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Mission driven. Market focused.

Startups hoping to transform our energy future face enormous challenges. They have more significant capital needs and longer paths to market than software startups favored by investors. They rely on large, slow-moving, risk-averse corporations as critical customers, deployment partners, and acquirers. They must navigate complex market, regulatory, and policy landscapes that favor incumbents and challenge disruptors.

That is why we have built Third Derivative: a global, vertically integrated engine for climate innovation. We bring startups, investors, corporations, and market, regulatory, and policy insights into the same program, working closely together toward a common goal: to increase the success and speed to market for climate innovation.

How do we do it? Simple: we find, fund, hone, and scale the most-promising advanced energy technologies to achieve larger, faster reductions in global carbon emissions.

Founded with purpose

Tackling the climate crisis is a once-in-a-generation, trillion-dollar economic opportunity. And none of us can do it alone. That’s why Rocky Mountain Institute and New Energy Nexus founded D3 in early 2020.

Rocky Mountain Institute is one of the world’s leading clean energy think-and-do tanks, with nearly four decades of experience working across markets, policy, and regulation. New Energy Nexus is a globally respected entrepreneur support organization that knows how to attract, cultivate, and connect high-potential startups.
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We are accelerating the rate of climate innovation together... by creating a network that includes venture funding and corporate partners seamlessly integrated from the beginning. These partners help to select and coach startups during the accelerator program, increasing their odds to attract follow-on investment and forge strategic partnerships on sales, development, and manufacturing. All of this infused with unprecedented insights into market, regulatory, and policy contexts so crucial for climate and energy innovation.

We all came together for one simple reason: The climate crisis isn’t waiting. The world needs a healthy global innovation engine to identify and massively scale new solutions that speed the clean energy transition. Traditional VCs, advanced energy startups, and corporation innovation teams struggle working in isolation. Our vertically integrated climate innovation engine solves those problems… so the ecosystem can thrive.

Leadership

CEO
Bryan Guido Hassin

Bryan is a global entrepreneur building a smart energy future. As a passionate startup CEO, he has led his teams to multiple successful exits. As an empathetic mentor and adviser, he has helped other startups achieve massive scale. Throughout his journey he has encountered exactly the problems that D3 has identified and now he is dedicated to solving them at scale.

Head of Corp. Partnerships & Marketing
Elaine Hsieh

With over 20 years of industry experience leading, managing, and consulting on a wide range of sustainability, green building, clean energy, and technology issues, Elaine is passionate about the power of multi-stakeholder alignment and helping people understand and respect the interconnectedness of our world. Prior to joining the D3 leadership team, Elaine was the program director for VERGE at GreenBiz, focused on scaling solutions where technology accelerates systems thinking and sustainability across cities and industries.

Head of Operations
Brant Richards

Brant Richards brings over 23 years of professional experience to Third Derivative, during which he has sat on all sides of the climate technology commercialization table as an entrepreneur, venture capital investment director, corporate innovation manager, and consultant. He was co-founder of German-based energy storage pioneer Younicos AG where he managed sales and marketing as the team deployed the first megawatt-scale batteries onto the European grid and the world’s first renewables-based microgrids.  He was a consultant to Germany’s second-largest energy company, innogy (currently Germany’s largest energy company subsequent to its merger with e.On), as they set up their corporate innovation hub and subsequently served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the hub developing new ventures in multiple technology fields. Having lived on 3 continents and done business in over 30 countries, Brant is committed to the belief that solving the world’s urgent climate problems requires an integrated approach which leverages and incentivizes a diverse chorus of collaborative voices.

Head of Investments and Research
Cyril Yee

Cyril has held a number of positions in the cleantech and investment industries. Most recently, he was the U.S. cleantech and energy lead at IP Group, Europe’s largest VC fund with over $1.5B under management. IP Group funds and spins-out high-potential technologies from partner universities and national labs. He was previously a principal in RMI’s China electricity practice. He led business development and strategy at INEOS Bio, a company with a gasification / fermentation technology that converts biomass to ethanol. With DOE and USDA support, INEOS Bio built one of the world’s first commercial-scale advanced biofuel plants. Prior to INEOS Bio, Cyril was a strategy consultant focused on private equity diligence, energy, and financial consulting.

Board Director
Jon Creyts

Jon co-leads overall program activity as a managing director at RMI and is personally responsible for RMI Ventures, a global collaboration focused on accelerating early-stage climate solutions. He brings over 25 years of strategy, operations, and design experience to resource issues at the interface of markets and technology.  Jon is a recognized global change leader focused on the clean energy transition, and has worked extensively with officials at the highest levels of government, and with leading global companies and institutions both individually and in consortia. He has extensive experience in energy transition strategies, disruptive technologies (especially solar, storage, and blockchain), energy efficiency, and urban transformation.

