Neeka and Leila Mashouf were raised by the old-growth redwood forests and coasts of Northern California. Their family before them found refuge here after fleeing Iran in 1979, and told stories of how the walnut groves and sparkling shores reminded them of home. Neeka and Leila fell in love with trees and nature, the science of how they work, and the materials of which they are made -- both starting scientific research careers at age 15 and growing up to be scientists.
At the same time, the twin sisters grew up immersed in the artistic world of fashion through their family’s brand, Bebe Stores. They spent summers learning from merchants, designers, production experts, and manufacturers, magnetized by the beauty of fashion then later devastated by the environmental impact.
Their unique upbringing inspired them to use science and invention to take action across the manufacturing industry to fight the destruction of our clean air, water, climate, arable land, and biodiverse ecosystems. They started Rubi in 2021 after inventing and prototyping the technology in a public biohacking lab, leveraging their deep scientific expertise in materials engineering and bioengineering.