Yale SOM Entrepreneurs: Arix Technologies

Before coming to Yale SOM, Dianna Liu ’18 worked at Exxon-Mobil as an engineer. In the company’s refineries, she saw the impact that corrosion has on its business. On a global scale, corrosion subtracts about 3% from GDP—and the affected industries don’t have an answer for it. But Liu  thought she could figure one out.

Liu is the founder of Arix Technologies, a startup working to build pipe-crawling robots that can detect corrosion—first in oil and gas refineries and eventually in other industrial contexts. Better identification of problem areas would allow companies to mitigate the impact of corrosion, potentially saving not just money but also improving employee health and reducing negative impacts on the environment. 

At Yale, Liu found a vibrant entrepreneurial community committed to giving founders help and support. She also found engineers to help design the technology and machine shop space to build and test prototypes. That combination, she said, helped her quickly reach the point where she’s talking to major oil and gas companies about testing the robots in their facilities. 

“To be honest, I initially was thinking, ‘Why don’t I just do this myself without business school,’” she said, adding that a big reason she chose SOM was its integration into the greater Yale community. “I’m so glad I came here.”