Mike Giardello

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Mike Giardello

Entrepreneur in Residence

Dr. Giardello is an entrepreneur, mentor, and investor with more than 20 years of experience commercializing catalyst and materials technology.

Dr. Giardello was a post-doctoral fellow for two years with Professor Robert H. Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). From July 1995 to February 1998, Dr. Giardello was a visiting associate at Caltech and maintained a laboratory which facilitated the commercialization of Professor Grubbs’ catalyst technology. During his appointment as Visiting Associate at Caltech, Mike was also a Research Scientist at Maxdem (acquired by Solvay) developing and scaling a revolutionary engineering thermoplastic and served as acting VP of Operations at Cyrano Sciences (acquired by Smith), a Caltech spin-off that commercialized chemical sensor technology.

In February 1998, Dr. Giardello co-founded Materia (materia-inc.com), a market-facing technology-driven specialty chemical company with synergistic catalyst and resin business units that serve a diverse global customer base. Mike served as Executive VP and CTO until February 1999 when he became President, CEO and CTO. On November 1, 2015, he transitioned to a role as Senior Advisor at Materia to manage the largest capital expenditure project in Materia’s history. The justification for the project was derived from the successful development and qualification of a new materials system for a high-value, high-volume subsea pipeline project in the Gulf of Mexico with one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. To date, Materia has raised over $120 million in capital from financial and strategic investors.

Dr. Giardello co-founded and served on the Board of Elevance (elevance.com), a joint venture he helped create in 2007 with Cargill and $45 million in initial funding from TPG. To date, Elevance has raised more than $350 million from financial and strategic investors and operates the world’s largest bio-refinery enabled by Materia’s Grubbs Catalyst® Technology.

Dr. Giardello has authored numerous publications and patents in the areas of catalysis and materials science and has been an invited speaker on the topics of technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Giardello is also involved with three non-profit organizations in the Pasadena area. Since 1993, he has been a Board member of the Caltech Student Investment Fund (sif.caltech.edu). This endowment fund was founded to teach Caltech students about the many aspects of the public investment markets. Mike also serves on the Advisory Council to the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative (pasadenabiosci.com), a Pasadena-based non-profit organization serving Biotech entrepreneurs in the greater Pasadena area. Lastly, he is a Co-Founder and current Chairman and President of Innovate Pasadena (innovatepasadena.org), a Pasadena-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth. Prior to co-founding Innovate Pasadena in 2003, Dr. Giardello served as Vice Chairman of the City of Pasadena’s Economic Development Task Force (ww5.cityofpasadena.net/economicdevelopment/).

Dr. Giardello earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Grinnell College in 1988. He received his PhD in Chemistry in 1993 at Northwestern University.

Dr. Giardello may be contacted at  mikegiardello AT gmail DOT com.

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