Share

cover art for Michael Blaugrund: New York Stock Exchange

Consensus in Conversation

Michael Blaugrund: New York Stock Exchange

Season 1, Ep. 6

We welcome Michael Blaugrund, Chief Operating Officer at the New York Stock Exchange, to talk about Natural Asset Companies (NACs), ESG, the capital market landscape, and the NYSE’s role in it all. Nature and the related ecosystem services are worth an estimated $100-$150 trillion a year, revealing a massive opportunity for nature in the business world. NACs aim to unlock that value as they support and protect our natural resources.


Find out what this all means for the future of business, the markets, and our country on this episode of CiC.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 18. Dr. Vince Romanin of Gradient on Heat Pumps, Zero-Carbon Infrastructure, and the Triple Bottom Line

    51:00
    HVAC is one of the most important quality of life utilities that we never think about– at least, until it stops working. It’s also energy inefficient and expensive, responsible for almost 20% of global GHG emissions, with decades-old infrastructure way behind the design innovation curve. But Dr. Vince Romanin has a solution: reimagine HVAC as we know it by combining personal heating and cooling in one, easy-to-install electrified heat pump that reduces emissions by 95% – the Gradient system. After earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and heat transfer from Berkeley, Vince worked as a development engineer at otherlab. It was there that he recognized the world-changing potential of innovative HVAC to decarbonize infrastructure while improving lives, and in 2021 he co-founded Gradient with the goal of building a better air source heat pump.  Hear why CEO Vince Romanin took to engineering at such a young age, what it takes to launch a clean tech startup, and how Gradient’s technology could change the world.Episode Highlights00:00 Dr. Vince Romanin on making HVAC exciting and cutting emissions00:54 Conor Gaughan introduces Vince Romanin and Gradient04:51 Early influences, model rockets, and engineering at Dayton08:59 GE internship, thermodynamics at Berkeley, and climate change15:22 Joining otherlab and recognizing the potential in HVAC19:05 Launching Gradient and the two problems it solves25:48 Fundraising, product prototyping, and a unique user experience30:44 Why use heat pumps, decarbonizing infrastructure, and the TAM38:41 Workforce development, sustainability, and creating impact 44:11 Interesting climate breakthroughs to watch 48:58 Where to learn more and end creditsIf you liked this episode, listen next to Matt Rogers of Mill Industries on Food Waste, Impactful Product Design, and Innovation OR ​​Manik Suri of GlacierGrid on Transformative Tech, Automating Energy Use, and Cold Chain 2.0More on Gradient and Vince:gradientcomfort.comlinkedin.com/company/gradient-comfort/ linkedin.com/in/vromaninConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgoneHave questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 17. Pavle Jeremic of Aether Biomachines on Rearranging Atoms, Scaling Deep Tech, and Defeating Scarcity

    54:32
    Pavle Jeremic wants to end resource scarcity by literally rearranging atoms. Inspired to build a better, more abundant future after witnessing violent conflict in his parents’ native Yugoslavia, Pavle launched Aether Biomachines in 2017 at just 21 years old. Since then, he’s successfully led the protein engineering startup to the cutting edge of nanotechnology, working to solve our planet’s resource scarcity problem. Today, Pavle and Aether are combining protein synthesis, machine learning, and nanoscale engineering to rearrange atomic structures, enabling everything from impact-free resource extraction to self-healing materials.  Hear why at such a young age, Pavle became obsessed with building a future of abundance, what it takes to scale a true deep tech startup, and how Aether Biomachines is turning science fiction into reality.Episode Highlights00:00 Pavle on using machine learning models to rearrange atoms00:38 Conor Gaughan introduces Pavle Jeremic and Aether Biomachines04:23 Protein engineering, growing up around scarcity, and interest in science07:36 Synthetic biology, UC Santa Cruz, and genetic engineering projects 16:16 Origin of Aether Biomachines, its long-term view, and its product categories26:10 Storytelling in science, what industry Aether sees itself in, and defining “machine”33:12 Deep tech, scarcity vs abundance, core pillars for scaling impact41:22 Current problems, future solutions, and balancing the two46:37 Exciting climate innovations to watch 52:04 Where to learn more and end creditsIf you liked this episode, listen next to Peter Godart of Found Energy on Aluminum Fuel, NASA, and Engineering Impact at ScaleMore on Aether Biomachines and Pavle:aetherbio.comlinkedin.com/company/aetherbio linkedin.com/in/pavlejeremicConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgone Have questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 16. Josh Domingues of Flashfood on the Athlete Mentality, Superpowered Data, and Making Food Affordable

