Driven by firsthand experience, founder Julie Kring is passionate about answering one question: How do we protect what remains of the natural world while reimagining how to limit harmful influence on it? With a degree in biochemistry and work experience at NASA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Kring founded Khepra to provide a solution to the impact industrialization has had on natural resources. Khepra has created breakthrough technology to efficiently convert waste into petrochemical alternatives, changing the future of fuel and enabling businesses to improve sustainability.
Today, Alabama NewsCenter talks with Kring, CEO of Khepra.
Julie Kring, CEO and founder
Alabama NewsCenter: What is your company’s overall focus and mission?
Julie Kring: Khepra’s mission is to de-carbonize the chemicals industry. Industrial emissions account for over 30% of global emissions. Every time you crack a hole in the ground to extract fossil fuels, it leaks greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for decades. The real problem is in the very bones of how we operate – transoceanic shipping, grid scale electricity and the materials we use in everything from buildings to shampoo.
ANC: What inspired you to start this company? How do you want to contribute to the future of energy and tech?
Kring: I know firsthand how destructive resource extraction can be, so I decided to do something about it. I thought it was misguided to rip petroleum out of the ground when we had all this useful trash lying around. At Khepra, we have developed a breakthrough technology that uses renewable electricity to break down consumer and agricultural waste into fuel.
ANC: What attracted you to the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator?
Kring: We were attracted to this program because of the leadership of this accelerator – Managing Director Nate Schmidt and Program Manager Brooke Gillis.
ANC: What is the No. 1 thing you’d like potential investors to understand about your company?
Kring: We’re not messing around. This company is based on years of watching the successes and failures of other green chemistry companies. We’re serious about our goals and we don’t believe in environmentalist hero narratives. This is about doing the work right so we can all live in a world where petroleum doesn’t rule our lives.
ANC: What takeaways do you hope to gain for your company by participating in the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator?
Kring: Being in Alabama has opened my eyes to how ideal the Southeast is for starting new chemical plants. What I’d really like to take away is a plan to land and expand in the South, bringing about new jobs and opportunities for people here.
ANC: What is your opinion of Birmingham so far?
Kring: I love Birmingham. The city and its people are gorgeous. There’s always something to do.
Alabama NewsCenter is highlighting the 2021 Class of startups participating in the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator. Learn more about Techstars here. Read profiles of HData, Noteworthy AI, Accelerate Wind and Flux Hybrids.