The Boston Globe Names Ascend Elements Co-Founders to Tech Power Players 50

Ascend Elements CTO and Co-founder Eric Gratz, Ph.D. and Co-founder Prof. Yan Wang of Worcester Polytechnic Institute were recognized among New England’s most influential tech leaders

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., (May 7, 2024) Ascend Elements co-founders Eric Gratz, Ph.D. and Yan Wang, Ph.D. have been named to the third annual Tech Power Players 50, a list of the most influential – and interesting – people in the New England technology scene, as ranked by The Boston Globe’s business journalists and an external advisory.

The Tech Power Players 50 recognizes leaders in software, cybersecurity, AI and robotics, climate tech, health tech, crypto, and beyond. The list examines their career impact on technology and business, taking into account their tech-specific contributions and innovations that have kept the sector vibrant in a challenging economic climate.

The advisory committee and the Globe’s newsroom also considered each leader’s activity in the Massachusetts tech community and the degree to which they are engaging with local efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“It is important to recognize the leaders of our innovation economy who are developing technologies that are transforming our world,” said Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media. “The Globe is committed to telling the story of this remarkable community and its incredible impact on our region and beyond through our everyday reporting and by recognizing the pioneers who are driving this innovation with this list.”

The Globe convened local leaders in business and technology to serve as advisors alongside the Globe’s newsroom. The committee and the Globe’s newsroom submitted over 200 nominations and scored candidates based on their business impact – in terms of value created, revenue, number of jobs – and their broader influence in the tech community – in terms of ideas, reputation, and mentorship. A few members of the committee were included on the list; these decisions were made by Globe staff alone.

“Boston is a leader in tech and innovation, and we’re seeing a lot of opportunity even in a challenging economy,” said Greg Huang, the Globe’s Business and Tech editor. “In our third year, we wanted the power players list to both stand alone and reflect broader trends in the industry, including the surging interest in fields like AI and climate tech.”

In addition to founding Ascend Elements, Gratz and Wang invented the company’s patented Hydro-to Cathode® direct precursor synthesis process, which eliminates several intermediary steps in the traditional cathode manufacturing process and provides significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.