Greenstart is a cleantech accelerator program providing a fast runway to success for entrepreneurs addressing the energy challenge. Greenstart provides seed funding, mentoring, and connections with fellow entrepreneurs and investors in order to give startups an advantage in launching the cleantech ideas of tomorrow. The company is based in San Francisco.
Greenstart produces weekly videos showing the action from inside the accelerator program.
WEEK 3 AT GREENSTART
This week featured some heavy-hitters from the Greenstart Mentor pool; two top seed-stage cleantech Venture Capitalists, Susan Preston, Jim Matheson, serial founder/CEO Jamie Siminoff., and Toniic Impact Investor Network founder and CEO Morgan Simon.
Susan Preston, Parter at CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, is one of the leading early stage Investors in the clean energy space. She has led CalCEF to invest in over 40 cleantech companies in the last decade. Susan shared her experiences working with dozens of early stage cleantech companies.
Her phrase “perfectly schizophrenic” stood out; founders need to be bullish yet coachable, driven yet able to pivot many times as they build their company. Susan pointed to the need for expert and strategic mentors to provide critical feedback at the many key decision points in a startup’s life.
Jim Matheson, General Partner at Flagship Ventures, echoed Susan’s perspective, discussing the value of “ecosystem” to the entrepreneur. Because a startup faces so many obstacles, unknowns and threats, including unique challenges in the cleantech space, having a robust ecosystem of supporters is critical. By leveraging mentors, advisors, and supporters, startups are able to work towards mitigating technical, team and market risk.
Jim has built a unique ecosystem-approach into the Flagship Ventures model. Flagship operates as a normal VC firm but also provides physical lab/office space, in-depth mentorship, and strategic support to Flagship’s portfolio companies. Now 10 years old, Flagship Ventures is a compelling success story that Greenstart can learn from as we continue building our ecosystem of support for our startups.
Jamie Siminoff, Founder and CEO of Unsubscribe.com and serial entrepreneur, focused his discussion on early-stage pivoting within a startup. One of the Greenstart founders told Jamie that he was looking to go from “0-60”, and Jamie in turn recommended that he focus on going from “0-2” (mph).
By focusing on the very simplest aspect of the user experience from the first moment they interact with your product, Jamie described how you can learn the most valuable information to shape and reformulate your offering.
Morgan Simon also stopped by Greenstart this week - Morgan is founder and CEO of Toniic, the most active global impact-investing network. Toniic's investors have committed to putting $100M of capital to work in global social enterprise, including cleantech. Morgan stopped by to meet the Greenstart startups, and sit in on a mentoring session.