For Innovation: Dianna Liu ’18 MBA

Dianna Liu ’18 MBA founded a company to help bring the energy industry into the 21st century

Dianna Liu ’18 MBA
Dianna Liu ’18 MBA
Dianna Liu ’18 MBA
Dianna Liu ’18 MBA

While working as an engineer in the energy industry, Dianna Liu ’18 MBA noticed a problem. Millions of miles of pipes carrying petroleum products serve as the foundational infrastructure for the American energy, chemicals, utilities, and manufacturing sectors. But these pipes are regularly weakened by corrosion, which can lead to chemical spills and create serious danger for workers.   

“It was personal to me,” Liu says. “My husband and so many of our closest friends work in this industry, and I wanted to do what I could to make their jobs safer.”

Along with safety and environmental concerns, corrosion can lead to substantial economic repercussions. According to a study by NACE International, the annual global cost of corrosion is estimated to be $2.5 trillion, or 3.4% of the global GDP.

While energy companies currently send in human inspectors to check for corrosion, Liu believed that robots could crawl over pipes and detect it more safely and efficiently. The technology just hadn’t been invented yet.

“Industrial companies are very focused on fixing this problem,” Liu says. “They don’t want their people out there getting hurt, and they don’t want their product to leak out into the ecosystem, causing environmental harm and significant profit loss.”

Liu brought her idea to Yale School of Management (SOM), where she joined a thriving entrepreneurial community, met engineers to help create the technology, and connected with investors to support her business.

While at Yale SOM, she received the Henry F. McCance Entrepreneurial Award (2017 & 2018) and the Conley Brooks ’44 Family Scholarship (2017 & 2018).

“That scholarship made such a difference in my ability to start ARIX Technologies,” Liu says. “I was able to not take a paycheck for two years and then make essentially minimum wage for a couple more as I got my business off the ground. And every award we won went straight back into the company.”

In the years since, ARIX Technologies has grown and is infused with the values and lessons Liu learned at Yale SOM.

“I care so much about the culture at our company and about making a difference in the world,” Liu says. “I loved that at Yale SOM, social impact was so deeply embedded into everything we learned.”

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