MIT Professor Donald Sadoway's classroom lectures inspired Bill Gates to invest in a small startup, Liquid Metal Battery, Sadoway's Extreme Electrochemistry Lab spin-off. Phil Giudice, the company's new CEO, told Gigaom that they got their star investor after Gates started watching Sadoway's lecture series about batteries from MIT's free online course program, and later contacted Sadoway by email.
"At first Don thought it was a joke," said Giudice, "but then realized it was actually Gates and Gates was serious." The project also received a $6.9 million ARPA-E grant, as well as a $4 million investment from French oil company Total.
Watch the video clip in the panel at right to hear Sadoway talk about the evolution of the company and its technology. Sadoway connects the birth of this new technology to his own philosophy about mentoring and "inventing" great scientists, while trying to solve one of society's biggest problems.