Founder & CEO
Michael first discovered the palm-leaf plates while interning in India. As a committed environmentalist, he was already aware of the gravity of America’s disposable waste. Michael realized that the introduction of dinnerware from fallen leaves would greatly improve the conditions. He worked tirelessly throughout his time at Columbia Business School to develop the design and composition of the plates. Ultimately, VerTerra was born.
VerTerra was not Michael’s first business. After graduating from Columbia College with a degree in economics, he worked in his native city of New York as an investment banker. His next journey took him to Nanjing University to study Chinese. While in China, Michael launched a company that offered translation and negotiation services for foreign companies. Shortly after its creation, he sold the company to pursue an M.B.A. degree at Columbia Business School.
As an M.B.A student, Michael’s remarkable entrepreneurial talents did not go unnoticed. Among his many accomplishments, he won Columbia’s outrageous business plan competition, the Lang fund competition for budding entrepreneurs and the Draper Fisher Jurvetson East Coast Venture Challenge.
Subsequent to his graduation from Columbia Business School, Michael has been featured in a variety of major publications, including Time, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Businessweek TV, and Fox Business News. He regularly speaks on environmental issues and on the topic of entrepreneurship.