Many community organizations around the U.S. suffer from high utility bills due to outdated, resource-inefficient equipment for their lighting, heating/cooling and water usage. Efficiency upgrades often compete with the organizations' spendings on core activities and therefore get pushed back from one year to the next, even though they make total economic sense!
Crowdfunding would be great for these projects, but no existing crowdfunding platform connects project initiators with local developers to make the projects happen! As eco-entrepreneurs we came up with the solution: a platform that 1) matches project initiators to local developers and 2) empowers communities by divvying up the cost of sustainable upgrades.
Rob graduated with a degree in Innovation Sciences at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. There, he was selected for the Honors Program, an intensive two-year extracurricular program for excellent students at the University. Besides the fundamental technical skills an Engineer needs, he learned about the critical 'Human Factor' in the implementation of innovations. After his BSc program, he was accepted to the Earth and Environmental Engineering graduate program at Columbia University with a Fellowship from the Earth Engineering Center to do research on Waste Management and Sustainability. Next, Rob shifted focus to solar energy and the challenges that lie ahead for successful grid integration of renewables, in specific: large-scale PV plants. His PhD research at Columbia's Center for Life Cycle Analysis is partly sponsored by First Solar, the world's largest manufacturer and installer of thin-film solar modules. With his data-analysis skills, he conducts research on the quantification and grid impact of large-scale PV plant power fluctuations due to cloud cover. Rob also cooks excellent pasta.
Before joining Divvy, Chris headed corporate relations and project funding efforts for National Wildlife Federation in NYC. For NWF Chris works to forward the issues of climate change, renewable energy, wildlife protection and sustainability. Prior to making a big change to the nonprofit world, he had a 15 year career as a financial markets trader in New York. Trading derivatives and equities in the natural resource sectors, his concentration was in energy, metals, marine shipping and indices. He specialized in technical analysis with a focus on intermarket analysis and market psychology. His best job ever was working for a few years after college as a fly fishing guide in Wyoming and the Cayman Islands. His lifelong concern with environmental issues has taken a recent upswing by having 2 young daughters and wanting them to enjoy a healthy, beautiful planet.
Cecelia has a Masters in journalism from NYU and she is the head of community and U.S. evangelist for PowerToFly. Get in touch with me @mceceliabittner (https://twitter.com/MCeceliaBittner).
Divvy is supported by a strong team of advisors, providing guidance when necessary.
Founding Advisor, PV system design & installation
Marc Perez is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Egleston Doctoral Scholar and PhD candidate at Columbia University's Department of Earth and Engineering researching the lowest environmental and economic cost solutions to solar resource intermittency. He has published 14 papers on many facets of the solar energy industry ranging from geopolitical and technical issues surrounding intercontinental-scale solar PV deployment to the environmental life cycle cost assessment of BIPV.
Executive Director - Cleantech Corridor
Mr. Kohn, a founder of Cleantech Corridor is a firm believer that Solar is the solution to America's and our planet's energy issues. Cleantech Corridor promotes green business opportunities in the Tri-State area through educational forums and networking events. Prior to Cleantech Corridor he founded Blackberry Technologies a software development firm that specialized in building investment banking systems. The company grew to over 100 employees by 2000 when it was sold to a division of Dell Inc. Mr. Kohn has served as a technology management consultant in the financial services industry. He has a BA in Molecular Biology and Applied Math from U. of Wisconsin and an MBA in Finance from Fordham U. Mr. Kohn is certified in Solar PV technology by ASES and in Geothermal Technology by CUNY.
Managing Director & Founder - Progressive Solutions LLC
John is the Founder of Progressive Solutions LLC which specializes in providing Renewable Energy, Clean Tech and Smart Grid industry clients with strategic planning, technology development, process evaluation and project execution services. Prior to launching Progressive Solutions LLC, John served as the Director of EPC Systems Development, Advanced Grid Integration for First Solar. In this role he directed the company's product research and development for power plant balance of system structures, instrumentation and control systems. From 1986 to 2008 John worked for IBM Corp. in leadership positions across IBM's services and hardware products divisions. He holds a BE from Manhattan College and a MS from Syracuse University in Electrical Engineering. He is a PMP certified by the Project Management Institute, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt accredited by IBM Global Business Services, is certified as Jonah in the Global Theory of Constraints Community and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in New York and Connecticut.
Founder and President of the Green Schools Alliance
Founder and President of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), Margaret (Peg) Watson launched the GSA in New York City in 2007 in collaboration with founding member schools. The mission of the GSA is to connect and empower K-12 schools worldwide to lead the transformation to global sustainability. Uniquely "created by schools for schools," the GSA is a global network of schools working locally and globally to accelerate climate and conservation solutions. Margaret assists Divvy with project lead generation and navigation through the Department of Education's complex bureaucracy.
Public School Guidance
Nathaniel Thayer Wight is a founding teacher at Bronx Design and Construction Academy where he teaches environmental sustainability in Ecology: Stewards of the Environment, a class he developed. Nathaniel also coordinated the installation of a green roof on his school, where his Energy-Environment Research Club (E2RC) uses the venue to discuss environmentally sustainable practices. Nathaniel is a member of Solar One's Energy Advisory Committee, and also an Advisory Committee Member of the New York Agriculture in the Classroom through the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. Last year Nathaniel was recognized by The City Gardens Club of New York and received the Melville Award for his work in environmental education. When Nathaniel isn't developing novel curriculum about sustainable energy, he can be found traveling, playing soccer, basketball, and working in his urban garden (which produces tomatoes and garlic for most of the year).
Finance & Risk Management
Rajesh Koppula is the Founder of LendLift, a debt crowdfunding start-up with a dedicated focus towards credit card payoff. Rajesh is an active catalyst for crowd funding initiatives and meet-ups and a recognized speaker on topics relating to crowdfunding, start-ups and financial innovation. Rajesh is an expert in Crowdfunding, Consumer Finance, Capital Markets, Risk Management, Strategy, and Start-ups involving crowd finance and technology with applications to various business verticals. Rajesh brings in a wealth of experience managing US and International credit portfolios ranging from $3B to $47B receivables. He advised senior executives in various capacities at major financial institutions and received several awards for his outstanding contributions to risk management. Rajesh holds MBA degrees from both Columbia Business School, NY and London Business School, UK, a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from Univ. of Cincinnati and a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), India. Rajesh is a true engineer at heart, business executive in action, and a firm believer of clean tech, renewable energy and advises Divvy in areas relating to marketing, corporate strategy, operations, business development and crowd finance areas.
Partner at Crowell & Moring
Jeff is a partner at the New York office of Crowell & Moring and a member of the firm's Environment & Natural Resources and Corporate groups. Jeff advises Divvy in all areas of the law.