We’ve assembled a world-class team of scientists, entrepreneurs and company-builders that is working to turn breakthrough innovation into commercial reality.
Bunmi has been a serial entrepreneur for more than a decade, focused on hardware manufacturing enterprises in clean-tech, semiconductor engineering and biotechnology. Recently, he has worked on developing power solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Bunmi has made pioneering contributions to the physics, engineering and commercialization of a variety of solid state and bio-medical enterprises for which he has authored several issued and pending patents; co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and several international presentations. He is passionate on the role of disruptive technologies as an enabler of environmental stewardship, sustainable wealth and value creation in emerging economies. Bunmi has a technical background in Materials Science and Electronic Engineering from North Carolina State University.
Prior to BEV, Bhargavi worked in operations and finance roles at Roche and ExxonMobil, including experience in petroleum refining operations and engineering design. Bhargavi also co-founded PicoEnergy to provide off-grid solar electricity to rural businesses in developing countries. Bhargavi holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Chemical-Biological Engineering from MIT.
Professor Steven Chu
Dr. Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. His research spans atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, biomedicine and batteries. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for the laser cooling and trapping of atoms. From January 2009 until April 2013, Professor Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy and the first scientist to hold a cabinet position since Ben Franklin. During his tenure, he began ARPA-E, the Energy Innovation Hubs, the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings, and was tasked by President Obama to assist BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. Prior to his cabinet post, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University, and head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Professor Chu was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1948. He is married to Dr. Jean Chu, who holds a D.Phil. in Physics from Oxford and has served as chief of staff to two Stanford University presidents as well as Dean of Admissions.
Previously, David served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), where he led the largest government clean-energy innovation funding agency in the world. At EERE, he directed the U.S. government’s innovation strategy in the areas of sustainable transportation, renewable power, energy efficiency and clean-energy manufacturing, investing about $2 billion annually into American clean-energy innovation. He is considered a global expert in the development of next generation clean-energy technologies and the creation of new R&D and organizational models for high-impact clean energy innovation.
Prior to serving as assistant secretary of EERE, Danielson was employee #1 at the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), a highly successful funding agency that focuses on the development of high-risk, high-reward clean-energy technologies. Prior to his government service, he was a clean-energy venture capitalist at General Catalyst and was also the founder and president of the MIT Energy Club.
David is a Precourt Energy Scholar at Stanford University and teaches a year-long course on energy transformation. David received a PhD in Materials Science from MIT.
Matt is a technology and business leader with experience across sales, marketing, finance, product, and operations. Before joining BEV, Matt was VP of Yardi Energy at Yardi Systems, the largest SaaS software company in the real estate industry. At Yardi Matt led the energy and high performing buildings division where he built a team that launched several new products and implemented systems for over thirty of the largest real estate companies in North America. Prior to Yardi, Matt was Vice President of North American Sales at Tesla and was also VP of Operations and Software Product Management at Sunrun Inc. At Sunrun, he led the operations and software product functions as Sunrun grew from 30 employees and 2,000 residential solar customers to 1,200 employees and 55,000 customers. He also served in management roles at Bloom Energy and Genentech.
Matt has a B.S. in molecular biology from Duke University, and an MBA from Stanford. He is a Board member of The Institute for Market Transformation, and the Duke University Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment.
Previously, Christian worked at BMGI, the investment office that manages the assets of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation Trust. In this role, he focused on Bill’s investments in early-stage technology companies and venture capital funds, and served as the Gates’ Board Representative for Schrodinger, Nimbus Therapeutics, Carbon Engineering, EcoMotors, Echodyne, and Evolv, among others. Prior to that, he was a Principal at Novus Energy Partners, a cleantech venture capital fund.
He has also served in strategic or operating roles at Honeywell, Schlumberger, and Boeing. He began his career as an aerospace engineer designing next-generation spacecraft for NASA at Phantom Works, the research and special projects arm of Boeing.
Christian has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jonah joined bgC3, Bill Gates’s private office, in September 2014. He is responsible for the organization’s relationships with policymakers around the world. In 2015, he worked with Bill to establish the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) – a group of individuals and institutions committed to investing significant capital in energy innovations that do not contribute to climate change. As part of that effort, Jonah worked with the United States, France, India, and more than 15 other countries to establish Mission Innovation, which committed to double the government supported R&D into these technologies. In 2016, he worked with a group of members of the BEC to establish Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), a fund focused on executing the vision of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. He serves as a Senior Advisor to BEV.
