169 episodes

Welcome to the CleanTechies Podcast where we interview ClimateTech Founders and VCs to share their advice and journeys with other Founders and VCs with the goal of helping others succeed. ----- Support the show more directly via our Substack where we also publish writing on the episodes we record. https://cleantechies.substack.com/subscribe -----To get involved in the CleanTech revolution, suggest topics/guests, or discuss in more detail any of these topics, join our Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/ysb8fwu3 ----- Interested in Advertising: info@cleantechiespod.com -----Silas is a ClimateTech and ESG headhunter. He grew up in a very anti-climate-change part of the country in rural Wisconsin. When he got out on his own he realized the incredible benefits of climate technologies in addition to the realities of Climate Change. He then launched CleanTechies in 2021 to help raise awareness of the various benefits of climate technology. Somil is a product manager at the Schmidt Futures Foundation. Born on Earth Day, he somehow got it into his head that he wanted to be a “ClimateTech VC” when he was 14. Since then, he has spent time running his own impact newsletter, investing at an early-stage VC firm, and founded an AgTech company called Agcess. He joined the CleanTechies podcast in 2023 as co-host to double down on its mission of spreading ClimateTech awareness in the world. 

CleanTechies Podcast Silas Mähner (Climate Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (Climate PM & VC)

    • Technology
    • 4.9 • 30 Ratings

Welcome to the CleanTechies Podcast where we interview ClimateTech Founders and VCs to share their advice and journeys with other Founders and VCs with the goal of helping others succeed. ----- Support the show more directly via our Substack where we also publish writing on the episodes we record. https://cleantechies.substack.com/subscribe -----To get involved in the CleanTech revolution, suggest topics/guests, or discuss in more detail any of these topics, join our Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/ysb8fwu3 ----- Interested in Advertising: info@cleantechiespod.com -----Silas is a ClimateTech and ESG headhunter. He grew up in a very anti-climate-change part of the country in rural Wisconsin. When he got out on his own he realized the incredible benefits of climate technologies in addition to the realities of Climate Change. He then launched CleanTechies in 2021 to help raise awareness of the various benefits of climate technology. Somil is a product manager at the Schmidt Futures Foundation. Born on Earth Day, he somehow got it into his head that he wanted to be a “ClimateTech VC” when he was 14. Since then, he has spent time running his own impact newsletter, investing at an early-stage VC firm, and founded an AgTech company called Agcess. He joined the CleanTechies podcast in 2023 as co-host to double down on its mission of spreading ClimateTech awareness in the world. 

    #170 Computer Vision x AgTech, Precision Spraying, Herbicide Usage, & More w/ Tom Gauthier (AgTechLogic)

    #170 Computer Vision x AgTech, Precision Spraying, Herbicide Usage, & More w/ Tom Gauthier (AgTechLogic)

    Each year, about 1 billion pounds of chemicals are sprayed on crops in the US alone - globally, that number is around 5.6 billion.

    Our guest today is AgTechLogic, and they are solving this problem.

    They do this by helping Farmers retrofit their existing machinery with precision sprayers that use computer vision to identify weeds and spray only on the weeds in a concentrated way that kills the weeds and won't overlap with the crops.

    Today, nearly all farmers use broadcast spraying, or spraying everything. By implementing this tech, farmers can save a lot of money and produce healthier produce.

    Let's get into it. 🌱🌎

    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel

    -----
    Topics:
    **1:13 Introduction and Overview
    **1:43 Reducing Chemical Overuse in Agriculture
    **7:36 Validation and Early Discoveries
    **11:11 Market Research and Initial Trials
    **15:37 Concerns about Herbicide Usage
    **20:34Case Studies and Cost Savings
    **24:04 Objections and Early Adoption
    **24:57 Reducing Water Usage and Regrowth
    **26:09 Building Trust and Landing the First Pilot
    **28:54 Entrepreneurship Later in Career
    **32:07 Collecting New Data
    **35:40 IP and Moat
    **37:38 Funding Journey
    **41:03 Responsible Growth
    **42:55 Future Plans and Getting the Message Out
    **45:48 Reaching Out and Educating Farmers
    **47:54 Takeaways

    -----
    Links:
    **Tom Gauthier | AgTechLogic
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 50 min
    #169 Urban Mining, Solar Panel Lifespan, End of Life Engineering, & More w/ Adam Saghei (WeRecycleSolar)

    #169 Urban Mining, Solar Panel Lifespan, End of Life Engineering, & More w/ Adam Saghei (WeRecycleSolar)

    Are you curious about what happens to solar panels when they are no longer usable? Maybe your crazy uncle's statements from last Thanksgiving about how solar doesn't work are still echoing.

