May 21, 2024

From Lab to Market: Lessons Learned

A chat with DMSE alum Dan Button, whose career has spanned Fortune 500 companies, six startups, and two venture capital funds.
6:00pm - 7:00pm


Dan Button, Venture Partner, Breakthrough Energy Ventures


Button will discuss the progression of his career, which spanned three arenas (Fortune 500 companies, startups, and venture capital funds), touching on the key lessons learned in each. He will talk about bringing hard technologies to market, having worked at six startups with different exits involving strategic investors, customer, and investors.


Button earned his BS in materials science from Cornell University and PhD in materials science from MIT. He currently works at Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), the climate fund founded by Bill Gates, investing in companies that leverage innovative technologies to help address climate change. Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has more than $2 billion under management to support entrepreneurs building companies that can reduce emissions from agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation. He serves as director on the board of Type One EnergyClear Flame TechnologiesNatel Energy, and Avanti Energy, while serving as an observer on the board of Mangrove LithiumSpark Meter, and Sustaera. At these companies, he advises and assumes temporary leadership roles. Button brings experience from Fortune 500 companies as well as startups to his current role at BEV, previously serving as group technical director for DuPont’s Electronics Group in the Asia Pacific and as business technology director for LCD substrate development at Corning. He served a 10-year term on the DMSE Visiting Committee. He gave the Wulff Lecture at DMSE in 2017.