Name: Matt Maroon
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: C-Motive Technologies Inc.
The first post in this series featured Chief Executive Officer Dr. Francis Wang of NanoGraf Corporation and the second featured MITO Material Solutions CEO and Co-Founder Haley Marie Keith. From batteries to advanced materials, both represent Midwest-based growing climate tech startups led by impressive climate innovators.
Our third climate innovator is no less inspiring, which is why we are pleased to introduce you to C-Motive Technologies Chief Executive Officer Matt Maroon. At the company’s core, C-Motive is commercializing the world’s first electrostatic motors and generators for ultra-efficient mobility and wind power generation. You read that right.
C-Motive’s mission is to create electric machines that directly reduce carbon emissions through empowering higher efficiency renewable generators, enabling the next generation of e-mobility, and delivering more efficient industrial torque motors.
C-Motive’s unmatched torque, efficiency, and simplicity will create more renewable power and waste less electricity. To deliver this next generation of performance, C-Motive is harnessing the power of electrostatic forces – using static cling to deliver efficiency and torque without rare-earth metals, permanent magnets, and a fraction of the copper of traditional motors.
With opportunities abound, Evergreen Climate Innovations invested in Wisconsin-based C-Motive Technologies in 2019.
Learn more about C-Motive Technologies and Chief Executive Officer Matt Maroon in the following interview that features ten questions — plus a bonus question Matt wishes we had asked him.
- Demonstrated world record power + torque electrostatic motor performance
- Seeking partnerships for initial demo unit shipments in Q1 2022
- The team has grown to 16 in total
- Received a Navy SBIR Award
1. Why does your company matter?
C-Motive Technologies matters because we are directly impacting the generation and consumption of electricity worldwide. 97 percent of electricity is created from an electric generator and nearly 50 percent is consumed by electric motors. No other foundational technology has the capacity to impact decarbonization of electricity like developing the next generation of high efficiency electric motors and generators.
2. How did you get started in cleantech and what led you to your current role?
I got started in cleantech working on a novel battery chemistry while interning at Caterpillar. This began a career at various energy storage startup companies from the Midwest to the West Coast to the East Coast looking at applications ranging from electric vehicles to utility scale battery systems.
I was looking for an opportunity to make a bigger impact and met C-Motive’s cofounders Justin Reed and Dan Ludois and loved their vision of transforming electricity through the humble electric machine. Their energy and passion for electric machines brought me back to the Midwest to help make an impact by bringing this amazing technology to customers.
3. What climate solutions are you most passionate about?
We as a society need to do a better job of accomplishing more with less – more work with less electricity, more miles with less gasoline, and more products with less materials. I am naturally drawn to anything that improves efficiency – whether that is an app that helps me work smarter, energy storage chemistries that are naturally recyclable, or the next generation of electric motor.
Thinking about C-Motive, what really gets me excited is harnessing static cling as the driving force, and eliminating permanent magnets and minimizing the amount of copper needed. This has the potential to impact not simply electricity efficiency, but raw material efficiencies and sustainability as well.
4. Why is your company located in the Midwest?
Our cofounders met at the University of Wisconsin – Madison while pursuing their Ph.D.s in electrical engineering. Both sons of engineers, they were looking for a way to make a global impact.
The two were also members of UW’s world-renowned WEMPEC organization, where they realized the potential of improving the efficiency and material sustainability of electric motors.
We’ve stayed in Madison to continue to leverage the resources flowing from the University of Wisconsin – Madison including talent, networking, and testing opportunities. In addition, some of C-Motive’s earliest markets are focused on industry, heavy e-mobility (construction and agricultural equipment), and renewable generation, all staples in the Midwest.
5. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m proud of building out a team that shares our values and mission of reinventing the electric motor and getting that motor to market to decarbonize the world.
New technology development is always amazing and something to be proud of, but it doesn’t get done without the support, focus, and commitment of a team of supremely talented people to do the work.
C-Motive has, and continues, to hire dedicated, talented, and fun people to take on this work and make coming into the office and lab a genuinely enjoyable experience each day.
6. What’s something you wish you learned sooner?
I wish I would have learned that often overlooked applications like fans and conveyor belts can make such a sizable global impact.
Entrepreneurs tend to be distracted by the biggest, shiniest application, and sometimes the key to your market strategy is right in front of you.
7. How are you measuring your environmental impact?
Initially, C-Motive will measure environmental impact in two separate ways.
The first is direct electricity savings due to higher efficient operation and our ability to operate without the use of a gearbox or any active cooling systems. There is a direct link between electricity savings and greenhouse gas reductions.
The second is by calculating the number of permanent magnets and copper we will be omitting from our supply chain through our motor comprised of mostly aluminum, steel, and printed circuit boards.
8. What surprised you the most about leading a climate technology startup?
I was most surprised by how large the potential impact is with this type of technology.
The more customers we meet with, the bigger our vision gets, in relation to both the number of applications and geographies where C-Motive will be able to save customers money and contribute to the decarbonization of the electricity grid for years to come.
9. Where do you see your company in five years?
In five years, C-Motive will be the reference motor technology for high performance industrial applications. This ranges from high efficiency material handling to robotics, and in simpler applications (conveyors, pumps, and air handling).
We will also be piloting high efficiency direct drive motors for the next generation of E-Mobility drivetrains and beginning the process to qualify megawatt scale generators in renewable energy generation applications.
10. What makes C-Motive Technologies a great place to work?
We’ve cultivated a team that understands that they are accountable not only to the duties of their own role, but their role also supports the company’s vision.
You can’t finish the puzzle if any pieces are missing, and we all fill a critical role within C-Motive.
11. What’s one question you wish we asked you?
“What happens if you’re not successful?” There are no guarantees at any startup company, particularly one that has as ambitious of a goal as we do.
However, if C-Motive is unable to find success, the systems we’re looking to improve will not progress. Shipping packages across the country will have a higher carbon footprint, new forms of urban transportation won’t be developed, and renewable generators will not be as productive as they could have been with our technology.
And while C-Motive’s success has a direct link back to the company, its people and technology, there is also a link to the outside world. Investors, partners, commitments from groups like Evergreen Climate Innovations are just as crucial to the success of C-Motive as what we do.
I think it is important to know that if companies don’t succeed it isn’t just the employees of that company that have to deal with that outcome, it is everyone that suffers. We all have a role to play in giving new technology the best chance for success and I think it is important that everyone asks themselves how they can best help so that our success can have a lasting impact on the world at large.
. . .
. . .
Are you an aspiring climate innovator? Let us know if you have any other questions for Matt by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.