What do product managers need to consider when scaling impactful climate solutions? The scale and urgency of the transformation required to fight climate change has never been more clear. In this episode of Product Talk hosted by Silicon Valley Bank (a Division of First Citizens Bank) Climate Tech SVP Maggie Wong, Vycarb CEO Garrett Boudinot speaks on his journey developing carbon removal technology and building his startup. He highlights the importance of scaling solutions to address the urgent climate crisis and emphasizes leveraging partnerships across the ecosystem. Garrett also stresses the need for diversity of perspectives and skill sets in teams to develop globally relevant solutions. Listeners learn about Vycarb’s water-based technology and path to commercialization.

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Show Notes

  1. Garrett Boudinot has a PhD in climate science. He pursued a career in analytical chemistry, measuring changes in the carbon cycle. He then transitioned to climate solutions entrepreneurship.
  2. Vycarb develops hardware and software systems to remove CO2 from coastal waters using a water-based chemical reaction. This process stores CO2 as bicarbonate and leverages real-time carbon measurement technology.
  3. Many climate tech companies are proving their technologies at small scales before scaling up. This approach addresses the urgent need for large-scale carbon removal by 2030.
  4. As a technical founder, Boudinot had to learn about the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, from business plans to fundraising. He had no prior entrepreneurship training from his academic background.
  5. Accelerator programs like Activate Fellowship provided Boudinot initial funding, mentorship, and networks critical to launching Vycarb given the novelty of commercializing climate science.
  6. Vycarb is initially deploying in coastal waters like New York Harbor. These areas have higher CO2 concentrations and help prove feasibility before broader applications.
  7. The goal is to develop a technology that can be deployed anywhere in any water system. This will enable global scale through modularity and distribution.
  8. The climate tech market is shifting from investing in new ideas to paying for and scaling existing proven carbon removal technologies.
  9. Diversity of technical backgrounds from various industries and personal identities is needed on product teams to build globally relevant solutions.
  10. Understanding the science of climate change is the steepest learning curve and most important for identifying high impact opportunities in this field.
  11. Podcasts like “This is CDR” provide in-depth analysis of different carbon removal technologies and approaches.
  12. Business models, products, and goals need to enable carbon removal at millions/billions of tonnes annually for viability and impact.
  13. Moreover, we must leverage partnerships across accelerators, incubators, government programs, and more, given the complexity and scale of climate change problems.
  14. Additionally, we must consider scalability from the inception of climate tech products and ensure their ability to grow with shifting market needs over time.
  15. Understanding commercialization, fundraising, stakeholder relationships are equally as important as the technical founding for entrepreneurs.
  16. Scaling impactful climate solutions requires gility, adaptability, and ability to fail fast and iterate quickly.

About the speaker
Garrett Boudinot Vycarb, CEO Member

Vycarb Founder and CEO Garrett Boudinot received a PhD in Organic Geochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder developing analytical tools to trace carbon cycling in marine ecosystems before leading an acres-scale enhanced weathering research project at Cornell University, ultimately receiving an Activate Entrepreneurial Fellowship to establish Vycarb. Boudinot served as a Community Science Fellow for the American Geophysical Union, a Technical Work Group member of the New York State Climate Impacts Assessment, and a Science Advisor for the ClimateMusic Project .

About the host
Maggie Wong Silicon Valley Bank, a Division of First Citizens Bank, Climate Tech & Sustainability SVP

Maggie Wong is an accomplished product management and capital markets leader with over 15 years of experience in driving product strategy, delivering global products, fundraising & capital allocation, and leading cross-functional teams. Outside of her role at Silicon Valley Bank to support New York / East Coast based climate tech companies and investors, she is also experienced in increasing program impact, growing community reach and implementing DEI initiatives at travel and fintech non-profits. Maggie is passionate about making a social impact for the next generation, tackling climate change and traveling. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and a beginner in Spanish.

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