Interview with CleanRobotics – the makers of TrashBot

Four men and one woman standing around TrashBot

Once upon a time a two friends stood in front of an overly complex trash can at a WholeFoods. They found that deciding what to do with their garbage was far more complex than it needed to be. Which bin does the paper plate go into? And is this a compostable fork, a recyclable fork, or a fork destined for landfill? Rather than simply dump their trash and walk away, they came up with an idea. A short time later CleanRobotics and their first product, TrashBot, were born.

They first launched TrashBot in the Pittsburgh City Council building in 2017. Since then, CleanRobotics has been named one of the top Pittsburgh companies to watch in 2018, has advanced to the second round of the IBM AI Xprize, and been recently featured in GeekWire.

I had an opportunity to sit down with Tanner Cook and Grant Halleran from CleanRobotics to discuss the world of trash processing and the design of TrashBot. Throughout the interview we discuss how it is especially challenging for a robotics company to balance the demands of engineering and product iteration with sales and market penetration. We also discuss how dealing with trash is a complex, yet fascinating, societal and environmental problem. Continue reading “Interview with CleanRobotics – the makers of TrashBot”

Interview with BlastPoint

Alison Alverez and Tomer Borenstein

Meet Alison Alvarez and Tomer Borenstein, the founders of BlastPoint.

Before starting BlastPoint, Alison had a career in building big data tools for large Fortune 1000 companies. Through her work, she came to realize two things:

  1. When it comes to big data systems, everyone asks for the same subset of features.
  2. Only really large companies can afford to hire data scientists.

She believed that by building technology that met the ~90% of data needs, she could make data science tools accessible and affordable to businesses of all types and sizes.  Alison pitched her idea at a CMU entrepreneurship event and met Tomer, an experienced software engineer and recent Computer Science Masters graduate. In 2016 they launched BlastPoint, with the mission to make big data accessible, usable, and affordable to all types of businesses. They have been making headlines ever since, and most recently won the 2017 UpPrize social venture competition.

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Interview with Greg Buzulencia, CEO and founder of ViaHero

Greg Buzelencia, founder and CEO of ViaHero

Meet Greg Buzulencia, the CEO and founder of ViaHero.

Greg has always had a passion for travel, and loves planning unique, off the beaten path experiences for his friends and family. In April 2016 Greg launched ViaHero so he could turn his passion for travel into a business. ViaHero enables every-day travelers to connect with trip “Heroes,” who provide itineraries full of insight, experiences, and tips that only a local would know. And while ViaHero currently specializes in planning unique trips to Cuba, they are quickly expanding to include other exotic destinations soon. (Iceland, anyone?)

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Interview with Chris Maury – Conversant Labs founder and CEO

Interview with Chris Maury, founder and CEO of the startup Conversant Labs

Meet Chris Maury, the CEO and founder of the startup Conversant Labs.

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