    53:14
    Food waste is a $25 billion problem for American supermarkets, but Josh Domingues has an app for that. Josh is the founder and executive chairman of Flashfood, a simple but elegant application that directly connects consumers with local grocery stores to buy food nearing expiration at a huge discount. This approach is a win-win-win for all parties: grocers get paid for food they would throw out, customers get a massive discount, and less food waste ends up in pollutive landfills.Josh spent his early career in finance and management, but a complaint from his sister, a chef, about how much food is thrown away after events set him on a new path to turn trash into treasure.Hear how Josh turned a simple idea into a game-changing startup, why the grocery industry is moving towards sustainable innovation, and what’s next on Flashfood’s plate. Episode Highlights 00:00 Josh on the moment he realized Flashfood would work00:52 Conor Gaughan introduces Josh Domingues and Flashfood05:09 Growing up in Toronto, hockey, and entrepreneurial influences12:02 Career in finance, management consulting, and path to founding15:38 How a catering event led to the launch of Flashfood23:05 Entering the marketplace, building a product, and pitching the idea31:12 How FlashFood works today for consumers and businesses37:48 Breaking into the industry and US vs Canadian grocers41:57 Prioritizing sustainability, food security, and positive impact  48:46 Finding optimism 51:15 Where to learn more and end creditsIf you liked this episode, listen next to Nick Whitman of Divert on Food Waste, Renewable Energy, and Impact TechnologyMore on Flashfood and Josh:flashfood.comlinkedin.com/company/flashfoodinclinkedin.com/in/joshdominguesConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgoneHave questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 15. Lindsey Davis Stover & Shivam Mallick Shah of 1953 Tequila on Elevating Women & Exceptional Tequila

    51:45
    Two founders of 1953 Tequila, Lindsey Davis Stover and Shivam Mallick Shah, join Conor for a special in-person conversation to share how their ultra-premium, additive-free tequila is prioritizing sustainability, elevating women in the spirits industry, and also offering an awesome drinking experience.Lindsey, Shivam, and the rest of the 1953 founding team met through Congressional campaigns for Virginia’s 10th district, and the idea for a women-led, luxury tequila company followed soon after. True to their mission, the founders secured a deal to source from an agave farmer who was passing his farm on to his daughters. Named after the year women in Mexico gained the right to vote, 1953 Tequila has shaken up the male-dominated spirits industry from day one, and it was recently named the Best Additive-Free Tequila by Men’s Journal.As you’ll hear, Shivam Mallick Shah and Lindsey Davis Stover have big dreams for tequila and beyond.Episode Highlights:00:00 Lindsey on pitching her crazy idea for a tequila company00:48 Conor Gaughan introduces Lindsey, Shivam, and 1953 Tequila 02:00 Bureaucratic backgrounds and running for Congress13:00 The idea to launch, women in spirits, and meeting agave farmers20:32 Branding, the origin of the name, and making it additive free28:10 Building in a new industry, getting to market, and finding distribution33:09 Challenges as a women-led brand in a male-dominated industry 36:37 Social impact opportunity, sustainability, and doing good 41:35 Building for the future, remaining optimistic, and sources of inspiration48:28 Where to learn more… or find a bottle! 50:00 Outro and end creditsThe book Lindsey mentioned: What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi YamadaShivam meant to mention she is reading: Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens by her husband, Rajiv Shah.If you liked this episode, listen next to John Little of Smooth Ambler Spirits Co. on Craft Distilling, Sustainable Growth, and Disrupting the Bourbon IndustryMore on 1953 Tequila, Lindsey, and Shivam:1953tequila.com and instagram.com/1953tequilalinkedin.com/in/lindsey-davis-stover-1b65707linkedin.com/in/shivam-mallick-shah-54a953135Connect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgoneHave questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comAs Conor mentioned in the show, we're taking a break for his birthday and we'll be back the first week of May with more great conversations!If you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 14. Manik Suri of GlacierGrid on Transformative Tech, Automating Energy Use, and Cold Chain 2.0

