About risQ

Our Mission

Our mission is to catalyze and inform systems-level adaptation to climate change. We model the complex financial risks posed by climate change, translating them to actionable insights for municipal debt stakeholders. risQ is a spinout of Northeastern University’s Sustainability and Data Sciences (SDS) Lab and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Actionable Climate Risk Analytics
for the Municipal Bond Market

Our Journey

2014 - The Idea

After finishing his PhD at Northeastern University, CEO Dr. Kodra was drawn to the huge gap between the corpus of climate change research and actual practice. He realized that the private sector was relatively unengaged in the climate change discussion — but that it might be the right vehicle for real change

Dr. Kodra realized that, perhaps counterintuitively, the insurance sector generally does not price climate change risks into underwriting. He and Dr. Auroop Ganguly, climate scientist and professor at Northeastern University, began exploring the idea of spinning out a company that would start by addressing this gap

2015 - Team Grows

Colin Sullivan, also a Northeastern alumnus with expertise in tech transfer and business development, joins Dr. Ganguly and Dr. Kodra decide to try to co-found risQ as a spinout of Northeastern’s Sustainability and Data Sciences Lab

2016 - Grant Awarded, Company Started

risQ is awarded its first funding — a $225,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (NSF SBIR) grant — and the company is officially launched.

2017 - Catastrophe Modeling

risQ builds an understanding of the catastrophe (“cat”) modeling and insurance markets, culminating in a technical partnership with JBA Risk Management (a renowned leader in flood modeling), wide recognition in the cat insurance sector, and an invited climate change talk at a major cat modeling conference.

2018 - Phase Two Grant Awarded

risQ is awarded a second round of NSF SBIR grant funding for $750,000. The team grows, adding more expertise in climate science, modeling, product development, and strategy.

2018 - Product Development Begins

After a significant amount of institutional research and experience has accrued, risQ distills its mission down to its current focus, which is driving climate adaptation through the public debt investment market. risQ begins translating climate risk analytics into an actionable product for its stakeholders.

Leadership Team

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Evan Kodra

Holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Northeastern University’s SDS Lab. His research on climate and weather extremes has been cited by the International Panel on Climate Change and has been highlighted by publications including Nature, USA Today, Yahoo!, and MSNBC. His cumulative industry work since 2011 has contributed substantially and directly toward successful partnerships, millions in revenue, and multiple patents.

Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer

Colin Sullivan

Holds a B.S. from Northeastern University in Computer Engineering and has over three years experience working in technology transfer at both Yale University and Northeastern University. During his time in technology transfer, he worked with faculty and students in helping facilitate the translation of research from the laboratory setting into tangible products ready for market. Colin has a wealth of industrial experience in business development and sales of technical software products.

Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Auroop Ganguly

The Principal Investigator of the SDS Lab and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Auroop has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as 17 years of experience spanning academia, a government-owned national research laboratory, and the private sector. His research on climate extremes has been published in high profile journals including Nature, PNAS, Nature Climate Change, Scientific Reports, Physical Review E, PLoS One, IEEE Transactions, and Geophysical Research Letters. He has published an edited book titled Knowledge Discovery from Sensor Data. Auroop is also the Co-Chair of the Societal Dimensions Working Group for the Community Earth System Model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Lead Economic Scientist

John Sheffield

John was a co-founder and executive at Seven Bridges Genomics, which operates a peta-scale biomedical data analysis platform that powers major government and industry research initiatives worldwide. As a partner at the Linnaean Company, he leads data product development in industries ranging from transportation/urban planning to real estate private equity. John holds an AB (Harvard College, Phi Beta Kappa) and an MSc in Applied Statistics (Oxford University, Marshall Scholar).

Lead Climate Hazard Scientist

John Rowe

For 22 years John has worked at developing solutions for modeling natural hazards and evaluating their potential for generating monetary loss. Most recently, John was Vice President of Research and Modeling at AIR Worldwide, a leading global catastrophe risk modeling company serving insurance, government entities, and blue-chip companies. John’s role at risQ is to help find ways to apply climate research to real-world problems to make a positive difference. John holds an MSc in Structural Engineering from City University London and the Danish Technical University (DTU).

Chief Commercial Officer

Dr. Chris Hartshorn

Chris has helped to drive innovation as Chief Research Officer at Lux Research providing emerging technology intelligence and strategic advice to hundreds of the world’s most innovative companies and agencies, and as Chief Technology Officer at Callaghan Innovation, the government agency responsible for catalyzing innovation in New Zealand. He brings first-hand experience in developing and growing information services businesses and commercializing multidisciplinary solutions drawing from physical, life and data sciences.

