More energy dense, faster charging batteries. Batteries, or any energy storage of all natures, are so critical to the ongoing energy and mobility transitions. One of the areas that doesn’t get much thought, but is so critical, is material science, the materials which enable bigger, better, faster, more efficient batteries. This week I speak to Francis Wang, CEO of Nanograf. From PhD to entrepreneur and CEO, he has a great story to tell, and some superb insights into both the startup entrepreneurial journey, and the whole battery industry. I hope you enjoy the episode.
About Francis Wang:
Francis serves as the Chief Executive Officer for NanoGraf Technologies, a leading advanced materials company in the energy storage space. He brings over 20 years of experience in technology innovation and commercialization in the energy storage and clean energy spaces. Prior to NanoGraf Technologies, Francis was a founder and Director of Energy Storage Center at the National Institute of Clean Energy in Beijing, China from 2010-2015. Francis’s experience in energy storage spans a range of magnitudes from very small (uW-mW) forms of storage for portable electronics and medical applications to very large (kW-MW) for transportation and the grid. He has held positions in some of the world’s largest battery, consumer products and energy companies, including Duracell, Proctor & Gamble, Gillette, Boston Scientific and the Shenhua Group. Francis received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author of over 45 US and International patents, over 20 scientific publications and a recipient of the National Thousand Talents award in Energy Storage.
NanoGraf is an advanced battery material start-up and spinout of Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory whose novel silicon-graphene anode battery material enables a quantum leap in lithium-ion battery energy and power density. NanoGraf’s patented battery material enables longer-lasting, higher-energy, and higher-power, lithium-ion batteries for electronics ranging from consumer electronics to electric vehicles to grid-scale energy storage.
- Francis Wang LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/francis-wang-3643273/
- Nanograf LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sinode-llc/
- Nanograf Twitter: https://twitter.com/NanoGrafTech
- Nanograf website: https://www.nanograf.com/
About Hyperion Executive Search:
Hyperion are a specialist executive search firm working with some of the most innovative cleantech companies in the world, helping to find extraordinary talent to enable their growth and success. Partnering with leading cleantech VCs, as well as directly with founders and entrepreneurs in the sector. With our clients we are transforming business and growing a strong and prosperous cleantech economy.
If you want to grow your team, or move forward your career, visit www.hyperionsearch.com, or email email@example.com
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, Ben Horowitz – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Thing-About-Things-Building/dp/0062273205
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David Hunt 0:31
Hello, I’m David Hunt, CEO and founder of Hyperion executive search and your host for the leafs in concept podcast. Firstly, apologies for the late start to the new year, I’ve been in the US supporting the launch of Hyperion in the US. As you would have seen and heard from our US guests, we’ve been placing strategic important hires and building teams for clients in us for some years now, actually. But after an 18 Month COVID delay, we’re finally able to build our own team on US soil. So if you are looking to hire or move on in your clean tech career in the US, please reach out to our head of North America, Robert Olson or myself, of course, still very much actively involved in supporting the team there and and the teams in Germany in the UK. But staying in the US back to the podcast. My guest this week is Francis Wang, CEO of nano graph. Nano graph is an advanced battery material startup and spin out of Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratories. They’re going through significant growth in terms of number numbers and technologies. So be great story. Francis has an interesting path to entrepreneurship, as many of our guests do a great pedigree in the battery space. So I hope you enjoyed the episode. Francis, Hello, welcome to the leading clean tech podcast.
Francis Wang 1:47
Why don’t David thanks for having me.
David Hunt 1:50
It’s great to have you here and just sharing beforehand that been in in Florida which is nice and warm and sunny. I’m back in the very cold UK and you’re in pretty chilly Chicago at the moment. Yeah,
Francis Wang 2:00
it’s about five degrees Fahrenheit outside right now. A winter wonderland here.
David Hunt 2:06
First thing to inside listening or making a podcast so. So thanks very much for joining us. I think one of the things that’s really fascinating in all of these episodes that I’ve done is the different journeys that people have taken to get to the point of being a CEO or a leader within a clean tech organisation. So maybe we could start a little bit of that backstory of how you came from your, your studies and various places you’ve been through to joining nonaggressive a number of years ago.
