“Plastics are incredibly important to our modern society. They are essential to producing food and medicine. We put rockets and robots on Mars using plastics. But their end-of-life is terrible. They don’t go away. Intropic harnesses the intrinsic properties of enzymes to efficiently to create self-degrading materials that have a better end-of-life.”
The Path to Chemistry
"I was born in the Bay area and grew up in North Oakland. I was around innovation, sustainability, and environmental activism my whole life. As a first-generation college grad, I wasn’t pushed toward any particular field, but eventually found my way to the world of chemistry. When I started the PhD program at Berkeley, I chose to go into material science and engineering because the field touches everything — food science, polymers, electronics, even coding."
Bringing Your Vision to the World
"I joined Ting Xu’s research group at Berkeley doing polymer science and engineering. I didn’t actually go into it thinking, ‘I’m going to be an entrepreneur when I graduate.’ But then I attended a seminar at the business school — something that a speaker said has stuck with me since: ‘Go found something. Bring your vision to the world. Nobody will hold that against you. If it doesn’t go well, you’ll leave with a wealth of knowledge. And if it does go well, then you’ve got a return on an investment.’ From then on I was looking for ways to make my vision a reality."
Connecting the Dots
"Prior to Blueprint, I had done the NSF I-Corps so I was familiar with customer discovery. I had seen bits of legal things. I did not have a holistic picture yet. I realized that the Blueprint program could help me get a taste of a variety of topics related to starting a new business.
Blueprint taught me that the journey of a Tough Tech founder is much more than, ‘I’m only in this to make money,’ or ‘I just want to to call myself a CEO,’ or ‘I can’t get a faculty job so I’ll just start a company.’ You need to care about the problems you’re solving.
The program also reassured me that the skills I’ve developed as a scientist translate into entrepreneurship. Blueprint helps consolidate lessons that I’ve heard in other programs, but in a way that truly connects with being a deep tech science founder. It is a translational layer between academia and building a company."