Board Director
Danny Kennedy

As the CEO of New Energy Nexus, Danny leads the organization in supporting diverse entrepreneurs to drive innovation and build equity into the global clean energy economy, while striving towards 100% clean energy for 100% of the population. Among many roles, he is also the managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund, overseeing the $24 million CalSEED grant program for very early stage startups and is an adviser to Young Greentech Entrepreneurs in China with the Asia Society. He also serves as President of CalCharge, a public-private partnership with the Department of Energy national labs, California universities, unions, and companies to advance energy storage. Kennedy is an entrepreneur at heart: he co-founded Sungevity in 2007, and Powerhouse, an innovation firm and fund in Oakland, CA. He was the first backer of Mosaic in 2011, the $1 billion solar loan provider, and remains on the Board of Powerhive, a solar mini-utility in Kenya. Kennedy authored Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and Our Planet – from Dirty Energy in 2012.

Team

Industry Sector Lead
Josh Agenbroad

Building from an engineering background, Josh worked for eight years consulting on energy efficiency and renewables for a variety of sectors, including automotive, freight, heavy industry, manufacturing, and electric and natural gas utilities. He served on international teams, including RMI’s first three years in China and first two years working on energy access in Africa.

Africa and India Sector Lead
Kelly Carlin

Kelly is an energy access practitioner and entrepreneur. He brings six years of experience with RMI's Africa energy program, where he worked with governments, utilities, the private sector, and donor partners to accelerate off-grid electrification on the continent. He has worked across eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa on topics ranging from minigrids to productive use to clean cooking, and most recently led the design of a $24M pan-African minigrid program for the Global Environment Facility. Prior to RMI, he served as COO at a transportation software startup and taught leadership for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Industrial Sector Lead
Eve Hanson

Eve has a decade of experience spanning business strategy, analytics, and new materials development and deployment. Most recently, she founded, built, and led the post-sale corporate engagement team at Silicon Valley startup Citrine Informatics, partnering with C-suite global industrial executives to deploy AI to accelerate their R&D efforts. An active member of the climate tech ecosystem, she has served as an advisor to battery and AI startups and supported VC diligence efforts. Eve started her career as a business consultant at Applied Predictive Technologies, an analytics startup acquired by Mastercard for $600M. A technologist at heart, Eve holds a BA in Chemistry from Princeton University and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University.

Startup Success Manager
Keenan Johnson

Keenan is an experienced engineering leader and mentor who has worked on hardware/software problems in the universe's most-extreme environments. He serves on the board at OrbitFab and mentors hard tech startups through accelerators like Techstars and Cleantech Open. He also has extensive government policy experience through the Policy Hackers Fellowship. Previously, he led the robotics software team at Bedrock Ocean Exploration, a public benefit corporation developing autonomous underwater vehicles to map the ocean floor. Prior to that, he was a founder and Head of Engineering at Impossible Aerospace, an American company working to end the age of kerosene propulsion and fully electrify all air transport. He led the development program of the US-1, the world’s longest-endurance fully-electric drone. From 2013 to 2017, he worked on the launch and flight software teams at SpaceX as a Software Engineer and Mission Control Operator where he worked to mass-produce and operate the world’s first orbital-class rocket capable of reuse.

Buildings Sector Lead
Ankit Kalanki

With a background in mechanical engineering and energy technology and policy, Ankit is the technical lead and project manager of RMI’s Global Cooling Prize initiative, an international innovation competition to identify super-efficient and affordable residential cooling solutions with 5x lower climate impact. Prior to joining RMI, Ankit spent a combined four years working with a global food and beverage company as an energy engineer and as an energy efficiency consultant advising the government and several multilateral clients on scaling energy efficiency in India.

Director of Startups
Ryan Kushner

Ryan is an expert in energy, climate, technology commercialization, and innovation ecosystems (incubators, accelerators, venture studios, prizes). He is the author of "Accelerate This! A Super Not Boring Guide To Startup Accelerators and Clean Energy Entrepreneurship," sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and New Energy Nexus, and featuring Y Combinator, Techstars, 500 Startups, Google X, and other innovation programs around the world. He is The Accelerator Guy / Global Network and Curriculum Lead at New Energy Nexus, founding team of the Free Electrons global utility accelerator, faculty at Singularity University in Energy + Environment, advisor to Carbon180’s CarbonTech Lab, founder of The Oceantech Community, mentor at Techstars Energy and Big Ideas Ventures. His life mission is taken from Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, which is to "Make the world work for 100% of humanity (and life)", and his epitaph will be "Let’s All Have Fun."

