Richard T. Halvorson
co-founder & ceo
Rich is the co-founder and ceo of Synergy Fuels, with a focus on identifying scale-ready technology and products, as well as world-class talent in engineering and automation.
He has led Synergy to complete successful acquisitions of key patent portfolios and derivative products fueling innovation in advanced energy, agriculture, and water technologies.
As a serial technology founder, innovator, and early stage investor, Rich is driven to seek out high-impact people and products.
From 2017 to 2019, he led the acquisition of the Alphabet Energy portfolio – in collaboration with the original PhD founders – from ARES Capital Corporation. Funded and proven by General Motors, the technology is the most-cited, most-awarded, and best capitalized approach to use thermoelectric products to turn waste heat into value in automotive, oil & gas, and industrial applications.
Prior to Synergy, Rich played a critical role in the launch of Surf Air, which became the first ever membership-based private airline. As an early investor and founding advisor, he built the core financial model, growth model, investment deck, aligned key strategic resources, and chose the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. In 2017, Surf Air acquired RISE a Texas-based private airline and the second-largest competitor in the category. In September 2020, Surf Air announced a $200 million new investment and IPO – less than ten years after the company began with a small team and two pilots in Rich’s living room.
As an early advisor, investor, or co-founder, he often takes an active strategic role to lead, develop, and grow teams, software, or products alongside founders – to include mining, blockchain, enterprise software, apps, and IoT platforms such as Pillar Technologies, Coral Health, and Blockmason.io. His first software company licensed technology and patents to Visa, Mastercard and Amex to support global rewards tracking. He has been an active mentor to the Thiel Foundation ‘20 Under 20’ program.
Before his technology career, Rich lived in Bogota, Colombia and served as a global affairs columnist for The Miami Herald. He was a history teacher and varsity soccer coach at an inner-city high school in Miami-Dade County. In his mid-twenties, he began a high-impact global charity providing tens of thousands of people with clean water, education, and micro-loans in more than 25 countries. After proving and growing the model, his core team and 501c3 entity were acquired by Compassion International, a relief charity based in Colorado Springs that gives $750 million per year to lift children out of extreme poverty.
Rich holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Government from Harvard University, where he served as an opinion columnist and editor for The Harvard Crimson, rowed on the crew team, and was named among the fifteen most interesting seniors. He wrote an honors thesis on global economic development under Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.