Minerva Silicon Valley's Team brings a wide range of experience, skills and insights to serve you.
Marianna Grossman Founder and Managing Partner
Marianna Grossman is founder and managing partner of Minerva Ventures, a consultancy focused on solutions for a resilient future. Minerva provides climate adaptation consulting services for companies and communities. Minerva also guides clean tech startups in water, energy, remediation, finance and climate analytics. Previously, she led Sustainable Silicon Valley for seven years, working to create a more resilient region. Before that she had corporate roles in the automotive, computer and semiconductor industries. She served on the California Climate Adaptation and Resilience Action Plan Technical Advisory Group for Governor Brown; Boards of Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities; California Congress of the International Living Future Institute; the ClimateMusic Project; and, the advisory council for climate action for the City of Palo Alto. She earned a BA cum laude, with distinction in Policy Studies from Dartmouth and an MBA from Yale School of Management. She specializes in bringing people and institutions together across sectors to collaborate, invent and implement solutions that enhance sustainability, build resilience and address the consequences of climate change.
Karl Van Orsdol Global Energy and Sustainability Advisor
Karl advises municipalities and global corporations on energy data management systems, energy markets and risk management, climate action planning and climate mitigation projects. Karl served as a Principal Consultant in DNV GL’s Sustainable Buildings and Communities group where he focused on energy data management systems, energy markets and risk management, climate action planning and climate mitigation projects. His clients included the cities of Boston, Metro Vancouver, and Palo Alto. Among other projects, he prepared strategic management reviews of energy consumption. Karl served Global Strategist for Energy and Sustainability at Hewlett Packard implementing energy management practices across 1,200 HP facilities in 170 countries. Prior to HP, he spent 10 years as energy risk manager for the City of Palo Alto where he led the development of the City’s Climate Action Plan and Roadmap; managed the financial and operational risks associated with the City’s electricity and natural gas procurement portfolio; and, led the negotiations with renewable energy providers for PPA’s for electricity and NAESB gas contracts. Karl’s international experience includes living and conducting research on human impacts on ecosystems in Uganda. He earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Cambridge University, an MBA from UCLA and a BA in Biology from Grinnell College
Kanako McPhail Business Development Director
Kanako is an expert on financial analysis and research. She held senior positions in corporate banking and capital markets, in New York, Tokyo and London for Nippon Credit Bank, Chase and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, respectively. More recently, Kanako has focused on Microfinance and Sustainability, working initially for Opportunity Fund. She worked for two years in business development at Sustainable Silicon Valley helping to catalyze changes for a better & more sustainable Bay Area and joined Minerva leading business development in 2016. Kanako earned her MS in business as a Sloan Fellow at London Business School, and her MA in Economics and International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University SAIS. Her BA is in English Literature from Kansai University in Osaka. She is currently enrolled in the Advanced Program in Sustainable Management at UC Berkeley.
Ben has extensive finance and strategy experience. Ben advises Fortune 500 companies on a number of mergers & acquisitions, for example Seagate Technologies $1.9 billion acquisition of Maxtor Corporation and Fortune Brand’s $5 billion acquisition of 20 brands from Pernod Ricard. Ben works with entrepreneurs on strategy and fundraising for clients, including New Cycle Capital. Ben invested a $1.2 billion proprietary portfolio at Wells Fargo in structured financial products and co-managed 3 funds of $900 million. Ben is interested in and does economic research on two-sided markets (platforms). Ben earned a B.A. in Economics and History from the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of the 1991 National Championship crew team.
Ariana earned a B.S. in Environmental Health Science at Purdue University. She has worked for a variety of companies throughout her college career. At PepsiCo her main project was to initiate a path to zero landfill for the facility in Charlotte, NC. She spearheaded an environmental awareness movement through a self-initiated green week campaign, identified and mapped out waste streams, researched ways to divert landfill along with several safety projects. Ariana has worked for Breathe California of the Bay Area as well as National Student Leadership Conference. She has gained global experience through studying in Dublin, Ireland and Florence, Italy. Ariana is interested in environmental health and safety, sustainability, climate resilience and public health.