Liam Berryman (CEO) and Lance Brockway, Ph.D. (CTO) are the co-founders of Nelumbo, a startup developing an advanced materials platform focused on improving the energy performance and minimizing corrosion challenges with heat exchangers in Air...
Liam Berryman (CEO) and Lance Brockway, Ph.D. (CTO) are the co-founders of Nelumbo, a startup developing an advanced materials platform focused on improving the energy performance and minimizing corrosion challenges with heat exchangers in Air Conditioners and also mitigating icing on outdoor units and refrigeration. They are also developing water repellent material to replace PFAS in millions of products.
We talk about the need for anti-icing technologies, the solution they have developed; and the impact the adoption of this technology could have on the environment. Since this is a problem that the whole world is trying to solve, we will explore the challenges in adoption of such technologies; funding that helped them get off the ground and the team that is driving their mission. We will take a deep dive into partnerships they developed to bring the product to market.
- Impact: reduce CO2 emissions and usage of PFAS.
- One of the first anti-ice technologies for heat transfer technologies and fluoro chemicals.
- The Icing problem has generally been ignored, but it is time to address this problem hurting our environment.
- Nelumbo's technology could prevent 1-1.2 gigaton (2.2 trillion pounds) of Carbon Dioxide emission in the next 20-30 years!
- Also, usage of upto 100 metric tons of fluoro chemicals/year could be avoided (from the current usage of PFAS)
- Technology developed at UC Berkeley.
- Nelumbo has developed a multi-layered, tunable, and scalable suite of surface modifications that provide superior fluid and corrosion control.
- They partnered with manufacturers to bring their technology to the market.
- Business school case studies on partnerships were not helpful in building partnerships with the right folks in the supply chain.
- Important aspects of partnership: Understand motivations, cultural barriers, manage communications well, identify decision makers, have a point of contact.
- It takes seven meetings to close a deal.
- European industrial companies have been faster in adopting technologies in this space- Most first world countries are adopting faster than the US.
- Entrepreneurs generally think that people really care about efficiency, but usually it comes down to cost and other motivating factors.
- First funds into the startup were from a startup competition.
- Team: An undergrad (drops out of college) and teams with two PhD's, and ends up becoming the CEO.
- You need a certain level of naivety when you are launching a startup.
- Evolution of VCs in the cleantech space.
- Good investors don't try to come in and change the course of the startup.
- Example of a startup with extreme transparency with team members.