Episode #5: Net Zero Heroes: CarbonCapture Insights

Tech Optimist Podcast — Tech, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

Written by

Alumni Ventures

Published on


2 min

In this captivating episode of the Tech Optimist, host Mike Collins engages in insightful discussions with pioneers who are not just thinking about the future but actively shaping it. This week, host Mike Collins interviews Adam Oliner, co-founder and CEO of Graft, Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture, and Sophia Zhao, a principal at Alumni Ventures.

Episode #5: Net Zero Heroes: CarbonCapture Insights

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Our first segment features Adam Oliner, CEO of Graft, who shares how AI is transforming practical business solutions. The conversation continues with Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture, discussing the impactful work his company is doing to combat climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere. Finally, we explore diversity in AI and venture capital with Sophia Zhao, highlighting the strides women are making in these fields.

Watch Time ~69 minutes

The show is produced by Alumni Ventures, which has been recognized as a “Top 20 Venture Firm” by CB Insights (’24) and as the “#1 Most Active Venture Firm in the US” by Pitchbook (’22 & ’23).


Creators and Guests


Mike Collins
CEO, and Co-Founder at Alumni Ventures

Mike has been involved in almost every facet of venturing, from angel investing to venture capital, new business and product launches, and innovation consulting. He is currently CEO of Alumni Ventures Group, the managing company for our fund, and launched AV’s first alumni fund, Green D Ventures, where he oversaw the portfolio as Managing Partner and is now Managing Partner Emeritus. Mike is a serial entrepreneur who has started multiple companies, including Kid Galaxy, Big Idea Group (partially owned by WPP), and RDM. He began his career at VC firm TA Associates. He holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Adam Oliner
Founder & CEO, Graft

Adam Oliner is the Founder and CEO of Graft. Graft’s Intelligence Layer integrates company information and human expertise to equip teams with instant, trusted answers to make better decisions without delays and uncertainties.


Adrian Corless
CEO, CarbonCapture

Adrian Corless is CEO of CarbonCapture, a California-based climate tech company that makes modular machines that can be connected in large arrays to capture massive amounts of CO2 directly from the atmosphere.


Sophia Zhao
Senior Principal, AI Fund, Women’s Fund, and Westwood Ventures

Sophia brings a wealth of experience in capital advisory, corporate development, and operational optimization, establishing impactful collaborations with CXOs and Founders. With a diverse industry exposure encompassing cloud computing, mining and minerals, consumer goods, and Web3, Sophia has been at the forefront of transformative technologies. Driven by a passion for shaping the future through frontier technologies, Sophia supports AI data and application deals within her team. She holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University, an MBA from the University of British Columbia, and an MAM from the Yale School of Management.

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