This is “My Life’s Work,” a series about the unique life experiences that influenced the careers of tech founders and executives. Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
After reading the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Shashank Samala saw a need to not only reduce carbon emissions, but remove existing CO2 from the air. So began Heirloom Carbon, which is working to build carbon removal farms (similar to wind or solar farms) in the hope of removing 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2035. Samala was also inspired by his own background, growing up in the Indian city of Hyderabad, which is increasingly affected by flooding. His entrepreneurial journey includes a move to Bangor, Maine, a successful first startup, and plenty of inspiration and support from his parents.