Pablo Sobron was recently interviewed in St. Louis Magazine about his tech startup, Impossible Sensing. Read on to discover his connection to Washington University and why he chose to found his company in St. Louis.
On February 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover made its historic descent toward Mars. On it were two data-gathering instruments developed by Sobron’s St. Louis–based company, Impossible Sensing. Sobron and his team design and develop sensors used to explore not only space but also the ocean and deep earth.
Sobron worked at NASA in early design but soon came to realize he could do what he was doing outside of the organization. Although he enjoyed working at NASA, the process was often bureaucratic and slow. So in 2016, he decided to go out on his own.
Why did Sobron choose to locate his company in St. Louis rather than a tech hub like Silicon Valley? According to Sobron, there are three main reasons: First, St. Louis has a rich history with space exploration: the spacecraft modules in which astronauts trained for traveling to the moon were built here, and what’s more, some of the best lunar and planetary scientists in the country are right here at Washington University. (Sobron did postdoctoral research at WashU between 2008-2011.) Second, Sobron notes in the interview that St. Louis’s low cost of living means less risk of going under if something goes wrong. His third reason is perhaps the most intriguing: Cherokee Street in South City, where Impossible Sensings is located, has a lively art scene: Sobron views what he and his team do as art. He savors the benefits of bouncing ideas off of artists in the area.