Startup Success Manager
Dai Lin

Dai (/dī/) (she/hers) is a lifelong learner with a multifaceted background. Prior to Third Derivative, she completed her Master's in System Design & Management at MIT as a Society of Energy Fellow. She wields more than a decade's worth of management experience with projects across four continents. Dai is passionate about water quality and resource management, energy efficiency and systems integration, community and coalition building, cybersecurity, fair and transparent data practices, & ensuring a just transition.

Electricity Sector Lead
Jason Prince

Jason has a decade of experience in energy finance, markets, and regulation. Prior to Third Derivative, he was a manager at RMI where he led thought leadership and consulting projects focused on innovation in utility business models, planning, and procurement. Before joining RMI, Jason worked in structured finance at SolarCity/Tesla where he originated a first-of-its-kind $40M debt facility to monetize renewable energy credit receivables. Before that, he led the research practice at energy financial services firm Karbone where he advised clients and helped structure transactions in various U.S. renewable energy markets.

Transportation Sector Lead
Hara Wang

Hara is a globally-minded climate tech innovator and practitioner. As a venture investor, she worked alongside entrepreneurs building and scaling next-generation energy, transport, and manufacturing solutions. As a consultant, she helped the world's largest institutional investors and industrial companies navigate the energy transition. As an engineer, she investigated opportunities for process innovations for Chinese solar PV manufacturers and built engineered clean energy systems for sub-Sahara African farming communities. Having advanced climate solutions across maturity stages, across verticals, and on four continents, she is now dedicated to accelerate the rate of climate innovation.

Corporate Engagement Manager
Caroline Winslow

Caroline is passionate about leveraging cross-sectoral collaboration, innovation, and disruptive technologies to accelerate climate solutions. Prior to joining Third Derivative, Caroline worked with the Carbon-Free Buildings program at RMI, supporting the Global Cooling Prize, an international innovation competition to identify super-efficient, climate-friendly, and affordable residential cooling technologies. While working on the Prize, Caroline established and managed a coalition of over 25 global nonprofit partners, recruited international Prize applicants, developed thought leadership pieces, and led the Prize’s global marketing and communications outreach. Caroline received an undergraduate degree in Environmental Policy from Colby College.

Program Coordinator
Amos Zerah

Amos is a life-long student and steward of Mother Earth. As a former commando officer, he is a passionate believer in the power of small teams of bold entrepreneurs to break convections and save our home planet. Before joining D3, Amos led a wide range of international projects specializing in corporate sustainability, nature-based solutions, impact investing, and education. In his masters’ thesis, he combined remote sensing and ethnographic methods to investigate the relationships between climate change, forests, and Native American communities in Bears Ears, Utah.

Advisors

Howard Branz, PhD

Howard is an early-stage technology consultant providing services to companies, investors, and government clients in all fields of renewable energy and sustainability. From 2012 to 2015, Howard served as a Program Director at the U.S. DOE Advanced Projects Research Agency – Energy,
where he selected and incubated more than $70M of interdisciplinary technologies with transformational potential. Before ARPA-E, Howard was a Research Fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). During more than 25 years at NREL, Branz led R&D groups
to discoveries and new technologies in photovoltaics, nanotechnology, electrochromic windows, surface chemistry, semiconductor devices,  optics, photoelectrochemistry, and materials science. His group pioneered inexpensive black silicon anti-reflection processes now fielded globally in over 20 GW of solar modules valued at more than $5B. Branz earned his PhD in physics at MIT and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dan Brett, PhD

Dan is Professor of Electrochemical Engineering at UCL, Co-director of the
Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL), and Director of the UCL Advanced Propulsion Lab. He is an expert in electrochemical power systems with 20+ years’ experience in the field and is in the top five academics in Europe based on number of publications over the past 10 years on fuel cells, batteries, and supercapacitors. In his academic role, Dan has raised over £40 million of research income and been acknowledged through awards such as the DeNora Prize (ISE) and Baker Medal (ICE). He is passionate about realising the ‘age of electrochemical power’ and accelerating e-chem technology to market. He is a founder and Director of Innovation for Bramble Energy, a founder and Director of Prosemino Ltd., and an academic founder and Expert Panel member of the Faraday Institution.