Francis Wang 2:34
Yeah, I guess a good place to start with the yeah, my educational background. So I’m a chemist by training and I did my PhD with with somebody actually in the UK. Claire grace, she’s at Cambridge University. And I finished my graduate degree in 1998. In terms of lithium ion battery history, or people that have changed the industry, a number of my colleagues were some of the inventors of things like NMC and, or anything, iron phosphate, all of which are, you know, impacting the electric have worked there for about eight years, you know, all long working on r&d Also beginning out battery production and all that goes along with that and from you know, the r&d space probably bigger do smaller our, you know, downstream to things like battery production, kava production and all that goes at and then after five years in the Midwest, I and move to China and Beijing for a Clean Energy Institute at the time, the Chinese government was keen on doing something about their environmental issues and so that has always been a passion of mine and I spent five years working there there were a number of Americans was actually a kind of a global effort there number of Nobel Prize winners etc. Part of that did that for 5% was director of an energy storage centre their focus on getting grid scale energy storage off the ground projects, commercialised etc. After about five years of working in Asia, and you know, experiencing all the bad that goes along with that, I decided that, you know, I really wanted to pursue being an entrepreneur, something that I dreamed about for a long time. You know, once I reached I felt it was kind of, you know, now or never sort of moment and, you know, the LEAP moved back to Chicago to a company. We’re now navigraph That instead of silicon, battery anode material it’s to spin out of Northwestern, essentially, you know, I’m sure our audience isn’t familiar with silicon anodes. But they are a hot topic have been for, you know, eight years now in terms of silicon anodes, probably will be the driver of, you know, increased performance, particularly around energy density for lithium ion batteries. And that’s important, obviously, for electric vehicles were injured xiety and things like that have been, you know, historically in issues. So I’ve been here for, gosh, almost coming on seven years now their CEO, and move to the CEO position about three years ago,
David Hunt 5:47
no, it’s far from unique, but it’s an interesting journey from academia to sort of now in the commercial environment through to then actually say yourself wanting to, to try out as an entrepreneur, but Were there particular factors of obviously, coming back to the US, I guess, was one factor in your mindset. But also, was there a particular draw? Is it was there something earlier in your career when you thought of being an entrepreneur, but you held off for a little while? What was the the appeal?
Francis Wang 6:13
Yeah, there were always I mean, for me, you know, I, like people like Steve Jobs. And then there were a tonne of men risk takers, who, you know, jumped in, at a big splash, obviously, and kind of move the needle, if you will. And then more lately, folks, like you, very inspirational folks, I had always wanted to take a little bit more control, there are a lot of barriers that have nothing to do with whether or not the technology works, or make money, etc. And, you know, I always wanted a little more control over that, coupled with the fact that, yeah, always dreamed and admired people that want to take that risk and, you know, essentially move the needle or change the world. Those are always things that I dreamed up. And so kind of reached a point in my career where, you know, added to that a little home set seemed like the right time.
David Hunt 7:11
Yeah, and prove to be so far. Yeah, it’s interesting in terms of, I think a lot of people in CEO positions, particularly in the sector, where we’re looking to move things forward, actually benefit from having come from a more corporate environment, that there’s another talk and we’ll move on to that in terms of cultures, and how sort of agile and, and semi chaotic startup environment can be, which is great. And you do have to be able to live and breathe in that environment. But I think when your customers, potentially our corporates or investors potentially will be a corporate understanding a little bit of that environment and some of the bureaucratic challenges or I should say, just the functional challenges of working in the larger organisation can be quite beneficial if you if you found that sort of stepping into an entrepreneur that’s been useful experience for you.
Francis Wang 7:56
Yeah, absolutely. I think working for big companies there. You know, I think what has been useful? One, one item is just just bringing processes to, you know, entrepreneurship, or startup companies can be chaotic, as you mentioned, and I think that’s one of the things that I’ve been able to, you know, instil Ephesus is the sense of process and become that they they’re fairly, I’ve had to learn a tonne. Honestly, I think the first year or so working at a startup was a bit of a shock to my system. Honestly, I think for about a year, I felt relatively useless in in terms of, you know, just being able to adapt, really did do that, and kind of, I think, arguably have given my or given my 10,000 hours and understand the entrepreneur word world and what it takes to be successful.
David Hunt 8:57
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s a good balance. I mean, you touched on already, the technology in silicon anodes, are, as you said, an incredibly important part. We’ve worked with a handful of companies that are in that that space. And it’s, I think what’s interesting is some people look at, certainly those outside of the sector potentially see the excitement around electric vehicles, which is fantastic. And lots of things and solar panels and things which are quite visual. But actually, the material science world I think, is fascinating. And some of these key material changes are really instrumental in as you put it, put it moving the dial forward in the transition. So perhaps you can share a little bit about specifically monographs, technology, your goals and mission and where you are on your journey.
