She has made geothermal heating and cooling easy to install and pay for—rendering a moonshot technology accessible.
Geothermal should be a super-promising home heating and cooling technology, but installation makes a mess of your yard and has traditionally required a big cash outlay. In 2017, Kathy Hannun spun her company, Dandelion Energy, out of X, Alphabet’s innovation lab, to fix both of those problems. With degrees in civil engineering and computer science, Hannun has led the startup's development of re-engineered geothermal systems that are far faster and less damaging to install than conventional versions. Dandelion also offers loans to customers, letting them sign a 20-year contract starting at $135 per month for a typical system rather than paying $20,000 up front. In April, the company began a partnership with energy giant Con Edison, which gives customers $5,000 to switch to Dandelion (and help relieve some capacity problems on gas lines). Now with 59 employees, Hannun's startup has raised $23.5 million to date. --Kimberly Weisul
She uses A.I. to predict the severity of disasters and help authorities respond.
“Our mission is saving lives and livelihoods,” Nicole Hu says. With natural disasters increasing in frequency and severity, Hu and her co-founders started One Concern to make homes, properties, and even entire geographic regions safer. Using data science and A.I., its earthquake platform--now being used by the governments of Seattle and two cities in California--can tell which buildings need to be reinforced, where to evacuate, and how much damage to expect block by block. This year the startup, which has raised a total of $22.6 million, plans to implement its flood platform in its first international location, Kumamoto City, Japan. --Emily Canal
Her company’s new software makes ridesharing safer by monitoring what happens inside the car.
Juliette Kayyem is the co-founder and CEO of Grip Mobility, a Boston-based tech startup launched this past spring that makes patent-pending software to monitor what happens inside ridesharing vehicles. The product streams recorded audio and video from the driver's phone directly to the ridesharing app. In addition to providing an extra security layer, the technology could help companies like Uber and Lyft settle passenger-driver disputes, as well as insurance claims. The idea behind Grip Mobility was originally developed by Zemcar, a now-shuttered “Uber for kids” startup where Kayyem served as CEO. “If your technology is being used to bring people together,” she says, “you’re responsible to make sure that it’s in a safe environment.” --Guadalupe Gonzalez
Cutting-edge genome editing and machine learning help her develop drug therapies.
Bay Area-based Insitro is combining several cutting-edge areas of science to develop new drug therapies. Daphne Koller--Stanford’s first-ever professor of machine learning and formerly co-CEO of Coursera--founded the company in spring 2018 and soon secured $100 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Jeff Bezos, and GV. Insitro uses Crispr genome editing to create unhealthy human cells in test tubes, and then applies hundreds of different interventions on the cells and tracks their effects. Based on the data collected, along with publicly available data sets, the startup develops treatments using machine learning. In April, Insitro announced a partnership with pharma giant Gilead Sciences to aid in the development of new therapies for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a liver disease that affects 16 million Americans. Insitro received $15 million up front and will earn royalties on any drug that its technology helps develop. --Kevin J. Ryan
One Health Company
She created a genetic cancer test for dogs. The resulting data could save people too.
Cancer, way too common in humans, is 10times more prevalent in dogs. Christina Lopes wants to help both problems at once. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur’s startup--strapped with $5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, among others--created a genetic cancer test for canines. It detects gene mutations and helps veterinarians decide what kind of treatment is appropriate. Since launching last year, Palo Alto, California-based One Health has partnered with 70 animal hospitals throughout the U.S., helping hundreds of owners get their pets diagnosed and treated. Most important, these outcomes produce data that can then be used to develop therapies for humans. Lopes says a partner pharma company has made headway in developing a drug for cancer using One Health’s data. “We're already having impact on both sides of the leash,” she says. --Kevin J. Ryan