Coral Vita was founded by two environmental entrepreneurs driven to solve one of our planet's greatest challenges, working with a team of business, policy and scientific leaders that share our passion for protecting coral reefs.
Sam and Gator met at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where they both received Master of Environmental Management degrees. Together, they helped launch the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship Club and were awarded the university's first-ever Green Innovation Fellowship. Their graduate studies in Business & the Environment and their love for oceans inspired them to launch a company to solve global coral reef degradation.
As the Chief Operating Officer for ELI Africa, a Mauritius-based non-profit, Sam helped launch a successful 5,000 fragment coral-farming project in partnership with the Mauritius Oceanography Institute and with funding from the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility. During his time at ELI, he also created an endemic reforestation project, which was recognized with the 2013 Green Africa Awards' ‘Highly Commendable Award.' He interned for the White House Council on Environmental Quality's Climate Preparedness team, served as a fellow for the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA),- a coalition of island nations and their partners which strives to advance conservation and sustainable development- and is a member of the Reef Resilience Network, a global community of reef managers. Sam is an optimistic Washington DC sports fan, a rugby player, and a PADI Search & Rescue scuba diver.
While an undergraduate at Pomona College, Gator helped organize a fish-farming project in the Peruvian Amazon. His work on the project helped distribute millions of fingerlings (baby fish) to villages on three rivers, as well as assess the health and environmental effects of fish farming in the local communities. Gator has also worked on international development projects in Peru, Brazil, and South Africa prior to entering Masters program at Yale, and served as a fellow for the World Wildlife Fund Global Marine Program. Gator is an avid Liverpool FC fan, continues to emulate Steven Gerrard on the soccer pitch, and proudly hails from the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego, California.
Chief Science Officer
As Chief Science Officer, Stephen leads Coral Vita's restoration and research efforts. From a young age, Stephen began growing a wide variety of coral and sea creatures in aquariums. This fascination for the ocean led him to pursue an education in marine science. Upon completion of his Master’s degree in marine biology at Northeastern University, he accepted a position with the Hawai’i Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), where he was responsible for the buildout and operation of a new coral restoration nursery in Honolulu, Hawai’i - the first of its kind. He also worked in the aquarium trade, in both aquaculture and the design/installation of private aquaria throughout the USA. Originally from Southern California, Stephen is a passionate Los Angeles sports fan (Fight On Trojans), an avid runner/hiker, and a PADI Divemaster with a love for all aquatic ecosystems.
Coral Vita has received advice from two of the world's leading coral restoration scientists: Dr. David Vaughan and Dr. Ruth Gates. Dr. Vaughan is the Director of the Mote Marine Laboratory's Coral Restoration program and creator of the accelerated microfragmenting farming method. Dr. Gates is the Principal Investigator at the Gates Coral Lab and pioneer of the assisted evolution method to enhance coral resiliency.
The company is also being advised by environmental business leaders Peter Boyd and Andrew Perlman. Mr. Boyd was formerly the Launch Director & COO of the Carbon War Room, Senior Advisor & Climate Lead for the B Team, and CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa. He's now the Founder & CEO of Time4Good. Mr. Perlman is an investor and entrepreneur who has co-founded nine venture-backed companies in the water, energy, telecom, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology industries. He's now a Partner at GreatPoint Ventures. Additionally, we are advised by Will Hovey, a Founder and Partner at GreyHawk Capital.