New-to-Houston hardtech accelerator names new CEO, opens applications
A national organization that helps accelerate scientists into entrepreneurs has named its new CEO in the same week that applications opened for its 2024 cohort.
This week, Activate announced Cyrus Wadia as CEO of the organization. Based California, Activate recently expanded to Houston. The two-year accelerator provides funding and support for its selected cohorts.
Wadia most recently served as director of worldwide product sustainability at Amazon. He also oversaw sustainable business and innovation at Nike and was appointed assistant director of clean energy and materials R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.
"I’m thrilled to join this incredible team at such an exciting moment for the organization. Because of Activate, scientists are designing new products, accelerating the creation of new businesses, and becoming leaders who will transform our future," Wadia says in the news release. "I look forward to building on this momentum to expand the role science leadership plays in solving society’s most pressing issues.”
Wadia’s new role takes effect on October 16. Todd Johnson has served as interim CEO for the past year, and he will return to his role on Activate’s board of directors with the transition. The program's led locally by Jeremy Pitts, managing director for Activate Houston, who was named to the role last month.
The announcement came just a few days before Activate opened applications for its 2024 program — which will be the first year to have a Houston cohort. Applications are open until October 17 across Activate's five programs. The two-year, hardtech-focused program was founded in Berkeley, California, in 2015 and expanded to Boston and New York before launching its virtual program, Activate Anywhere.
“Activate’s recruitment process is crucial, as it centers around finding scientists directly interested in solving urgent problems,” Pitts says. “Activate fellows are turning their technical breakthroughs into businesses that can help industries like manufacturing, energy, chemicals, computing, and agriculture, to meet their decarbonization and resiliency goals.”
A version of this article originally ran on EnergyCapitalHTX.