Ep 70: Shreya Dave, Co-Founder & CEO at Via Separations


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Today's guest is Shreya Dave, co-founder and CEO of Via Separations.

Via Separations has pioneered a new membrane based on graphene oxide for fine liquid filtration in harsh environments, with applications in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and bulk and specialty chemicals. They are scaling up and commercializing the material platform for use in industrial separation processes such as food ingredient production and chemical manufacturing.

Shreya graduated from MIT with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Her PhD research focused on the design and manufacture of graphene oxide membranes for water desalination, including fundamental characterization methods of graphene oxide, membrane synthesis, and economic analysis of the role of membranes in cost constraints of desalination plants. She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT in mechanical engineering and technology & policy.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • Overview and origin story of Via Separations
  • Discussion about industrial processes and their emissions footprint
  • Why and when sustainability became important to Shreya
  • How she came to be doing the PhD research that led to the company formation
  • The importance of doing customer discovery, and how the I-Corps program helped them
  • Comparison between I-Corps and Cyclotron Road / Activate
  • Similarities between customer discovery and fundraising
  • The key phases of company building so far
  • Business model
  • Discussion about project finance, and how accessible it is to early stage hard tech companies
  • Discussion about project insurance
  • Discussion about when and how to engage strategics
  • Discussion about where, as a new founder, Shreya turns for help navigating the different phases of growth
  • What some of the more impactful things are that could change to accelerate progress
  • Role model companies
  • Advice for other PhDs in the lab thinking of following a similar path

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Enjoy the show!

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