    51:32
    Manik Suri is implementing smart technology into cooling, ushering in the era of Cold Chain 2.0. Before founding GlacierGrid in 2020, Manik finished top of his class at Harvard, went to Cambridge for a masters in international relations, returned to Harvard for a law degree, co-founded the Governance Lab, with stops at storied institutions like DE Shaw and the White House Economic Council along the way. Cooling technology has lagged behind other industries in the clean energy transition, but GlacierGrid’s all-in-one management platform is using smart technology to bridge that gap and build a more sustainable, advanced, and efficient cold chain.Hear Manik share how he’s pursuing dual passions for entrepreneurship and positive impact, why cooling technology is vital for the modern world, and how smart technology can decarbonize an entire industry. Episode Highlights:00:00 Manik Suri on the planet’s cooling crisis00:57 Conor Gaughan introduces Manik and GlacierGrid07:00 Academic upbringing, Harvard, and international internships16:03 Law school, The White House, and path to entrepreneurship23:25 GlacierGrid’s rebrand, the hidden economy, and the cold chain33:34 Pitching investors, aligning profits with impact, and future scale 40:09 Exciting innovations, long-term thinking, and staying positive48:07 Where to learn more 49:03 Conclusion and end credits If you liked this episode, listen next to Nick Whitman of Divert on Food Waste, Renewable Energy, and Impact TechnologyMore on GlacierGrid and Manik Suri:glaciergrid.com linkedin.com/company/glaciergridlinkedin.com/in/maniksuriConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgone Have questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 13. Karthik Balakrishnan of ACTUAL on SimCity for Capital Plans and the Sustainability Execution Gap

    55:44
    Stanford rocket scientist and fintech entrepreneur Karthik Balakrishnan is integrating high-tech infrastructure modeling with video game interface design to create a software platform that allows businesses to virtually test their plans for maximum sustainability and bottom-line impact. In 2018, Karthik co-founded software startup ACTUAL based on a unique premise: what if you could plug your business idea into a science-backed simulation that operates like a computer game? The software platform allows users to choose a sustainability strategy, map out its various permutations, and compare those simulation results, enabling businesses to explore the full range of possibilities for their capital and implement the most impactful without real-world risks.Hear ACTUAL president and co-founder Karthik Balakrishnan talk about how SimCity influenced their approach, combining user interface with data visualization, and why gamifying decision making is so important for the future. Episode Highlights:00:00 Karthik Balakrishnan on making specialist knowledge more accessible00:53 Conor Gaughan introduces Karthik and ACTUAL05:45 Growing up on the coasts and aerospace engineering at Stanford 10:45 Rocket science, entrepreneurial spirit, and the generalist mindset17:43 Fintech, founding Coin, and risk-taking versus reliability 27:24 Angel investing, the Pioneer Fund, and an impact-based framework 32:55 The origin of ACTUAL, the elevator pitch, and de-risking innovation 42:49 Real world variables and misconceptions about sustainable software  49:15 Exciting innovations, defeating defeatism, and staying positive53:40 Where to learn more and end creditsIf you liked this episode, listen next to Peter Godart of Found Energy on Aluminum Fuel, NASA, and Engineering Impact at ScaleMore on ACTUAL and Karthik Balakrishnan:actualhq.comlinkedin.com/company/actualhqlinkedin.com/in/kbalakriConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgone Have questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 12. Special from CLIMB by VSC: When Technology Transcends Screens with Sunil Nagaraj

    57:19
    This week, we’re proud to share a special episode of the CLIMB by VSC podcast with Jay Kapoor, featuring his interview with Sunil Nagaraj. CLIMB is a weekly podcast where Jay and VSC Ventures co-founder Vijay Chattha speak with leading investors, founders, and industry experts about lessons and perspectives on company-building in the world of climate tech and climate adaptation. From CLIMB by VSC:We're honored to host Sunil Nagaraj, a visionary investor in the intersection of deep tech and climate innovation, and founding partner of Ubiquity Ventures. Nagaraj's unique perspective on "software beyond the screen" and his commitment to supporting early-stage, tech-driven startups are at the forefront of our discussion. We dive into the essence of nurturing technologies with disciplined financing and the strategic scaling of startups to mitigate climate change.Our conversation spans a variety of topics, from the complexities of venture capital in the climate tech space to the pivotal role of startups in driving substantial change. Sunil shares insights on the importance of focusing on high-impact areas and the potential pitfalls in the startup ecosystem, particularly emphasizing the significance of avoiding the "moonshot culture" that often hinders the progress of deep tech ventures.About VSC Ventures:VSC Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund led by Jay Kapoor and Vijay Chattha where we invest in early-stage startups and support our founders with hands-on PR, storytelling, and go-to-market work with help from our award-winning PR agency VSC.Links discussed in this episode:Moonshot Culture is Strangling Deeptech article: https://www.ubqt.vc/p/moonshot-culture-is-strangling-deeptech Ubiquity University: https://university.ubiquity.vc/Episode Highlights00:00 Conor Gaughan introduces CLIMB by VSC02:42 Trailer 03:17 Introduction04:01 What defines a startup as truly 'Nerdy and Early'?"07:11 What’s the first question investors make?11:30 How do investors navigate unfamiliar markets?16:17 The pros and cons of a singular investment strategy21:49 How do 'crazy' ideas become genius investments26:45 The 'Don't Repeat Yourself' mantra in Venture Capital29:35 The cost of keeping secrets in Venture Capital31:57 How trust accelerates organizational velocity39:30 Should investors be more involved in early stage startups?42:47 How can startups become better companies47:19 The dangers of Moonshot Culture in Deep Tech52:39 What's the one thing your startup should focus on?55:07 Can technology truly turn the tide against climate change?We’ll be back next week with a brand new episode of Consensus in Conversation. In the meantime, make sure to follow the CLIMB by VSC podcast for more great perspectives on company-building. Connect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgoneHave questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comConsensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 11. Frank Heidinger of HALEVAI on Marine Conservation, Electric Boats, and the Power of Marginal Gains