Francis Wang 9:38
Yeah, absolutely. So as I can be the technology can Northwestern. It’s an interesting story, actually. They’re the founders were all students at the time, they’d taken a class that they teach at Northwestern where they put to get us together with People who are doing their PhDs to go and business people together, they have them put together. And often, you know, successful ones go on to try to raise money to actually build that company or that, you know, our, our technology grew from graphene, which, at the time, I think back in 2000 2009, was a very, very hot topic, it ultimately won the Nobel Prize. And we were, you know, our company and team was looking at ways to let Finn eat properties that it has is a two dimensional material, almost like a sheet of paper, if you will. And one of the fundamental problems with silicon, people in the bay, the part was when they trash they expand. And one of the things that happens when it expands, it cracks, and it loses connection and better things we were thinking about was, Hey, um, could graphene, if coated on the surface, prevent some of these historical failure mechanisms, for example, electrical disconnection, because graphene is a two dimensional material. And if you can imagine, as it expands its slides. And when it slides, it still remains in electrical connection. Okay. And we that was kind of the beginnings of company, obviously, the technologies evolved over the years. And based on what we have seen out in the field, we believe product is is actually the silicon anode that is out there, we’ve been able to demonstrate that and, you know, recognise form factor, and form factor showed that it actually adds the world’s most energy dense, or enables the world’s most energy dense performance in a battery. Right. Right.
David Hunt 11:57
And in terms of that journey, because these things are never cheap to evolve from and have you been involved in the fundraising process yourself was there because it was there has been a lot of interest, as you say, in the last few years, a lot of investment into this particular area of technology. Has that been something that you’ve directly been involved with?
Francis Wang 12:16
I have, but I will say nanogram has taken a different approach to them and start up. I mean, we prefer to stay lean in So raising funds has, you know, not been necessarily a priority, we’ve stayed relatively lean through the years where I would say there was still a bunch of technology risk, we brought in non funding. So not throw figures out there. But I would say, for the first six, seven years of the company, we survived on government funding dollars, and brought in, you know, very, very little diluted funding. And I think that sets us apart from anywhere out there. And certainly we reached the stage where having those funds is important in terms of growth. That will, we are, you know, deep in the funding process, I’ll say,
David Hunt 13:17
Yeah, I think those things around timing for various different reasons. But there’s, there is always a counter argument that having too much money too soon, you know, makes you to some extent that we should be inefficient. And sometimes when you are closer to a bootstrapping model, you you tend to make the most of what you have, and, and perhaps run as you say, leadership, which helps when you take money down the line. So you’re not sort of diluting too soon.
Francis Wang 13:38
Exactly, I think that it is a classic failure, many companies clean space over capitalised themselves, they they raise money beyond the value of their company, and that you know, as you get deeper into it, or further along is it does hurt you and you can actually as you raise money, necessarily a good thing.
David Hunt 14:04
Yeah, yeah. So where’s the company at now in terms of the product evolution, and sort of how far you on into commercialization route, you know, fully commercialised, you’re still sort of getting closer to that point.
Francis Wang 14:16
Yeah, we’re right on the edge of, you know, that inflection point hockey stick inflection point, if you will. Over the last, I would say, 10 months or so we have been able to scale the material, our current product, which we call six, shouldn’t earlier we’ve been able to demonstrate that in the battery. And most importantly, we’ve been able to get that battery out into the field. And our beachhead market, I will say is the US military, they like our product, many of the folks in that military space, which is a great beachhead market, by the way, interested in. We’ve signed a number of allies that are demonstrate that traction and we are on showing our production from Japan United States, we believe that there will be considerable momentum around building it in the United States, our customers always interested in natural securities, also part of it. And where we are in the process today, we are about to build a an expand our facility to 35 tonnes per year production capacity and that should be available by the end of this year.
David Hunt 15:34
Okay. Okay. Yeah, I think it’s really interesting when it’s evolved a lot as the as the various OEMs have jumped on to identification of vehicles in particular, and around obviously, the expansion of giga factories and how close that you can shrink in the supply chain rather than extending it. And I think there’s a benefit to localised, both having the Giga factories, but of course, the material supply as well.
Francis Wang 15:57
We I think you’re seeing a lot of these Giga factories pop up, specially. You I think, you know, they’ve made tremendous progress there. And think North America, the US and Canada are a bit behind the EU. But you know, I expect over the next three to five years, you’ll see really growth in our area.
