The following content is created in consultation with Volvo. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC BAY AREA's editorial staff. To learn more about the Volvo X60, click here.

Every great idea starts somewhere. And many times, that ‘somewhere’ is California. Whether it’s the high-tech ventures of Silicon Valley or the media kingdom in Los Angeles, there’s no denying that the state is buzzing with some of the world’s most bold and innovative ideas. We found some of California’s hottest, up-and-coming change-makers—people who are daring to think differently and forging new paths in a variety of industries, from agriculture to fashion.

Like these thought-leaders, Volvo is driving change and embracing the future. Whether it’s removing single-use plastics in all offices or including an electric motor in every vehicle sold by 2019, Volvo is at the forefront of environmental change with their new, global Sustainability Program Omtanke. A Swedish word meaning “care,” Omtanke is at the foundation of everything the company does, from the way vehicles are manufactured—Volvo has committed to having climate neutral operations by 2025—to how employees are treated, to a vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo, the company is dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive work culture, plus a fleet of even safer vehicles. Volvo cares, and is making bold, ambitious strides for a better tomorrow. 

You can see more of this futuristic thinking at work in the brand new, award winning Volvo XC60, too. Named 2018’s World Car of the Year, the XC60 is a sleek, Scandinavian-designed SUV boasting intuitive tech (digital driver display; advanced voice control), an uncluttered layout blending form and function (panoramic roof; ergonomic seats, both of which come standard), class-leading safety features (like City Safety, which uses radar and camera technology to spot potential danger), and a sound system we adore (enjoy an integrated Spotify app and crisp, Bowers & Wilkins speakers). Once again, Volvo offers a progressive vehicle with quality design and thoughtful luxury. It’s tomorrow’s car, today.

James Rogers
CEO and Founder, Apeel Sciences
James Rogers has some fresh ideas about sustainable agriculture. His company Apeel Sciences is making groundbreaking efforts to reduce global food waste. They’ve created plant-based technologies that essentially increase the longevity of crops and produce. This is done using an edible product that is sprayed onto fruits and vegetables, which then shields the produce from water loss and oxidation. Kind of like an invisible armor. In other words, your favorite fruits and vegetables can now live longer and taste better.

Keller Rinaudo
CEO and Co-Founder, Zipline International Inc.
Keller Rinaudo is in the business of saving lives. His company Zipline International builds drones used to deliver medical supplies to remote areas that are inaccessible, often due to challenging geography or poor infrastructure. For Rinaudo, no mountain is too high, no valley is too low—Zipline’s drones are able to reach people that are unreachable. Claiming to be the fastest drone delivery service in the world, Zipline is able to provide hospitals and clinics with critical supplies, including blood and vaccines, on-demand. Right now the company is primarily serving Rwanda, and it hopes to expand to Tanzania this year.

Hans Gangeskar, Edvard Engesaeth
CEO and Co-Founders, Nurx
Hans Gangeskar and Edvard Engesaeth want to make it easier to get birth control. No doctor’s visits, no waiting in line at the pharmacy. With their app Nurx, which has been called the ‘Uber of birth control,’ users can get birth control delivered right to their doors, with just a few easy steps. You enter your information in the app, which is then reviewed by a doctor. And soon enough, your prescription is delivered to you. These thought-leaders are tackling an incredibly politicized issue and empowering women across the country, especially those in ‘contraceptive deserts.’ As of now, Nurx is available in multiple states, including California, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Texas.

Uma Valeti
CEO and Co-Founder, Memphis Meats
Meatless meat—it’s a revolutionary concept that’s taking the food tech industry by storm. Cardiologist Uma Valeti is leading this space with his company Memphis Meats. Founded in 2015, the company harvests animal cells and cultivates them into meat. Despite the health and environmental concerns surrounding red meat, it hasn’t been easy for people to change their habits. Rather than making a ‘meat alternative,’ Valeti is changing the game by producing actual meat—just in a lab instead of a farm. Memphis Meats has received funding from well-known investors, including Bill Gates and Jack Welch. Even Tyson took a bite—the corporation invested in Memphis Meats in late January.

Nicole Eagan, Poppy Gustafsson
CEOs of Darktrace
The threat of cyber-attacks is all too real for modern companies, but Nicole Eagan and Poppy Gustafsson have been leading the charge to protect and defend. Their company, Darktrace, was one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to cyber-defense. Since its founding in 2013, Darktrace has been working to detect and respond to various cyber-threats using machine learning and A.I. algorithms. Instead of just anticipating what a potential attack would look like, the Darktrace platform works by becoming ingrained in a company’s network; as a result, it is able to identify behaviors that are normal and behaviors that are not. It’s security that’s smarter. Darktrace’s clientele number is in the thousands, including DirectTV, Zappos, and the NHL's Players Association.

Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Roth Martin
Co-Founders, Rothy’s
Saving the environment, one shoe at time. That’s what Stephen Hawhthornthwaite and Roth Martin are hoping to do with their innovative take on women’s footwear. The co-founders of Rothy’s discovered a way to create knitted shoes out of plastic water bottles, breaking barriers in style and sustainability. Using 3D knitting, the Rothy’s shoes are seamless and flexible, and even machine-washable, while the boxes they’re delivered in are vegan and biodegradable, giving consumers – and the planet -- end-to-end sustainability (at least in the form of footwear). Rothy’s has repurposed nearly 12 million plastic water bottles up to date.

Innovation begins with bold ideas. To learn more about the Volvo XC60, click here

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