3 September 2021

Meet our new COO Avra van der Zee

We’re thrilled to welcome Avra van der Zee as our COO, a new role for Elemental that marks our organization’s continued growth and evolution. With Avra helping to scale and steer our next phase, the Elemental team is poised to execute on our Five Year Strategy to advance climate and social equity. Our approach at Elemental has always focused on increasing pathways to innovation by championing and expanding the reach of visionary entrepreneurs; Avra’s deep entrepreneurial experience scaling organizations will propel our work forward.

We took a second to ask Avra, why Elemental? Why now?

Avra: The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our generation and Elemental is at the center of creating a way forward. This is an amazing moment to join the Elemental team and combine two of my passions — addressing climate and social impact, and helping companies scale. Elemental works from the premise that entrepreneurs are wired to make rapid change and challenge the status quo, and then helps support and develop their approach. I was reminded of just how right this premise is recently when celebrating the IPO of XOS, an Elemental portfolio company; you need less than two minutes with XOS’s CEO, Dakota Semler, to see how hard wired he is for innovation!

And Elemental’s thesis goes further: technology innovation is only part of the equation, and the best solutions are the ones that are guided by their community impact. Tech deployments can’t happen in a vacuum. I lived this truth every day while scaling new transportation technologies at micromoblity companies JUMP and Superpedestrian; the intersection of policy, technology and community is where the change happens.

“Connective tissue” is how the CEO of BlocPower, Donnel Baird, has described Elemental. As a connector — between government and industry, policy and corporate partners, communities and tech — Elemental marshals different perspectives and voices in order to thoughtfully and durably scale climate solutions. Our collaborators range from Amazon to Greenlining Institute. Our inflection points include sales, growth, and forward-thinking equity measures.

I’ve been so impressed by the Elemental team’s depth of collaboration, level of rigor around the science of commercializing climate tech, and dedication to the organization’s mission. I’m beyond excited to continue to learn from this all-star team. So here we go! Thanks for inviting me on this journey.