David Hunt 16:19
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think you’re in many areas of that sort of electrification, maybe because there are so many OEMs in the sort of the region. But absolutely, we’ve seen the the US really escalating last couple years, both in terms of batteries, and obviously from from the electric vehicle and charging infrastructure side of things. All of these things obviously contribute to the big drive, but it’s around now actually, how quickly can we charge? And how quickly can we sort of make a more seamless experience for Evie drivers? And clearly a faster charge is a key factor in that
Francis Wang 16:50
David Hunt 16:51
Do you see perhaps it’s too early to look at internationalisation included, there’s a huge market evolving on your doorstep. But have you sort of plans over and beyond that?
Francis Wang 16:59
They haven’t reached that phase of thinking, sir, certainly, there’s been some conversations that we’ve had around that. I mean, for us, it’s one step at a time, I think there’s so much going on and so many things that we need to do, right. The current focus, I would say over the next 24 months is to make sure that we scale the material to the proper validated. And to get it out to pick, that’s the most important thing. I mean, we’ve been pretty revenue up until now. Bringing in that revenue, I think it’s a game changer for the company, it opens a bunch of doors
David Hunt 17:35
clearly, in some regards, or when all of the hats at some point in time. What are the sort of the personal challenges that you see, you touched on some of the technical challenges or the process that you’re going through? What are some of the personal challenges that you’ve encountered or enjoy stroke struggle with? In the CEO capacity?
Francis Wang 17:53
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s an I tell people all the time this, this is honestly, being an entrepreneur is the best job that I’ve ever had. We have an amazing team. You know, and all the progress has been, you know, it’s something that I can hang my hat on, but you know, eating, you know, it’s a roller coaster ride, anybody that’s been an entrepreneur knows. And, I mean, they’re literally, I think the companies sometimes change moment to moment, day to day, and, you know, you have to ride that that wave of emotions and react these flexible and change. And I think that, you know, for both thing, yeah, something in front of you. And obviously, there’s a lot of emotions about Oh, my God, everything just changed. And what did we do to solve that on? You need to be that quick, quickly. So, you know, the ups and downs, these are all things that entrepreneurs, oftentimes, you know, it’s been less for me that the challenges have been less about the technology, really, the technology and the science and engineering part of it, too, are much easier than other things, you know, the outside world that visits the market? Yeah, well, sometimes internal, sometimes external, very
David Hunt 19:19
interesting, from our perspective, working with people and clients on the the evolution of teams, and obviously, a lot of the companies we work with a very high growth. So there’s always a challenge when you’re hiring an awful lot of people in a quick period of time to be able to maintain cultures or create cultures. So be interesting to see that, you know, you’ve clearly worked in, I guess, leadership or management positions for for some time, how your leadership style has changed, or how is the culture within the business
Francis Wang 19:46
necessarily change? I certainly think I’ve gotten better at it over the years. I mean, and this is just a generalisation. But I think PhD scientists tend not to be people. People were offered introverts and extroverts, and it’s been a lot of work for me. I mean, I’ve been, you know, managing teams or leading teams for well, over a decade, probably close to 15 years. Yeah, there’s a number of learnings throughout that time, you know, around leadership and, you know, inspiring others, creating a reality distortion field, and bringing people along,
David Hunt 20:28
it’s tough. Yeah. And obviously, these things been exasperated over the last couple of years with, with what’s been going on with COVID, I guess you would have at least some remote workers or some sort of diversity in locations for where the team are, is that something which again, has been a challenge or something that you’ve you’ve had to work on to make sure that those people in different places are still part of the team and bought into that, I should say that reality distortion,
Francis Wang 20:56
it’s, it’s one of the biggest challenges we’ve had, you know, we, as the company grows, we have people honestly, in all corners of the world, right. So we are us with Asia quite a bit at night, and we have people, you know, most of them are in Chicago, but we have others that work. And in other places, I think, you know, what, cool parts of call it the hard side, is that be in the lab to be in the office is important, but that obviously, over the last few years has been a challenge. But I have found and this has been a learning in my, in my career, that it’s possible to do that and be productive, even though at times, you know, you’re not in the lab, or not in the office physically with others. And most of it really, I think, is about culture. You know, I had mentioned, this is the the best team that I’ve ever worked for, think or worked with. And, you know, when I turned my back, I know that things continue to happen. Whether they’re working at home, or they’re in the cars in front of me, you know, people are passionate about what they do, and believe in, you know, the change that we can exact in the field. And and, you know, they work passionately, whether that’s at home or in the office.
