Continue to Main Content

Lighting Up Big Ideas

Photo of the Advanced Photon Source (Source: Advanced Photon Source)

My father was a scientist, one who spearheaded the development of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Lab, which provides extremely bright X-ray beams to researchers from around the world. The facility has enabled scientists of all types to study and build solutions for global questions and problems. In fact, APS was recently used by Pfizer to develop its COVID-19 antiviral treatment.

I acutely remember the day in 1995 when the first x-ray beam was produced at APS. I watched the video recordings of my father and his teammates jumping in jubilation. 12 years of tireless work to get to this point had just paid off. They had succeeding in building the conditions for future scientists to achieve their own goals. This early exposure to thinking big, working intensely to get to that giant vision to serve others, and seeing the satisfying outcome forever shaped me.

With this context, it isn’t surprising that I put all of my energy into Embarc Collective, which like APS, supports builders of solutions for big challenges. For me, my work is a way to keep the memory of my father and his passion to support others alive.

In our work at Embarc Collective, we get to witness 110 startups all thinking big. The solutions being built here will remove inefficiencies within a multitude of industries and will challenge the status quo in so many different ways. Startups can get support from coaches, learn from each other at our startup hub, and be motivated by each other’s big visions at Embarc Collective.

When we got started, Embarc Collective was seen as a big vision. It was only when we reached 100 startups at Embarc Collective earlier this year did I start to accept what this team had built is real and is delivering against the vision.

Thanksgiving falls near the anniversary of my father’s passing (it will be 4 years this year). And while I wish he were still here to see what he inspired, I am grateful that 110 companies get to experience it each day.

Happy Thanksgiving,


CEO at Embarc Collective Tampa Bay
Lakshmi Shenoy