Max Nova Speaks at Alma Mater


On Saturday, October 15th, Max Nova, co-founder of SilviaTerra and YC ‘12 presented in the CEID about his experience in the start-up world, both when he was at Yale and since graduation. Nova, whose company uses satellite imagery and statistics to more accurately and cheaply take inventory of forests, shared insight and advice from his time as a Yale undergraduate, highlighting the symbiosis he found with his co-founder and then graduate student, Zac Parisa, as crucial to the company’s success.

Nova explained the basics of SilviaTerra’s methods , which resonated for his undergraduate audience, many of whom were in computer science. “Using satellite imaging along with other available data, like soil samples or geographical information, to predict how the forests would fare each year was pretty cool.” said Julia Wei, SM ‘19.

Nova also recounted how the pair found success by prioritizing product sales over large fundraising efforts and advised the audience to focus their startup efforts on real issues in today’s world. He highlighted current global problems and challenged students to address these, rather than college student-specific products. Students found Nova’s talk engaging and informative. Some are hoping to launch their own companies, while others were more curious about SilviaTerra in particular. “I’m interested in seeing how SilviaTerra gains greater access to data as their operations expand.” said Wei.

Nova is the first Yale Entrepreneur Society speaker of the school year. Learn more at To learn more about SilviaTerra, check out

Allie Forman

Allie is a sophomore in Silliman and a chemistry major interested in the intersection of human and environmental health. She's involved with the Yale Undergraduate Mindfulness Education Project, a group that teaches mindfulness to New Haven students. Her ideal day would involve going for a long run and curling with a good book, a bottomless cup of tea, and many oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

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