Prior to bgC3, Jonah worked on the communications team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before that, he spent nearly 15 years in Washington, D.C., leading integrated advocacy, communications, and grassroots campaigns. He led a series of campaigns to affect policy on a variety of issues – from civil rights to education reform to nuclear non-proliferation. Before that, he served as primary spokesperson and chief strategist for the largest national campaign to protect voting rights.
Jonah holds a J.D. degree from Boston College Law School and a B.A. degree in History from Binghamton University.
As a part of Bill Gates’ private office, Rodi manages Bill’s interests in strategic personal investments and business relationships. In this capacity, Rodi serves as the Executive Director of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Rodi also serves as Chairman of Kymeta, a company that is leveraging new technologies that make it easy to access the unparalleled power and reach of satellite connectivity.
Previously, Rodi worked at BMGI, the investment office that manages the Gates' assets and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. In this role, he focused on Bill’s investments in early-stage technology companies and venture capital funds. Earlier in his career Rodi served as the general counsel for two Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms.
Rodi holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Tim has focused much of his career on accelerating the development and adoption of new approaches for controlling and optimizing the transmission and delivery of electric power, particularly in the context of high renewable generation penetrations.
Prior to joining BEV, Tim was Deputy Chief Scientist at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) where he led technology development R&D programs in the areas of electric utility data analytics and grid cybersecurity. Prior to joining NRECA, Dr. Heidel served as a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), where he managed a portfolio of over 75 research projects in the areas of electric power systems engineering and power electronics. Tim began his career as the Research Director for MIT’s “Future of the Electric Grid” study, coordinating research efforts from economics, policy and electrical engineering on the most important challenges and opportunities that are likely to face the U.S. electric grid over the next several decades.
Tim Heidel holds S.B., M.Eng., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Michael Idelchik is an innovative thought leader who has developed new technologies across multiple industries during the course of a 40 year career at GE. Most recently, he was Vice President of Advanced Technology at GE Global Research, where he led a team of 1,200 scientists, engineers, and technicians, and was a member of GE Ventures and Strategic Advisor for GE technology spinoffs.
Prior to that role, he expanded GE’s global competitive footprint as Vice President of GE Corporate’s China Technology Center where he founded and built an engineering, sourcing, manufacturing, and research technical center in Shanghai and grew sales by $3B. Michael has also served as Vice President of Technology for GE Lighting, where he led a strategic shift toward commercial/industrial and specialized lighting; as well as senior roles with GE Healthcare and GE Aviation.
Michael currently holds 18 patents across aviation, healthcare, oil and gas, and power, and he is proficient in multiple languages.
Prior to her current role, Christina worked as a Venture Principal in the corporate venture capital group at Schlumberger Technology Corporation. She focused on finding early stage technologies, across multiple sectors and industries, which could be adapted to serve oilfield applications. She specialized in early stage investments in energy, advanced materials, industrial software solutions and sustainability technologies. Christina served on the board of directors for Wirescan AS and as a board observer for 908 Devices, Miox and Parsable.
Christina has been recognized by Forbes in the 30 Under 30 Energy category and received the Global Corporate Venturing award as one of the top 100 Rising Stars in the corporate venturing industry. She currently serves as an advisor on the NVCA Corporate Venture Group.
Christina holds BA and MEng degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT.
Prior to joining BEV, Phil was a Senior Technical Program Manager at Google X working on several early stage energy technology projects, and before that as an Associate on the Google Energy and Renewable Energy Investment Teams. He was a Fellow working at the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), the Senior Energy Analyst at The Alliance for Climate Protection, and an Alternative Power and Energy Storage Analyst at Lux Research.
Phil holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University and a B.Sc in Physics with a Minor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Cheua currently serves as the Operations Manager of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Previously, Cheua worked at a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that included over 100 private and public portfolio companies, from start-up to scale-up globally, focusing on energy innovation and technology. In that role, Cheua served as the Legal Manager and Portfolio Administrator for over 17 years.
Cheua holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa.
Professor Arun Majumdar
Dr. Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy.
Professor Majumdar was the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), where he helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. He also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team and others that he had initiated.
After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Professor Majumdar was the Vice President for Energy at Google, where he created several energy technology initiatives at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid.
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Professor Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Professor Majumdar received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Brian is an innovator and entrepreneur focused on the application of new materials to a wide range of industries from energy to agriculture to consumer products. He has a passion for translating science and technology into real world solutions to make a difference in people’s lives. For the past 15 years Brian has played executive roles in small companies in the Boston and Chicago areas including Nano Terra, Inc. and Wearifi, Inc.
