and materials engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from UCLA.
Barry Van Tassel Co-founder, Feasible
Barry is an expert in hardware-software interfaces. During his Ph.D, he designed and built automated systems for materials synthesis and reactive spray deposition of battery electrodes. He has also built automated rigs for electrochemical testing and custom software for image and data analysis. He holds a Ph.D. from The City College of New York and a B.S. from the University of Buffalo, both in chemical engineering.
Chris Kaffer Co-founder, Mallinda
Chris has a breadth of operational experience and expertise, specifically in intellectual property and finance. Chris was the principle investigator and directed research and operations for Mallinda’s successfully completed 2016 Phase I NSF SBIR award. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Colin Bailie Co-founder, Iris PV
Colin published seminal papers on perovskite tandem solar cells with his academic adviser Michael McGehee during graduate school. He has won numerous awards for his work and efforts to commercialize this technology, most recently being named to the Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy and to the inaugural Slavin fellowship. He holds a Ph.D. in materials science from Stanford and a B.S in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M.
Pete Frischmann Co-founder, Sepion
Peter has devoted the last 10 years to advanced materials R&D. His background in self-assembly and hybrid organic/inorganic materials gives him a unique skill set for tackling long-standing energy storage problems. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Würzburg and holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc. in chemistry from Idaho State University.
Philip Taynton Co-founder, Mallinda
Philip's graduate work laid the foundation for Mallinda’s novel thermosets and composites, which won the New Venture Challenge at the University of Colorado in 2014. He was the entrepreneurial lead for Mallinda in the NSF’s I-Corps program. Prior to graduate school, Philip worked for three years in new product R&D at Avery Dennison. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and a B.S. from UC Santa Cruz, both in chemistry.
Richard Wang Co-founder, Cuberg
Richard worked as a graduate student under Prof. Yi Cui at Stanford University for the past four years. As a student, he managed a team of over 15 students on the SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon team and advised the Stanford Solar Decathlon team to compete in the DOE’s solar-powered house competition. He holds a Ph.D. in materials science from Stanford and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Caltech.
Zachary Sun Co-founder, Synvitrobio
Zachary has been developing fundamental synthetic biology technologies since 2006. His graduate work on a cell-free prototyping environment forms the basis for Synvitrobio. Zachary is a NDSEG Fellow, a DARPA Rising participant, and part of the UCLA/Caltech NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from Caltech, an A.B. in chemical and physical biology from Harvard, and is a M.D. candidate (on leave) at UCLA.
Dan Riley Cohort One (2015–2017)
Current role: Engineering Program Manager, Apple
Jared Schwede Cohort One (2015–2017)
Current role: Chief Executive Officer, Spark Thermionics
Steven Kaye Cohort One (2015–2017)
Current position: Manager, Advanced Materials, Apple
Tom McDonald Cohort One (2015–2017)
Current position: Chief Executive Officer, Mosaic Materials