    Well, look no further. Today, we are speaking with Adam Saghei, Founder of WeRecycleSolar, and we are discussing the end of life for solar panels.

    How circular can we make the supply chain? What can OEMs learn about their products' end-of-life? What is the REAL lifespan of a solar panel? How is this reality affecting investor returns? How are solar panels being refurbished and resold? And how are investors getting early upgrades to make a higher return despite the additional capex?

    Let's get into it. 🌱🌎

    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel

    -----
    Topics:
    **01:34 Intro and Background
    **03:15 The Problem of End-of-Life Solar Panels
    **08:52 Financial Implications of Shorter Lifespan
    **13:33 Recycling and Refurbishing Panels
    **16:21 Reusing Materials in the Supply Chain
    **21:06 Origins of We Recycle Solar
    **23:29 Introduction to Returns Management Programs
    **24:28 Starting the Refurbishing and Recycling Process
    **25:32 Pivoting to a New Business Model
    **26:44 Entrepreneurial Mindset and Taking Risks
    **28:14 Scaling the Business and Future Growth
    **30:51 Technology and Innovation in Recycling Processes
    **31:38 Intellectual Property and Strategic Components
    **32:34 Business Model and Potential Partnerships
    **35:54 Current Scale and Future Goals
    **38:24 Roadblocks and Challenges
    **39:15 Funding and Bootstrapping the Business
    **40:54 Acquiring Talent and Building Culture
    **43:38 Supporting the Future of the Industry
    **49:29 Takeaways

    -----
    Links:
    **Adam Saghei | WeRecycleSolar
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 53 min
    #168 Advice for Project Finance, AI x Climate, CleanTech 1.0, Late Stage Investing, & More w/ Mike Jackson (Earthshot Ventures)

    #168 Advice for Project Finance, AI x Climate, CleanTech 1.0, Late Stage Investing, & More w/ Mike Jackson (Earthshot Ventures)

    In this episode, I sit down with Mike Jackson, Managing Partner at Earthshot Ventures. Earthshot Ventures calls themselves carbon generalists and invest from Seed to Series B. They mainly invest in software and “stepchange” hardware with a preference to double down on existing portfolio companies.

    Mike’s story is great because of how intentional he has excelled at every stage and in multiple sides of building in climate. He is a successful founder from cleantech 1.0, a rockstar investing even before earthshot, experienced in project finance, and now investing in a collaborative way that is pushing the whole climatetech industry forward.

    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox | https://cleantechies.substack.com/podcast
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/mwkn8zk5

    -----
    Topics:
    **06:49 Journey from Childhood to Leading a Climate Fund
    **12:54 Lessons from Cleantech 1.0
    **15:54 Preparing for Project Finance
    **25:13 Importance of Business Models
    **32:35 Rising at the Westly Group
    **34:37 Building a Complementary Team
    **39:48 Why Earthshot is a "Network Fund"
    **43:14 Investing Earlier in ClimateTech
    **45:02 AI and its Impact on Climate
    **48:31 Attracting Capital from Generalist Investors
    **49:50 Advice for VCs 
    -----
    Links:
    **Mike Jackson | Earthshot Ventures
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 52 min
    #167 Urban Charging, Electrifying Cities, Pilots & Partnerships, & More w/ Tiya Gordon (It's Electric)

    #167 Urban Charging, Electrifying Cities, Pilots & Partnerships, & More w/ Tiya Gordon (It's Electric)

    In this episode, we actually have a bit of a flashback for you – I sit down to chat with Tiya Gordon, co-founder and COO of It’s Electric, creating curbside EV charging specifically built for cities. 

    Before I even go into what we talk about, I’d like to shout out what Tiya has done in the few months since recording this episode in December:
    She was part of the Green Economy Action Plan, a landmark green jobs plan for NYCHas appeared on NPR,Was awarded the 2023 Top 10 Innovator award for Transportation Electrification by Darcy Partners, Was featured in Forbes, Spoke at Davos, Received a  $1.5M award from the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation enabling cities to deploy our innovative and community centered model of public charging. And just last week, she announced that It’s Electric has created the first UL certified detachable cable charger That’s not mentioning all the recognitions they collected in 2023 but I’ll leave you all to read about those on your own. Tiya and I have met a few times in a few different context, but it was a real pleasure being able to do this with her and tbh I think we’re already due for a part two.

