Mike Francis ’06 has a passion for entrepreneurship that burns bright. Whether he’s working to improve lives with his fireproofing technology or encouraging Aggies to kindle their own ideas, the innovator is applying the lessons he learned at Texas A&M to make a difference.
In his current role as the CEO and co-founder of NanoTech, Francis is working to preserve at-risk infrastructure and protect the public with his company’s technology, Nano Shield, a molecule that strengthens materials to withstand temperatures of more than 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit and has the highest rating for heat emittance. It also has one of the lowest thermal conductivities in the world, meaning that it is highly heat resistant. As wildfire season approaches for America’s West Coast, Francis wants to use these fireproofing and thermally insulating properties to fireproof California’s infrastructure, from wineries and vineyards to utility pole infrastructure.
Francis’ Aggie entrepreneurship journey began as a child when he heard stories about Texas A&M University from his grandfather, Albert Kageler ’45, who appears in the center of the famous Corregidor Muster photo. When he was applying to college, he only had one school in mind. “It was Texas A&M or nothing,” he said. After completing his bachelor’s in business administration, Francis was hired by another Aggie and worked for a few Fortune 500 companies for nine years.
Launching and leading programs across various corporations sparked a passion for innovation, development and entrepreneurship. But it wasn’t until his wife, Laura ’06, encouraged him to go for it that he quit his stable job at Halliburton to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. Shortly after, he started Verisei International, a consulting firm. He then founded Hop Drop, a craft beer delivery company, with Minahil Halim ’06, and Village Insights, a software program that connects innovators to each other, including those with the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.