Lead Climate Scientist

Dr. Carling Hay

Dr. Carling Hay holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Toronto. Her expertise covers a broad range of disciplines including atmospheric physics, statistical modeling, geophysics, climate change, and sea-level rise. Before joining the risQ team as Lead Climate Scientist, Carling was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. Carling’s primary research focus has been on leveraging statistical techniques to model sea level rise and variability as well as its impact on human populations and built systems. Her work has been highlighted by the US Senate and gained media coverage in 30+ news outlets including The New York Times, BBC, and The Economist.

Research Analyst

Terry Tabors

As a Research Analyst, Terry brings years of experience in technical data analysis and information systems, as well as a passion for technical writing. Previous to his employment at risQ, Terry owned and operated an IT solutions firm in Knoxville, Tennessee where he formed a network of over 80 clients that spanned multiple counties. He holds a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Tennessee.

Advisory Board

Advisor | Sustainability and Commercial Solutions

Dr. Ory Zik

Dr. Ory Zik is an award-winning physicist with deep entrepreneurial experience and a passion for protecting the environment. He currently serves as the founding CEO of Greenometry – a global non-profit catalyzing the transition to a low-carbon economy through a unifying metric rooted in data and science. Prior to Greenometry, Dr. Zik served as the Vice President of Analytics Lux Research, where he built analytical solutions for innovation and supply chain sustainability. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Center for Health and Global Environment at The Harvard School of Public Health.

Advisor | Statistics and Data Sciences

Dr. Singdhansu Chatterjee

As an Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Chatterjee has multiple scientific publications in theoretical and applied statistics as well as climate change and weather extremes. Dr. Chatterjee has also served as a lecturer at the University of Manchester and is a member of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics at the American Mathematical Society.

Advisor | Marketing & Go-to-Market Strategy

Edward Madonogorere

Edward Madongorere is the CEO and Co-founder of MOON Selfie, a consumer mobile accessory brand. A jack of many trades, Edward went from a career in Marketing at Comcast, Developed E-Learning programs and pioneered the video email marketing process at Cisco to designer & project manager at Affectiva. As a talented UX/UI design and cinematographer he would found Edemanté Design & Film where he produced stunning ads and content for clients. His work has appeared on CNN, Fox, CBS, MTV and more. Edward also sits on the Advisory board of multiple technology companies. With a magnetic personality and love for people, he encourages others to pursue their dreams and overcome challenges. “Connecting with people, creating new and unforgettable memories is what it’s all about.” MOON was born out a need to connect and share.

Advisor | US Municipal Sector

Thomas G. Doe

Mr. Doe is President of Municipal Market Analytics, Inc. (MMA) which acquired Municipal Market Advisors in 2014. Mr. Doe founded and served as the CEO of Municipal Market Advisors, the leading independent research firm in the municipal industry, from its inception in 1995. His contribution to the municipal industry has been extensive as an analyst, strategist and visionary of the industry’s future. His perspective has been sought after by the leading organizations and institutions and his independence, and that of his firm, has resulted in appearances before Congress and financial regulators to help inform them of the dynamics, issues and challenges in the municipal market and financing public infrastructure.

Advisor | Software Development

Sam Zimmerman

Sam Zimmerman is currently the CTO and co-founder of Freebird, a Boston-based fintech company. Since 2011, Sam has worked in the commercial application of machine-learning algorithms with particular focus in financial risk modeling. Prior to Freebird Sam worked as a quantitative risk analyst in the currency markets and as a team lead automating a large-scale spend classification problem for an energy intelligence company. Previously Sam worked on a grant at the MacArthur award winning Tenenbaum Lab were he researched extending decision theory using advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Sam is a graduate of Duke University. In his spare time, Sam enjoys running, wrestling, animals, philosophy, and eviction research.

Advisor | Energy & Agriculture

Shyam Boriah

Shyam Boriah is a machine learning expert with over fifteen years of experience in the field. Dr. Boriah has help build out machine learning-based SaaS platforms for startups in the industrial, energy, and agriculture sectors. He has also served as a consultant to companies in the insurance and real estate sectors, as well as the government. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, where he conducted fundamental research in theoretical and applied machine learning. Dr. Boriah has particular expertise in geospatial and time series analysis. He holds three US and international patents, and has authored/co-authored over twenty-five peer-reviewed research papers.