EcoViate team trying to “change the world”
By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
If you search the Kickstarter site this morning for new projects, chances are you’ll find a company called EcoViate that launched its effort at 8 a.m. today (July 22) to raise $18,000 for more testing of its vehicle emissions technology.
Co-Founder Param Jaggi says that he wants “to change the world through innovative energy and environmental designs,” starting with his initial product. During a recent visit to the Northfield Center in Spring Hill where the autoXLR8R is housed, we learned just how committed Jaggi and the youthful EcoViate team are to their vision.
The company is based on a technology that Jaggi developed as part of a science fair project when he was 13. The Dallas, TX resident and Vanderbilt University junior says the company was founded almost a year ago, and the patent was issued earlier this year, some six years after the filing.
Jaggi serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. The other Co-Founder, who serves as Chief Technology Officer, is Johnny Cohen, a Chicago resident who is still in high school. The two met at an event hosted by Forbes magazine to recognize its “30 under 30: Energy” recipients in 2012. Both were selected that year and again in 2013.
During our discussion in Spring Hill, Jaggi was joined by Lauren Harrison, a fellow Vanderbilt student who is EcoViate’s Vice President for Development.
They described the company’s initial product, named the CO2ube, that is designed to reduce tailpipe emissions. Harrison said the product includes a permanent device that is installed on a vehicle’s tailpipe and a disposable filter that is changed every six to eight weeks.
“It can fit any combustible engine,” Jaggi said, adding the team has already met with one of the top international package delivery companies about using the technology on its fleet of trucks and other vehicles.
Once the initial funding is raised, the team will select a site to do its testing. They participated earlier this month in autoXLR8R’s tour of automotive research centers in the South including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).
During our conversation, it was clear how impactful starting a company has been on Jaggi and Harrison. The former, who is majoring in mechanical engineering and economics, always thought he would pursue a doctorate and work in a laboratory. Now, he’s not so sure and even talks of taking a semester off to accelerate the product development and testing.
His goal is to have a consumer version of the CO2ube on the market as early as October and the commercial version available after the testing is completed.
Harrison, who calls Scottsdale, AZ home, wanted to be an environmental scientist, but is majoring in economics and is now focused on EcoViate’s finances.
Both said they’ve learned a great deal during their autoXLR8R experience. “It’s like getting an MBA over the summer,” Jaggi explained.
For those interested in learning more about the start-up, go to http://www.ecoviate.com/. The team will also be presenting at the autoXLR8R’s “Demo Day” on August 7 in Spring Hill.