September 10, 2020

Understanding the environmental impact of your online shopping with Neutral Co-founder Marissa Liu

Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

Do you know what's the true carbon impact of your online purchases? Beyond shipping?

Your new Macbook Pro's CO2 footprint for example is equivalent to driving 1,095 km. Your new espresso machine on the other hand equals 4,107.5 kg of glacial ice melted.

That's the kind of transparency that our guest wants to bring to our online shopping habits. Marissa Liu is Co-Founder of Neutral, a browser extension that allows users to understand and offset the CO2 emissions generated by the products they buy online. Neutral can recommend more sustainable alternatives to the products you have selected and lets you offset your CO2 emissions as you go through the checkout process.

The startup is on a roll. Neutral was selected by the Mozilla’s Fix-The-Internet Incubator, won the Moonshot Prize at Stanford University's Treehacks, and was recently featured on Product Hunt, TechCrunch, and Fast Company.

Neutral is a typical purpose-driven tech startup. When we talked with Marissa about long-term vision, becoming the next unicorn was not her answer. Instead the team aims to challenge the culture of overconsumption, which is at the heart of the climate crisis. There's a real and clear purpose. As we've talked in the past, the company has a well defined True North that guides the team along the way.

In this podcast episode, Marissa and I talk about the challenges of prioritization in product development, finding product/market fit, women in tech, and what has helped them the most so far with building their tech startup.


“We hope through building Neutral we can induce this, reintroduce this sort of eco-consciousness in a way and mindfulness to consumers to be more prudent about what, when, and how they consume.”

Enjoy the show!

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Show Notes

What’s Neutral and what’s the business model – [00:53]

How Neutral started in a Stanford University’s hackathon – [02:22]

What’s the vision for Neutral – [03:39]

Where did the idea for Neutral came from – [04:38]

What Neutral measures and how they come up with the impact estimation – [7:38]

Neutral’s initial customer acquisition strategy – [9:56]

The most challenging part of building a startup – [10:59]

How Neutral defines and interacts with active users – [15:02]

How Marissa and her team prioritize features on their roadmap – [19:38]

What helped Neutral the most in the building a tech startup – [21:52]

Marissa’s view on the progress of women in tech – [27:15]

Selected Links

Marissa on LinkedIn

Marissa on Twitter


Neutral on Product Hunt

Neutral in TechCrunch

Mozilla’s Fix-The-Internet Incubator

Stanford University’s Treehacks

That's all folks

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