Cyclotron Road’s Etosha Cave Recognized as one of Vanity Fair’s 26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship

April 12, 2018

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26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Media, and Beyond,” by Vanity Fair
The 26 Black women founders pictured here are honored as Vanity Fair’s 26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Media, and Beyond. Photo: Mark Seliger/Vanity Fair

Etosha Cave, alumna of the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s (AMO) Cyclotron Road program and co-founder of Opus 12, was recognized as one of the “26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Media, and Beyond,” by Vanity Fair. Each of the 26 African American women honored has raised $1 million or more in outside capital (before November 15, 2017, according to start-up accelerator DigitalUndivided), breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings along the way.

Women of color currently make up 13 percent of the female U.S. population, but just 4 percent of the estimated 2,200 women-led tech startups. The average amount of funding a black female founder gets is $36,000. By comparison, the average failed startup raises $1.3 million, reported Moguldom. However, according to Vanity Fair, “over the last two decades, black women have become the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs, owning nearly 60 percent of all black businesses.”

Opus 12 was one of six clean energy startups selected from around the country to be incubated in the first cohort of the prestigious Cyclotron Road program at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which is where the company is located today.

Etosha Cave, Chief Science Officer and co-found of Opus 12
Etosha Cave, Chief Science Officer and co-found of Opus 12

Etosha, with co-founders Kendra Kuhl and Nicholas Flanders, discovered the need for a profitable solution to carbon emissions and pioneered the technology that recycles CO₂ into cost-competitive chemicals and fuels. With the assistance and resources from the AMO’s Cyclotron Road program, the technology was converted into a full business concept.

Cyclotron Road is one of three Department of Energy (DOE) Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs. These programs, funded by AMO within DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), address critical gaps in human capital by providing fellowships and two-year institutional homes where talented innovators are equipped with the proper resources to become first-time entrepreneurs.

Not only is Etosha making huge strides in the scientific community, but she is also contributing to the wider society by paving the way for women of color entrepreneurs and CEOs. Etosha was honored amongst 25 other extraordinary business leaders as “faces of the revolution.” Read more at Vanity Fair.

EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.