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Market-Based Solutions for Invasive Species Management & Biodiversity Restoration

Aarav Chavda INVERSA Leathers

This session will be a panel discussion featuring Conservation International, INVERSA Leathers, and Pezzy Pets on the role that market-driven solutions can play in addressing the threat that invasive species pose to global biodiversity. They will give a deeper introduction into how invasives are contributing to the climate crisis and global biodiversity loss, discuss how market-driven innovations can help address this under-resourced problem in a resource-efficient way, and present and analyze the solutions they have pioneered or invested in to provide examples to the audience. Panelists will include INVERSA’s Aarav Chavda, Conservation International’s Gracie White, and Pezzy Pets’ Mike Mitchell.

Aarav Chavda is the co-founder and CEO of INVERSA Leathers, a sustainable materials startup that creates luxury leathers from invasive species such as the lionfish, python, and invasive carp. Prior to founding INVERSA, Aarav worked in growth strategy and private equity at McKinsey & Company. He is a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and a graduate of Princeton University, where he earned his B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Gracie White is the Director of Global Ocean Investments for Conservation International Ventures LLC, where she supports early-stage companies within emerging markets through a blend of debt and equity investment products. Her background has primarily centered around sustainable aquaculture, with a focus on seaweed, and previously worked for Hatch Blue, NOAA, and the CREO Syndicate. She is passionate about gender equity and hopes to support the next generation of female innovators and leaders within the blue economy while addressing the gender gap in venture funding. She received a Masters Degree in Marine Resource Management from the UCSB Bren School, and her B.A. in Sustainable Food and Agriculture from Yale.

Mike Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Pezzy Pets, a sustainable pet food provider that creates dog treats from invasive fish. Before founding his company, Mike worked on sustainable agriculture and microfinance projects in Guatemala and El Salvador. He is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, which he used to conduct researched on the socio-economic impact of small scale fish farming in Mexico. Mike has also worked as a consultant for the UNDP. He earned his Master’s Degree in Development Practice from U.C. Berkeley, and his B.S. in marketing and environmental policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Track

Deploying Climate Capital

Format

Panel (3 speakers)

Speakers

  • NameAarav Chavda
  • TitleCEO & Cofounder
  • OrganizationINVERSA Leathers
  • NameMike Mitchell
  • TitleCEO
  • OrganizationPezzy Pets
  • NameGracie White
  • TitleDirector of Global Ocean Investments
  • OrganizationConservation International Ventures

Description

This session will be a panel discussion featuring Conservation International, INVERSA Leathers, and Pezzy Pets on the role that market-driven solutions can play in addressing the threat that invasive species pose to global biodiversity. They will give a deeper introduction into how invasives are contributing to the climate crisis and global biodiversity loss, discuss how market-driven innovations can help address this under-resourced problem in a resource-efficient way, and present and analyze the solutions they have pioneered or invested in to provide examples to the audience. Panelists will include INVERSA’s Aarav Chavda, Conservation International’s Gracie White, and Pezzy Pets’ Mike Mitchell.

Aarav Chavda is the co-founder and CEO of INVERSA Leathers, a sustainable materials startup that creates luxury leathers from invasive species such as the lionfish, python, and invasive carp. Prior to founding INVERSA, Aarav worked in growth strategy and private equity at McKinsey & Company. He is a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and a graduate of Princeton University, where he earned his B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Gracie White is the Director of Global Ocean Investments for Conservation International Ventures LLC, where she supports early-stage companies within emerging markets through a blend of debt and equity investment products. Her background has primarily centered around sustainable aquaculture, with a focus on seaweed, and previously worked for Hatch Blue, NOAA, and the CREO Syndicate. She is passionate about gender equity and hopes to support the next generation of female innovators and leaders within the blue economy while addressing the gender gap in venture funding. She received a Masters Degree in Marine Resource Management from the UCSB Bren School, and her B.A. in Sustainable Food and Agriculture from Yale.

Mike Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Pezzy Pets, a sustainable pet food provider that creates dog treats from invasive fish. Before founding his company, Mike worked on sustainable agriculture and microfinance projects in Guatemala and El Salvador. He is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, which he used to conduct researched on the socio-economic impact of small scale fish farming in Mexico. Mike has also worked as a consultant for the UNDP. He earned his Master’s Degree in Development Practice from U.C. Berkeley, and his B.S. in marketing and environmental policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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