Interview originally published on EIT InnoEnergy website.
Achieving a spot on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for Europe (Manufacturing & Industry) is no small feat. This is the kind of accolade that opens doors and serves as a permanent record, usually the first major one in a series to come, of a person’s career achievements.
Eirik Eide Pettersen, has been recognised for his work as co-founder of Seaborg Technologies. He joins fellow EIT InnoEnergy Alumni, Govinda Upadhya, Allen Mohammadi and Tanmoy Bari who have all earned their spots on this prestigious list. Eirik’s contribution is Seaborg’s exciting innovation in the nuclear energy field – a Compact Molten Salt Reactor for sustainable, safe, and inexpensive nuclear energy – which you can read about here.
Our friends at EIT InnoEnergy caught up with Eirik to hear what he had to say about this monumental success, and to see if he had any advice for other innovators out there who might have their eyes on this prize.
Where were you when you found out about making the list?
“I was actually on a skiing vacation in Oberaudorf, south Germany, with my girlfriend – trying my best to relax, disconnect from work with my phone safely tucked away. By chance, I heard it vibrate… I saw it was my co-worker calling to ask if I’d seen the news and if we have any HD photos for the news outlets that had started writing about us!”
What was your reaction to the news?
“I am extremely honoured, of course, both personally but also for Seaborg. In general, I am very appreciative of the excellent team at Seaborg who is really the main reason this could become a reality. While it is my name there on Forbes, I think it should really be considered a team victory. Also, I can’t help but feel quite humbled – it is not every day your name is featured together with the likes of Harry Potter!”
What can this win mean for you and Seaborg’s future?
“This acknowledgement from Forbes is a milestone for Seaborg, and will certainly give us attention and introduce us to some new circles. Hopefully, the momentum can help us accomplish the next milestones. For example, we have a large fundraising round we’re working on so the acknowledgement and exposure will surely help. And I think in the longer run, it tremendously strengthens both my personal CV and our company CV.”
Was it always a goal to make the list?
“No. I doubt that this is the kind of acknowledgement that anyone sets out to win. Rather, it comes as a (very pleasant) side-effect of trying to accomplish overarching goals – in our case: to save the world. And to be honest, if the goal is to be a Forbes 30 under 30, I am certain there are easier ways to accomplish that than with an advanced nuclear energy company.”
Since the article InnoEnergy published in December, is there anything new happening at Seaborg that you would like to share?
“The company keeps growing (we are now 18!), and we are gaining footholds outside of Denmark with one new employee based abroad. After the last story, the response from EMINE students has been great, and we look forward to hosting at least three interns this summer. Lastly, I’ll be at the Connect event in Stockholm this April and look forward to seeing new and old InnoEnergiers there!”
Any advice for others wanting to make this Forbes list?
“Don’t fret too much about it. Do something that you are passionate about, try to make the world a better place, and then keep on trucking. Understand that there are only so many things you can control yourself – hard work, personal sacrifices, taking risks – while much relies on luck and privilege. In my case, I have had the extreme luck and privilege to find myself at the right place at the right time to become a part of the amazing journey that is Seaborg Technologies.”