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Kathy Hannun will tell the story of founding and growing Dandelion Energy, a startup focused on replacing fossil-fueled furnaces and boilers with home geothermal heating and cooling systems. Kathy started Dandelion as a project within Alphabet's X lab before spinning it out as a standalone startup. As Dandelion's CEO, Hannun navigated raising venture capital for Dandelion, a startup taking on hardware and an operationally complex business model at a time when cleantech funding was scarce. In the time that's elapsed since Dandelion raised its initial seed round of funding in the summer of 2017, it has grown to become the largest home geothermal company in the US and brought renewed attention to geothermal heat-pump technology.In her talk, Kathy will discuss how to start and fundraise for a cleantech company, overcoming the challenges of hardware and operational complexity, the mistakes she made along the way, and why she sees so much promise in geothermal heat pumps as a tool for furthering the energy transition.
Kathy Hannun is the Co-Founder and President of Dandelion Energy. Dandelion’s mission is to electrify homes, starting with homes' largest source of carbon emissions: heating and cooling. Since Dandelion launched out of Alphabet's X lab in 2017, Dandelion has grown to become the largest home geothermal company in the U.S..Dandelion has advanced heat pump and drilling technology, raised over $65MM in funding from top VCs, and allowed homeowners to avoid over 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and counting. The company has partnered with major utilities like Con Edison and Green Mountain Power to promote heat pumps as an alternative to gas and oil heating, and successfully advocated for increased policy support for heat pumps throughout the northeast. Dandelion’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fast Company, Wired, Bloomberg, Techcrunch and others.Kathy graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Computer Science. She has been recognized as a TED Fellow, one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, one of MIT Tech Review's '35 Innovators Under 35' and with a U.S. Department of Energy C3E Award.