Stephen Doig, PhD

Stephen Doig is currently Director of Research at the Irving
Institute for Energy and Society. Prior to that role, he
was a senior leader at Rocky Mountain Institute for over a decade,
led an effort to reduce the U.S. Air Force infrastructure footprint
by 30%, and was a leader in McKinsey & Co.'s Operations and
Resource Productivity practice. He has a PhD in physical
chemistry from U.C. Berkeley and held postdoctoral positions at
the Mayo Clinic and the California Institute of Technology.

Scott Forbes, PhD

Scott has worked closely with multinational corporations, universities, national laboratories, and government agencies over the last 20+ years to develop, license, and commercialize fundamental research and emerging technologies. He has led venture capital investments, new product development, and business development efforts in enterprise software, cloud computing, health tech, and cybersecurity. Previous employers include IP Group, Cryptography Research, Dolby, GE, Microsoft, and Nextel. He holds a PhD in telecommunications from The Pennsylvania State University, a J.D. from George Washington University, and an M.B.A. from Indiana University.

Elizabeth Hartman

Beth Hartman is a manager in the Office of the CEO and the Electricity Practice at RMI, where she supports initiatives focused on energy industry innovation. Previously, Beth was at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), working in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to lead the Incubatenergy Network. This community of over 20 clean energy incubators and accelerators has collectively supported more than 500 startup companies. Prior to joining EPRI, she worked in roles including senior analyst at E Source and marketing manager at Simple Energy after the company completed the Techstars Boulder program. Beth has a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and completed a year-long fellowship at the Silicon Flatirons Center in the CU Law School, where she managed the CU New Venture Challenge student business plan competition.

Clea Kolster, PhD

Clea is an expert in carbon sequestration, climate, and energy policy. As Director of Science at Lowercarbon Capital, she brings her expertise to evaluate early-stage companies that are developing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Prior to joining Lowercarbon, Clea worked in energy consulting at E3, designing decarbonization plans for state agencies and energy companies across North America. Clea also founded a company working on financing and distribution solutions for clean cooking fuel access in West Africa. Clea
holds a PhD and MEng in chemical engineering and environmental policy from Imperial College London.

Amory Lovins

Physicist Amory B. Lovins is cofounder, Chairman Emeritus, and until
September 2019 was Chief Scientist of RMI, continuing as an independent contractor and Trustee. He has been an energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 650+ papers and 31 books (including Natural Capitalism, Small is Profitable, and Winning the Oil Endgame, and Reinventing Fire); and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. He has received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Happold, Benjamin Franklin, and Spencer Hutchens Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood (“alternative Nobel”), National Design, and
World Technology Awards. TIME named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers.

Mike Roeth

Mike has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for over 35 years, is the Executive Director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, and is the trucking lead for the Rocky Mountain Institute. Mike’s specialty is brokering green truck collaborative technologies into the real world at scale. Mike was awarded the prestigious 2020 L. Ray Buckendale Lecturer and manuscript author. He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Ohio State University and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology. Roeth served on the second National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine Committee on Reducing Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, is a Department of Energy Merit Reviewer and served as Chairman of the Board for the Truck Manufacturers Association. He previously held positions with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

Jay Stein

Jay is one of America’s most widely respected energy technologists. About half of his career was spent at E Source, where for many years he ran the company’s research department. As a member of the management team, he played an important role in purchasing the company, quadrupling its size, and selling it in 2019. Since the sale, he continues to write and advise nonprofits. He also continues to affiliate with E Source, where he holds the title of Senior Fellow Emeritus.

Yuxing Wang, PhD

Yuxing Wang is a battery scientist at University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), where he develops solid state batteries for aerospace and vehicle applications. UDRI is a national leader in scientific and engineering research, serving government, industry, and nonprofit customers. Yuxing has more than 10 years of research experience in energy storage materials and technologies, serving Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, Federal Aviation Administrations and other government agencies. Previously at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he led the development of microbatteries for fish tags, which are the world’s smallest, commercially-available cylindrical batteries. Yuxing holds a PhD from Michigan State University. He is a frequent author and reviewer of peer-reviewed journal articles.

Hayes Zirnhelt

Hayes is an engineer with 11 years of experience working to decarbonize the buildings sector. He has worked as a technical lead and project manager on net-zero-carbon buildings and districts, including demonstration projects, transition strategies, feasibility studies, and technical thought leadership. Hayes also applies his expertise to help accelerate innovative technologies, working with emerging companies and also with accelerator programs and technology innovation challenges. His recent work includes
supporting RMI’s Global Cooling Prize.

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