Pepperdine Voice Magazine
Kevin Maloney Thinks Small to Make a Big Difference in Alternative Fuel Technology.
by Sarah Fisher
Kevin Maloney (MBA '02) knows that few can escape the pressure of rising fuel prices, but he's not making empty complaints about it. Through QuantumSphere, the company he cofounded in October 2002, Maloney is actually putting his money where his mouth is, and doing something to change how we may consume energy in the future.
"I've always been pretty passionate about the environment, but I was never a tree hugger," says Maloney. "Unfortunately when you have wars happening overseas and high oil prices, it accelerates the need for cleaner, alternative fuels."
Maloney actually has no firsthand experience as a scientist. He earned his bachelor's degree in social science from UC Irvine before moving to the financial industry, where he worked at Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (PIMCO) and First American while gaining his MBA at Pepperdine. Discussing nanotechnology and energy with scientists at a function one day, he realized there was a long-term need to find alternative energy sources.
Now QuantumSphere is developing ways to use solar energy to create hydrogen that will power electricity; the exhaust from that electricity is fresh water. It's an innovation that could ease dependence on oil. The company won the 2005 Frost & Sullivan Innovation of the Year Award for its patented metallic nanopower manufacturing process, and in 2007 won the Best of Small Tech Nanomaterial of the Year Award from Small Times magazine.
Based in Santa Ana, California, QuantumSphere now has the help of Maloney's friend and Pepperdine alum Patrick Deane (MBA '02), who joined the team in 2005 after catching on to Maloney's clean-energy buzz. Deane, who Maloney praises as an expert in people management, takes care of the team of 17, while Maloney, as CEO, is able to focus on the fundraising and marketing side of QuantumSphere. "Kevin gets scientists motivated and excited about green technology and clean energy," Deane says of his former classmate.
Maloney notes that the same technology they are using to create alternative energy sources can also be used to make better bombs and missiles, showing the diversity of QuantumSphere's innovative product. But he emphasizes that their mission is to "protect the planet," and the company is launching its first battery in January 2009. It is said to be five times more powerful than a standard alkaline battery.
Maloney is now looking to launch QuantumSphere as a large public company. "We're all about innovation," he says. "But I always say innovation without customers is nonsense. So we're focused on innovation that's going to drive stable revenue that can affect the planet in a positive way."
Deane agrees, saying that what they're really hoping to do is to change the world: 'That's what we're shooting for, as big as that sounds."