David Hunt 22:23
Yeah, I think it’s certainly, I guess one of the advantages of being the sector we are, so many people are in this for, for the impact that they make more than than the money they make, or a combination, of course, or both of those things, but certainly around the impact. And yeah, having people that I should say will still get shit done, wherever they are, however they are, but things happen and progress moves, but it’s still I find quite difficult to keep team culture and those kind of, I guess, support mechanisms for everybody, when you just can’t physically interact as much as you might normally do. And I think that’s been a challenge for most leaders. But do you do any kind of activities or any work specifically on trying to keep Tim culture strong?
Francis Wang 23:08
Absolutely. I think that that’s a component of it. Right? You You’ve got to, like I said, it’s a roller coaster, and you have to give time to de stress. A lot of that’s focused around with our team, I think. And we’ll, we’ll head out and have a beer together. I think that’s important. outside of the workplace. Now, we have what you could call unlimited vacation. Right? And I don’t perhaps it’s not unusual, every place that I’ve worked at always has a framework around that. We worked so hard. And I tell folks, you know, understand yourself and where you are physically emotional. Time off, do it. The rest of the team will pitch him will make sure that nothing stops. You know, I think that’s just one of the things that I’ve learned from her that yeah, you have to recharge, if you will. And yeah, we let folks do that.
David Hunt 24:03
Yeah, yeah, no, I think it’s important thing. And you say you’re not entirely unique. I know, a few of our other clients do that. But I think that’s one of the things that that just flexibility to know people to take a break if they need to break, whether it’s a morning or whether it’s a couple of days, or whatever it might be that they can look after themselves, in order to still be productive, I think is really important. And I think that’s a bit of a disadvantage, potentially as corporates because that’s relatively easy when there’s a few dozen of you maybe a couple 100 of you, but when there’s many 1000s in the team that’s a little bit more difficult to manage, I guess. So looking to the future talk about sort of you you’re at the inflection point now with the commercialization of the of the product and obviously the growth that’s going on but if we perhaps take a slightly longer view Francis of where in the next because things move so quickly, of course, but in the next maybe three to five years both where you see Nana graph and were more broadly you see the the evolutions in the battery mobility spaces.
Francis Wang 24:54
It’s a great question, you know, even though we’re focused 24 months, which I think critical for the company we are looking forward. You know, one of the, which, you know, I believe in. So we are in the process of what I called integrating. So we are a materials company. And, you know, with everything that’s going on the world, particularly driven by electric vehicles, I think partnerships important, being able to get your to market is important. So, you know, being able to control to some extent self production is important for a materials company to be able to get your technology out in the field. And that’s very difficult, you know, vertical integration of partnerships along the value chain, where it’s very easy for small companies to get locked out, right? You know, for example, Samsung, or LG has their supplier. And if you are not that anode supplier can be difficult. And you’re seeing more of that happen. Everything from materials and mining all the way down to the OEMs, the producers of the vehicles, that’s all been accelerated by the pandemic, with all the supply chain BS, I think, the forward looking smart, p will, has locked down their supply chain, right, so they know where they’re getting their lithium, Senator, just because it is going to be harder for folks to get components and materials and technologies. I think that’s a trend that will probably, you know, take 2436 months, but I doubt that that will change over. I think Evie manufacturers, we’re still learning. You know, in the battery space, what’s important for electric vehicles, right, we were seeing currently a shift. For example, people care a lot about range and more about cost, I think, you know, and that that’s somewhat natural, you’ve got to get the battery down to cost that makes sense for informing partnerships all the way along. So in terms of what’s important for navigraph, I think, beyond 24 months, is forward integrating into the battery space, I think that’s important. It’s strategically important. Other things that we think, action in the longer term, call it five years and be better producers who will prints for materials that can be recycled, or get dropped in, if you will, to surround recycling. And so, you know, we also look at things like that beginning, you know, in the lab to think about that, you know, in order to provide a value proposition down the road, which is not necessarily focused around performance, always performance is important. But there are other things we’re missing costs, things like recyclability, I think we think about that to long term.