    47:57
    Frank Heidinger believes that lots of small improvements over time can create a huge impact, and he’s using that concept to electrify the recreational boating industry, responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions. Frank is the founder and CEO of HALEVAI, a cutting-edge company making high-performance, fully electric recreational boats that will reduce the industry’s environmental footprint, shorten supply chains, and bring more manufacturing jobs to the U.S. A hospitality industry veteran and lifelong ocean advocate, Frank shares how  prioritizing customer experience, committing to incremental improvement, and embracing a “We Will” vision of the future can truly make all the difference. Hear Frank talk about the idea that led him to launch HALEVAI, combining materials sciences, design, and engineering to build boats, and the exciting future for (water-based) electric vehicles. Episode Highlights00:00 Frank Heidinger on energy, hospitality, and the natural environment00:39 Conor Gaughan introduces Frank and HALEVAI04:10 Brooklyn beginnings, creating experiences, and sustainable hospitality in the Maldives13:58 The idea for electric boats, initial obstacles, and developing a design20:30 The recreational boating market and marginal improvements29:10 Pitching to investors, the spirit of innovation, and creating impact36:30 Sustainability in luxury, open sourcing, and prioritizing customers41:22 Frank’s vision for a sustainable future and where to learn more45:43 Wrap up and end credits If you liked this episode, listen next to Ben Bressler of Natural Habitat Adventures on Nature, Travel, and Pursuing Your Passion More on HALEVAI and Frank Heidinger:halevai.cominstagram.com/halevaipower/ linkedin.com/company/halevai linkedin.com/in/frank-heidinger-halevai Connect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and threads.net/@ckgoneHave questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.
  • 10. Jay Kapoor of VSC Ventures on Climate Automation, Hidden Economies, and Sustainable Investing

    54:04
    Jay Kapoor believes there is massive opportunity in climate automation and that identifying hidden economies is key to building a more sustainable future. Jay is co-founder and general partner at VSC Ventures, a storytelling-focused VC firm investing in early stage climate tech and automation startups. In part two of our conversation with Jay, we dive into the nitty gritty: Jay shares how hidden economies inform his investing thesis, why automation is key to our climate tech transition, how early startups are already tapping into this opportunity, and what a sustainable future could really look like. If you missed last week’s episode, listen first to Jay Kapoor of VSC Ventures on Finding Purpose, Startup Storytelling, and the Founder with 1000 Faces. Episode Highlights: 00:00 Jay Kapoor on investing in climate automation00:58 Conor Gaughan introduces Jay Kapoor and VSC Ventures02:57 Looking for hidden economies as an investor10:22 Using analogies to boost storytelling 15:03 The huge potential in climate automation31:34 Exciting innovations in the tech industry 37:47 VSC’s portfolio companies46:51 Envisioning a sustainable future with nuclear energy 50:04 Where to learn more51:35 Conclusion and end credits More on VSC Ventures and Jay Kapoor:vscventures.com/portfolio linkedin.com/company/vsc-ventures linkedin.com/in/jaykapoor/twitter.com/JayKapoorNYCJay’s podcast: CLIMB by VSCConnect with Conor Gaughan on linkedin.com/in/ckgone and instagram.com/ckgone Have questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at CiC@consensus-digital.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify – it really makes a difference! Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.