Meet the VentureWell Innovators Who Made the Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Forbes’ 30 under 30 2024; photos of the featured VentureWell innovators

We are thrilled to congratulate the VentureWell program participants who were recently recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2024. The business magazine honored six innovators across four startups that participated in a combination of our Aspire investor engagement training program; the Advancing Climatetech and Clean Energy Leaders (ACCEL) program, in partnership with Browning the Green Space; and in the I-Corps™ program, funded by the National Science Foundation. They were all recognized for their demonstrated strides in solving sustainability challenges through climatetech.

These visionary entrepreneurs are developing low-cost, sustainable ammonia as a clean chemical, fertilizer, and energy carrier; lightweight solar panels with greater efficiency and durability; sustainable textile fibers that can replace harmful synthetic dyes and toxic finishing processes in the fashion industry; and software that improves the processing of scrap metals to help create a circular economy.

Meet these remarkable innovators, and discover more about what they’re working on:


Shiv Bhakta is the co-founder of Active Surfaces, which is developing lightweight, flexible film solar technology, 100 times lighter than traditional solar panels, that can be applied to any surface, lowering manufacturing costs. Most recently, Active Surfaces won the $100,000 grand prize at the 2023 MIT Entrepreneurship Competition. It also participated in our 2023 ACCEL program and in the I-Corps™ program in Summer 2023.

Manufacturing and Industry

Valentina Gomez is the co-founder of Werewool, biodegradable textile fibers with inherent color and function that can be returned to the ecosystem after their useful life, replacing toxic dyes and synthetic fibers. This year, Werewool raised a $3.7 million seed round. They also participated in the I-Corps™ program in 2020 and completed our Aspire Cleantech program in 2021.

Karen Baert and Tristan Gilbert, co-founders of Ammobia, developed a sustainable process to produce green ammonia at a low cost, transforming it into a clean chemical, fertilizer, and energy carrier for a decarbonized future. Ammobia participated in our Aspire Climatetech cohort in Spring 2023.
Co-founders Caleb Ralphs and Emily Molstad developed Valis Insights, AI-powered software tools that enhance scrap metal recycling capabilities and support decarbonization of metal production. This past September, Valis Insights oversubscribed its seed round investment. In 2019 it participated in the I-Corps™ program, and in Spring 2022 it completed our Aspire Climatetech cohort.

About Our Aspire Program

Aspire has had a significant positive impact on seed-stage startups since its inception in 2015. Across 177 startups, the teams have raised over $430M in funding with an 81% persistence rate. Aspire startups that are also E-Team Program grantees are eligible to receive matching investment from VentureWell. Over the past five years, 19 Aspire alumni have been featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists.

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