    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox | https://cleantechies.substack.com/podcast
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/mwkn8zk5

    -----
    Topics:
    **03:03 It's Electric Origin Story
    **07:01 What does It's Electric do
    **11:31 What it's like Working with Cities
    **15:10 What she Learned From Working with Municipalities
    **31:04 NYCW
    **37:10 Building the Team
    **40:52 Having a "Non-Traditional" Background in ClimateTech
    **45:43 Advice for Founders
    **50:07 Note to Audience

    -----
    Links:
    **Tiya Gordon | It’s Electric
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 50 min
    #166 Hybrids & EVs, Alternative Fuels, Technology Maturity, Diverse Teams & More w/ Logan Grizzel (MUUS Climate Partners)

    #166 Hybrids & EVs, Alternative Fuels, Technology Maturity, Diverse Teams & More w/ Logan Grizzel (MUUS Climate Partners)

    In this episode, Somil chats with Logan Grizzel, partner at MUUS Climate Partners, the climate tech venture capital arm of MUUS & Co. investing at the convergence of decarbonization and technological innovation.
    This episode probably broke the quotable clip record we have – Logan was a great mix of knowing how to communicate his thoughts and genuinely having such unique insight having worked on alternative fuels at Toyota, then going into grid strategy and now spending time as a Climate VC, previously at Blackhorn Ventures and now MUUS Climate Partners.

    In this episode we talk about the challenge with timeframes of venture funds in climate, his perspective on nuclear fusion, alternative fuels at Toyota, centralized vs. decentralized grids, the nuances of hardware, the climate tech scene in Denver, how they got such a diverse team, & more.

    Anyways, thanks so much for listening and enjoy the episode!
    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox | https://cleantechies.substack.com/podcast
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/mwkn8zk5

    -----
    Topics:
    **03:11 Herd Mentality in Climate VC
    **09:26 Logan's Experience at Toyota
    **13:34 The Significance of the Prius
    **17:06 Nearshoring and Onshoring 
    **21:34 The Mismatch in Hydrogen Supply and Demand
    **24:39 Decentralized vs Centralized Approaches to the Grid
    **28:04 Timing and Assessing Technology Maturity
    **29:25 Assessing Founder Adaptability
    **30:29 Dreaming Too Big or Small in Entrepreneurship
    **42:16 Denver Climate Scene
    **48:12 Lessons from Blackhorn Ventures
    **49:34 Diversity in Team Building
    **58:58 Advice to VCs
    **01:01:53 Takeaways
    -----
    Links:
    **Logan Grizzel | MUUS Climate Partners
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 6 min
    #165 Iterating Hardware, Productizing Solar Procurement, Efficiency Mindset, & More w/ Mike Hall (Anza)

    #165 Iterating Hardware, Productizing Solar Procurement, Efficiency Mindset, & More w/ Mike Hall (Anza)

    What happens when successful CleanTech 1.0 founders step up to the plate again? Anza happens and it's magical.

    Today, Somil & Silas are interviewing Mike Hall, a Co-Founder of Anza, a company they spun out of Borrego, his and his brother's first venture.

    At Borrego, they developed software to streamline and improve the way they chose which solar panels to use for projects. Realizing this was a problem for everyone, they spun it out in 2023 and were off to the races.

    Enjoy this episode with a legendary entrepreneur 🌱🌎

    ---
    🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
    ---

    🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
    📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube 
    🗣️ Take the Listeners Survey 
    📫 Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox | https://cleantechies.substack.com/podcast
    🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel | https://tinyurl.com/mwkn8zk5

    -----
    Topics:
    **2:20 The Problem with Solar Module Procurement
    **7:11 Value Beyond Price in Procurement
    **9:23 Working with Sellers
    **12:06 Trends in Solar Product Sales
    **15:38 The Journey of Starting ANZA
    **22:25 Transitioning from Borrego to ANZA
    **31:45 The Impact of Climate Legislation
    **37:24Underutilizing Technology and Data in the Industry
    **41:11 Advice for Founders in the Renewable Energy Space
    **43:02 The Benefits of Being a Second-Time Founder
    **44:46 The Journey to Becoming an Entrepreneur
    **47:39 Takeaways

    -----
    Links:
    **Mike Hall | Anza
    **Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
    **@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 
    Support the show

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

Sunil Kurien ,

Excellent

Great podcast with a lot of depth and nuance to it. Silas does a good job of asking the right questions.

Mary567890 ,

Very authentic

I love hearing about both the ups and downs. Very relatable.

smb1003 ,

Fascinating content in a digestible format

Silas unpacks a wide range of important topics in a friendly way with some fantastic guests! Check it out!

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