© Glac-UP
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About Glac-UP

  • Founders: Giovanni Cartapani, Pietro Cimenti, Gabriele Doppiu, Sara Signorelli.
  • Founded in: Milan, 2021
  • Employees: -
  • Money raised: -
  • Ultimate goal: Protecting as many glaciers as possible.

Four students from Bocconi University have founded the Italian company Glac-UP. The start-up gets people involved in covering up glaciers in the Alps during summer. It does this by raising money for buying and installing geotextile sheets. Gabriele Doppiu is one of the founders and told Innovation Origins all about it.

What does Glac-UP do?  

“Glac-UP gets people and companies involved in protecting alpine glaciers, by letting mountain lovers adopt a piece of them. Adopting a glacier means covering the costs for buying, laying down, and removing the geotextile sheets used to cover them during the summer months. As they are white, the sheets reflect sunlight which reduces the amount of ice that melts during summer. This solution means we can save up to 3.5 meters of the ice’s thickness each year. In the first site we are operating in – a soon-to-be-revealed glacier in Trentino – we partnered up with the consortium that manages the skiing facility. It takes care of the manpower and the tools, while we help them expand the area that is covered.” 

How did you come up with this idea? 

“We came up with this idea a year ago during a university course. We were asked to design a plan for a start-up dealing with sustainability. Using this input, we kept working on this idea during other courses of the master’s program, and challenged the idea that we had. After receiving positive feedback – and considering our interest in the problem – we decided to start working on this project. Before we founded the company, we had to understand if the problem was really being seen. Which is why we validated our idea using a scientific questionnaire. Then we approached the first consortium who were managing a glacier. When we noticed their interest in our idea, we founded the company. We signed our first contract which enabled us to start protecting our first glacier shortly afterwards.” 

What is the biggest challenge you are facing? 

“Everyday presents us with new challenges. The process itself is the main one, the main challenge here is digesting both positive and negative feedback. It feels like being on a rollercoaster, with ups and downs every day. After the first news stories about Glac-UP, a lot of people reached out to us, either supporting the project or pointing out some aspects that needed to be perfected. Making the most of every interaction we have helps us in refining our idea, bearing in mind our mission: Getting people and companies involved in protecting glaciers.” 

What’s next? What is Glac-UP’s future going to be like? 

“Maximizing our impact on the first glacier is our short-term goal. Part of the glacier was covered over in the past few years, so we want to increase the protected area. Then we’d like to go to as many other potential locations as we can as quickly as possible. To do that, we need stakeholders to embrace our mission. Some partners expressed interest in the project and are willing to work with us.” 

In the picture: Glac-UP’s founders
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