Gradient- Building smart heat pumps that use better coolants to cool and heat the world

Lab to Startup

Jan 3 2023 • 58 mins

Vince Romanin, Ph.D., is the co-founder and CEO of Gradient. They are developing a new heat pump technology to address the impact that air conditioners impose on our climate.

We talk about the problem with the current HVAC systems and air conditioners, the energy consumption and pollution they cause, history of heat pumps, and then learn about the new heat pump technology that gradient has developed to address some of those challenges. We then get into the details about the founding story; lessons learnt from grant writing; working with policy makers; crucial lessons learnt from customer discovery; role that timing plays and about why building hardware is hard.

- Building decarbonized HVACs
- Sticky problems with HVAC: Emissions from electricity; use of fossil fuels for heating buildings; use of refrigerants
- History of heat pumps
- Problems with current heat pumps
- Lessons from failed grant applications
- Grants validate other granting agencies and private investors
- Founders should align the funding agencies and investors
- Pivot: Driven by the discovery that customers care more for the price than efficiency
- Customer discovery process, I-Corps
- Timeline for achieving the product market fit.
- Working with government agencies/policy makers
- Biggest takeaways from being accelerated at Activate
- Pitch to VCs: Explain why your company exists
- Role of timing
- Hardware is hard & scalability
- Careers