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Aaron Hall, PhD

Founder, Intropic Materials
Startup Project

Intropic Materials


Harnessing novel enzyme-stabilizing nanotechnology to help solve the plastic waste problem from the inside out.


Advanced Materials


UC Berkeley

“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."