By Zach Winn | MIT News Office
Never underestimate the power of a time crunch.
In 2016, MIT classmates David Heller ’18, Shara Ticku, and Harry McNamara PhD ’19 were less than two weeks away from the deadline to present a final business plan as part of their class MAS.883 (Revolutionary Ventures: How to Invent and Deploy Transformative Technologies). The students had connected over a shared passion for using biology to solve climate challenges, but their first few ideas didn’t pan out, so they went back to the drawing board.
In a brainstorming session, Ticku began to reminisce about a trip to Singapore she’d taken where the burning of forests had cast a dark haze over the city. The story sparked a memory from halfway across the world in Costa Rica, where McNamara had traveled and noticed endless rows of palm plantations, which are used to harvest palm oil.