He remembers listening to scientists talk about the damage caused by what’s now recorded as the largest marine oil spill of the petroleum industry, and emphasize how important these next few decades would be for the future of our planet. Thus, Miller’s interest in sustainability was born.
A little over a decade after the oil spill, Miller is the cofounder of South Side-based Green Bean, a platform designed to provide employers with benefits for employees who make energy-related purchases.
“Our goal is to deploy clean energy as soon as possible, using the employer as the mechanism to do that,” Miller told Technical.ly. “And the great thing about it is that it also has a lot of positives for the employer.”
If an employee buys solar panels, efficient HVAC systems, heat pumps or an electric vehicle, and if their employer is using Green Bean, those employees get stipends, discounts, and other forms of support in return. The employer benefits by attracting and retaining sustainability-minded workers. Companies pay a monthly fee for using the Green Bean platform.
Miller said it was important to both him and his c0founder, Wilson Morse, to create an entity that steered clear of “greenwashing” and to provide people with an accessible approach to reducing their carbon footprint and combating climate change.
“We want to provide real, valuable educational value to our employee base,” he said.
Miller came to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After his 2022 graduation, the city seemed like a welcoming environment to grow a startup.
“It’s a really easy place to just get started, and people are so passionate to help you,” he said. “We’ve met so many awesome people in the Pittsburgh startup scene that have really guided us so far.”
Currently, the City of Pittsburgh is the first major client for the company: As a member of PGH Lab’s eighth cohort, Green Bean is getting 3,500 employees to test its platform. Miller said he and Morse wanted to participate in the Innovation & Performance department-run accelerator for the opportunity to work with city government to deploy green employee benefits, while gathering data simultaneously.
“It’s just such a gift to be able to work with an organization of that scale in our infancy,” Miller said.
Green Bean is still just a two-person operation, and the founders will be seeking to raise capital in 2023 to expand operations. And while the city employees will be the first users the platform has so far, Miller said the response they’ve gotten has been positive. Six months from now, when their time in the program is up, the plan is to use the data they’ve gathered to continue improving the product.
“We also want to expand,” Miller said. “We want to get our first 10 companies this year on board to the platform, and we want to just continue to shape our product in a way that makes sense.”Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
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