Brian’s business skills are underpinned by a robust technical background in Chemistry and Material Science through his PhD work at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Brian has co-authored 25 patents and 30 peer-reviewed publications.
Brian serves on the Advisory Board for the University of Washington’s Molecular Engineering Materials Center which is funded through the NSF MRSEC program.
Joel is Co-Founder of Foro Energy and Rho AI, he is a Founding Investor and Board Member of Rubicon Global, Zero Mass Water, Pie Insurance, and Fervo Energy and he is an angel investor in over 30 early stage technology companies including Biota Technology. He actively invests from a small institutional fund into pre-seed, seed, and Series A financing rounds.
Joel is a Precourt Energy Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. Joel received his B.S.E in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute for Technology.
Over the last 25 years, Chris has started or led six technology-based companies that span industries ranging from medical device manufacturing to design automation software to energy technology. Prior to joining BEV, Chris was the Chairman & CEO of CoalTek, Inc., a clean coal technology company. During his 12-year tenure at CoalTek, Chris led the company’s entry into the China market. Chris continues to serve on the board of CoalTek and CoalTek’s joint venture company in the PRC.
Chris was a three-time appointee to the National Coal Council, a special advisory committee to the US Secretary of Energy, under both the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations. He is an investor in and a member of the board of directors/advisors for a number of traditional technology, energy/environmental technology and materials companies.
Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance from Boston College. Chris lives in Wellesley, MA with his wife and four children.
Professor Rajeev Ram
Rajeev Ram is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. His research focuses on the development of novel photonics and electronics for communications, energy, and sensing. He has received the Ruth and Joel Spira Award and Jamieson Award for teaching, and is a MacVicar Faculty Fellow – MIT’s highest honor for teaching.
Until June 2012, Professor Ram served as a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency within the Department of Energy.
Cooper is technologist and entrepreneur with a history of building and leading teams to develop and commercialize technologies in early stage ventures in the energy, materials, and food/ag sectors.
Cooper has more than 70 patent filings totaling more than 4,000 claims in the energy, materials, food/ag, semiconductor, hardware, and consumer products sectors.
Cooper is a Hertz Fellow with a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and an AB in Physics and Engineering Physics from Harvard University.
Chris has a particular focus on finding climate-tech companies that leverage modern technology mega-trends to accelerate the rate of development and deployment of innovative technologies and business models.
Chris has 15 years of experience across multiple hardware and software technology startups in a wide variety of fields (solar energy, cancer genomics, synthetic biology, digital media). Chris has founded three companies, served in a multitude of executive roles (CEO, COO, Board Director, VP Business Development, Head of R&D), and raised more than $70 million in venture capital from top tier investors such as Sequoia Capital.
A lover of “hard-tech”, Chris began his entrepreneurial career by founding Alion, a printed thin film solar company that grew to more than 60 people and raised more than $50 million in venture capital. Chris then went on to help found Genome Compiler (acquired by Twist Biosciences), a synthetic biology software design platform for designing synthetic organisms. Most recently, Chris served as CEO of Lifecode (acquired by Medgenome), an innovative cancer genomics company.
Chris received his Bachelors of Science from MIT in Mechanical Engineering.
Carmichael is a successful entrepreneur-investor with experience building companies and commercializing university based technology in partnership with Fortune 500 companies.
In 2016, Carmichael founded Material Impact Fund, which seeks out novel materials and grows them into great products and enduring companies that solve real-world problems. Material Impact’s investments include Soft Robotics, Zero Mass Water and Amastan Technologies.
As a General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, Carmichael financed and built several successful companies that create innovative products by applying material science, including 1366 technologies, Foro Energy, and MC10. Prior to North Bridge, Carmichael co-founded several ventures and the non-profit Diagnostics For All, and served as President and CEO of Arsenal Medical.
Carmichael received his BS and PhD in organic chemistry from Duke University and completed his postdoctoral National Science Foundation fellowship at Harvard University. Carmichael also has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Deanna is an experienced executive administrator and event management expert with a history of success across several industries that include private, public and venture-backed companies as well as non-profit organizations.
Deanna holds a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Wellesley College.
Kyle has been an entrepreneur and investor for most of his career. Prior to joining BEV, he was on the investment team at In-Q-Tel (IQT). Kyle developed IQT's Industry 4.0 investment theme, which encompassed energy, materials, manufacturing, and logistics. While at IQT, he also served as an Executive in Residence for Columbia Technology Ventures. Before IQT, Kyle was an entrepreneur with companies and funds to include Liquid Light (CO2 utilization), Redpoint Ventures, Switch (energy projects), and Dunia Frontier Consultants (international finance consulting). Kyle co-developed TiGR situational awareness software while at DARPA, which was spun out as Ascend Intel. He also served on active duty in the U.S. Army for almost seven years.
