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Meet Our Most Likely to be the Next Unicorn Winner: Grain Ecosystem

We are thrilled to introduce our Most Likely to be the Next Unicorn 2024 winner, Grain Ecosystem. Established in 2022, Grain Ecosystem is a technology company providing decarbonization tools to accelerate carbon removal projects in the voluntary carbon market. With a focus on waste-to-value solutions like biochar, Grain's unique platform connects project developers with investors and equipment manufacturers


We had the pleasure of speaking with Grain Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Letourneau. In our discussion, Ryan discussed the company’s goals, detailed their engagement with various incubators and accelerators, and shared his advice for new and aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on to learn more about this pioneering company. 


SB: How did Grain Ecosystem get started and what is your mission?


RL: It all began with recognizing the significant environmental impacts of global production processes, particularly their value chain emissions that contribute prominently to climate change. Identifying a critical gap in financing for carbon sequestration and broader waste-to-value projects catalyzed our mission: to support those grappling with waste challenges and address crucial funding needs.


Founded in September 2022, Grain emerged from Schneider Electric's (Time Magazine's most sustainable company for 2024) “Dare to Disrupt Challenge,” aimed at discovering the next billion-dollar business. Incubated at Greentown Labs, we evolved into an independent founder-owned company, securing initial funding from SE Ventures. Grain has since joined Microsoft Founders Hub and was selected for the Cleantech Open Northeast acceleration program. While headquartered in Boston, New York, and Montreal, our team spans the globe.


Grain’s mission is to accelerate profitable decarbonization across supply chains by integrating innovative solutions through a digital-first, AI-driven platform. We empower project owners and developers to transform waste into valuable resources, reducing operational costs and associated risks in the process.


In 2024, our objectives include expanding our ecosystem to assist more producers in resolving waste challenges profitably while sequestering carbon. We aim to enhance our current tools and enrich our platform with new features such as an Equipment Matching Tool and an Educational Hub.


SB:  What is your favorite part of Boston's startup community?


I love the collaborative spirit we experience with other entrepreneurs and industry experts in Boston. The entire city fosters creativity and growth, creating a perfect environment for innovation. Key players like QUBIC Labs, Greentown Labs, and Cleantech Open Northeast continue to be instrumental in our journey, providing invaluable support and resources. We are immensely grateful and truly honored to be part of such a dynamic and supportive community. The connections we've made and the knowledge we've acquired here have been instrumental in our journey, enabling Grain to solidify its presence as a cornerstone of the local Climate Innovation Community.


SB:  What advice would you give future founders?


RL: First and foremost, listen closely to your customers' feedback about what you’re building. The entrepreneurial journey is full of twists and turns, so be prepared to adjust your course as you learn from your customers.

 

Collaboration is key—seek out partners and actively participate in your ecosystem. Engage with organizations and be a part of the collaborative spirit.

 

Lastly, there’s no shortcut to success; hard work is essential. Entrepreneurship demands dedication and effort every day of the week. Embrace the grind, stay focused, and keep pushing forward.


SB: What does this award mean to you?


RL: Receiving the "Most Likely to Be the Next Unicorn" award from Startup Boston is an incredible honor for us. This recognition affirms the hard work and dedication of our entire team and validates our mission to revolutionize carbon sequestration and associated waste-to-value projects. It boosts our confidence and motivates us to continue innovating and expanding our impact. We are grateful for your support.


SB: How has Startup Boston been helpful on your journey?


RL: Startup Boston has been incredibly helpful in our journey. Their community has provided us with invaluable resources and networking opportunities. Additionally, the recognition we received as the "Most Likely to Be the Next Unicorn" award has boosted our visibility within the startup ecosystem. We are grateful for their support and proud to be part of such a dynamic community.


Visit Grain’s website to learn more about its incredible mission and services. 


Interested in learning more about Boston's startup community or getting involved in future events? Reach out to our team here, or sign up for our newsletter mailing list in the form below!


About the Author: Deanna DeFelice is an accomplished professional in the CPG sector. She is well-experienced with domestic and international supply chains and direct-to-consumer business operations. With a passion for mission-driven brand-building, strategy, and innovation, Deanna's current focus is on the FemTech space. You can connect with her here.




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