By Kelci Zile • May 31, 2023

Muir AI co-founders Harris Chalat and Peter Williams on why now and why climate

Harris Chalat and Peter Williams sat down with Madrona Venture Labs (MVL) to discuss the company and their journey from aerospace engineers to co-founders. Muir AI was the first sustainability investment for MVL. The company was recently featured on GeekWire in an article titled Amazon and SpaceX vets apply their AI and satellite skills to new carbon accounting startup and it published this case study on Using AI and Data Fusion to Determine Scope 3 Emissions.

Muir, defined

Muir AI is a data fusion solution that delivers data to understand emissions within corporations’ supply chains.

“We're generating the data necessary to understand the emissions within corporations' supply chains. This is where the majority of corporations emissions lie, 70, 80, 90%, but it is incredibly challenging for corporations today to appreciate where their emissions are and where they will be in the future,” Chalat said.

There has been a growing demand for more robust emission reporting and reduction commitments over the past decade – only increasing with new regulations and investor pressure.

Chalat and Williams’ co-founder origin story

Chalat and Williams have a unique origin story, having both studied aerospace engineering and played football at MIT. Post MIT, they went their separate ways. Chalat went on to work at SpaceX and Williams worked at Amazon, but both came to the conclusion that they should be working to solve the largest problem we are faced with today: climate change.

Although aerospace engineering and climate solutions sound different at face value, there are valuable synergies.

“From a higher level perspective, aerospace engineering is about solving hard problems and doing it efficiently, robustly, and reliably,” Williams said. “We see climate as being no different. We need solutions that scale, we need solutions that provide accurate information, we need solutions that result in real action by corporations, and at a high level we see the base ideas about solving these problems being similar.”

Working with MVL

MVL was invaluable to Chalat and Williams as technical founders. MVL probed on the difficult business decisions, such as business model, cost structure, and who and when to hire. Additionally, MVL pushed on the importance of the story and the pitch, to illustrate the problem their solution is alleviating.

Advice for other first-time founders

Both Chalat and Williams have come to realize just how many different roles need to be taken on to start a company. Founders constantly face diverse and new tasks that they need to be comfortable tackling. It is important to embrace ambiguity, there are a lot of questions that don’t have a clear right answer. 

They encourage anyone who has felt that desire to jump and start a company, to do so. The world needs more people who are willing to take the leap and address challenges in society.

What they’ve been reading

One of Williams’ favorite books recently has been “Probable Impossibilities” by Alan Lightman. The author is a physicist and professor, and the book brings a unique perspective to viewing the big picture, helping give context to where we are as humanity and the importance of using our time and making the best for the world while we live here.

Chalat has two, the first being Bill Gates’ book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” and the second being “The Fish That Ate the Whale.” The first gives a quantified perspective on climate change and the potential solutions we can build to address it. The second is a story that tells a story of an intrepid founder, and highlights the power and capability that one can have to change the world, but also the impact and consequences associated with that.

How the community can help

Muir is continually building out their network of people in the climate space, particularly those who recognize the challenges of supply chain emissions and are trying to address them. 

They are also continually growing their team, focused on those with a technical perspective, whether it be ML, data science, or software engineering.

Interested individuals can reach out to them at

Founder Spotlight is a series dedicated to bringing you insights into the founder journey, lessons learned from startup leaders, and a behind the scenes look at some of the most compelling tech companies in our community.

Recent stories

View more stories

Let’s start a company together

We are with our founders from day one, for the long run.

Start a company with us