Kyle holds a B.A. in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth College, a M.A. in International Finance and Energy Policy from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a M.S. in Materials Science from Columbia University. He is an inventor on 23 issued US patents and has been published in journals ranging from Topics in Catalysis to Military Review.
Eric Toone received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1988 and completed post-doctoral studies with Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University. He began his independent career at Duke in 1990, and retired from Duke in 2017 as Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry.
During his academic career Dr. Toone authored nearly 300 original papers, reviews, book chapters and abstracts in physical organic and biophysical chemistry. He is also listed as an inventor on more than 30 patents in a range of biomedical fields and is a scientific founder of three research-based pharmaceutical companies, including Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a publicly-traded ophthalmology (glaucoma) company.
From 2009 to 2012 Dr. Toone was detailed to the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). During that time, he served as Program Director and Deputy Director for Technology before leading the Agency in 2012. Dr. Toone returned to Duke in 2013 as Vice Provost and Director of the Duke University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, an initiative designed to foster entrepreneurship across the entire university community.
Peter was raised in a small Minnesota farming community and has dedicated his career to the study of building more sustainable agricultural systems while empowering farmers to become part of the climate solution.
Before joining BEV, Peter was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University where he researched the role of carbon dioxide removal technologies in the Paris Agreement as well as the use of agricultural offsets in the State of California's recent CO2 cap and trade program.
Peter completed his PhD in Land and Atmospheric Science at the University of Minnesota where he improved the United Nations' agricultural GHG emission budget and identified ways for farmers to cost-effectively mitigate nitrous oxide emissions. He previously served as a scientist for the Agricultural Research Service, the USDA's in-house research agency, and completed a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Minnesota. His work has been published in outlets including PNAS and the BBC.
Adam is an executive and entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience leading companies in the biomedical and energy space. He has held senior executive roles in a variety of companies, including Carborundum Company a division of British Petroleum, GEO2 Technologies an automotive clean technology venture, and Bio2 Technologies, a company that commercialized a next generation regenerative orthopedic implant.
Adam holds an EMBA from the University at Buffalo and BS in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University.
Libby is a business and technology leader with experience research, product development, entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, and venture capital.
Libby served as the Global Director of Innovation for GE’s Ecomagination strategy, in which GE invested over $20B in clean innovation and generated over $300B in revenue. In this role, Libby led the development of physical and digital products, new business models, and global partnerships to address challenges in water, energy, and transportation. Libby also led strategy development for GE in the energy sector, and commercial development for the GE Ventures energy portfolio.
Prior to GE, Libby served as the Director for the U.S. Department of Energy, Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, where she worked with the White House and across the Department to establish a portfolio of new advanced manufacturing research and Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. Earlier in her career, Libby developed solar energy technologies at SunPower and Alion Energy, and co-founded a company focused on energy and cold-chain infrastructure in Africa and India.
Libby has served as an ex-officio member of the Secretary of Commerce Manufacturing Council, co-founded the MIT Energy Club, and serves on the founding board of the Boston Chapter of the Women’s Energy Network. Libby holds a BS & MS from MIT.
Professor George Whitesides
Currently the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University, Dr. Whitesides joined Harvard’s Department of Chemistry in 1982 and served as Department Chairman from 1986 to 1989. Prior to joining Harvard, he was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. His present research interests include materials science, biophysics, surface science, polyvalency, microfluidics, optics, self-assembly, microfabrication, nanotechnology, and cell surface biochemistry.
Dr. Whitesides has held advisory positions on the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society, among other organizations. He has received dozens of honors, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1975), the Arthur C. Cope Award (1995), the DARPA Award for Significant Technical Achievement (1996), the National Medal of Science (1998), the Von Hippel Award (2000), the Dan David Award (2005), the Welch Award (2005), and the Priestley Award (2007).
Dr. Whitesides is a co-founder of companies with a combined market capitalization of over $20 billion. In the early 80s, he co-founded biotechnology company Genzyme, which remains one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies; in 1993 he co-founded GelTex, which was acquired by Genzyme for $1.2 billion; and in 1996, he co-founded Theravance, which went public in 2004 and currently has a $1.1B market capitalization. Professor Whitesides’ more recent ventures include Surface Logix, Arsenal Medical and Nano-Terra.
Dr. Whitesides was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1960 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1964.