David Hunt 28:02
Yeah. The broader battery market, having seen obviously, when you worked previously more on the station, us understanding China was sort of a lot around stationary storage, which now of course, is now mandated in many states and is increasingly prevalent. And of course, that I mean, if you’ve been surprised a little bit by how quickly some of the US OEMs, particularly the sort of the big truck, the F 150s, for example, that are increasingly we’ve seen great things from the likes of Rivia n, but it seems now pretty much every OEM in the US now is really accelerating that that journey. And that surprised me a little bit from a number of reasons, gas is so cheap in the US compared to how it is in Europe and many other things. But that must really, I guess, both create great opportunity and sort of make you happy, but but also lots of opportunities, lots of challenges, because things aren’t moving so quickly.
Francis Wang 28:52
Yeah, when you take a step back, it is impressive how quickly things are moving, you know? Yeah, companies like rivian, and lucid have done an amazing job of getting products that are quotes, see, and people want, you’re certainly you know, this, I think you’re gonna hurt everyone, particularly the smaller outfits like lucid and Ruby, and even though they’re growing rapidly, just getting things like batteries, I think may slow down, I could be wrong, you know, the supply chain. It’s a disaster right now. I mean, the smaller folks can’t get the batteries that they you know, and I think that’s going to ultimately impact the speed at which things can grow. But it is inspiring and I’m glad to see that we’re moving away from fossil fuels. And yeah, I think electric vehicles are a big part of that. It’s it’s also quite well known that the US government now you know, is trying to push through legislation that supports all of that and I think As a complete country, perhaps a little bit late to the table, but you know, that this is the right direction, you know, as a country, you know, in all the climate change issues that we have, you know, certainly moving forward with electric vehicles is the right way. And I’m glad to see that it’s moving as fast as it is.
David Hunt 30:23
Yeah, I think again, in some way, there’s a perfect storm that we have people much more I guess aware, even those who would like not to be aware of much more aware of the the issues around climate change because of the impacts, particularly new ation of wildfires and storms, everything else that recurring, but, but also the thanks to companies like yours, reducing the cost of everything, you got that kind of on one hand, that drive from a social level of, we’ve got to do something, on the other hand, it’s just become much more cheaper to get sold, or to get an electric vehicle or to do these things. So which is all great to see a lot of us worked very hard to get to this point.
Francis Wang 30:53
Yeah. Dating times. I mean, yeah, I’m looking the next decade, the changes that we’ll see not only much, but just the grid, I mean, you know, clean tech moves so slow. It’s oftentimes, entrepreneurs and investors realise how slow things move it is a big wheel. Right. And, but it’s great to finally see some change the needle moving.
David Hunt 31:21
Yeah, absolutely. We touched on this a few times, Francis, in terms of the having moved into entrepreneurship, and some of the perhaps the biggest, what’s been most rewarding for you in the last few years? We talked a little bit about the challenges, but what’s been most rewarding for you in leading an organisation like monograph?
Francis Wang 31:39
Yeah, I mean, it’s been a great passion. You know, I think those moments are few that you have a win. I think what makes it so rewarding is that you fight for so long, oftentimes, years to something, I’ll give you an example, in a when we proved that our technology in an 18 650 cell, and we actually hit like the world’s most energy dense battery, somewhere between 808 131. Or that that was a moment where I actually had to, you know, when we got off the phone, I think there was a tear in my eye, it was it was amazing. And yeah, you know, those those move, those moments are few and far between, the distance between them is long. But it’s when you hit those things, and you fight. And, you know, it’s just knowing that, you know, myself and the team, we all walk like that we played a role in that nificant role in changing that. And I think that’s been a difference for me when you work at a, you know, a much larger company and the product launch, you know, obviously, you do participate in that, but you don’t quite, I mean, you’re one of 1000s of people that contributed to I mean, here were a handful of people that contribute to something and so, yeah, the feelings magnified and you know, it, what keeps me going, I think, sometimes I say it’s a little bit like playing golf, you know, I’m not a great golfer, but I love it. And occasionally, I will hit the ball just go 250 yards and, and that that keeps me coming back. Yeah. And being an entrepreneur like that. Yeah,
David Hunt 33:28
it’s a really good analogy. And I was on a golf course in Florida last week with Robert, who’s heading up Hyperion team there. And he’s, he’s a really good golfer. But again, it was exactly the point that it doesn’t happen very often. But when you catch on, right, that makes it worthwhile. Yeah, so go. Okay. So in terms of motivations, you’ve touched on a couple of you mentioned Steve Jobs man, Elon Musk, who clearly are icons, and there’s a lot to learn from what they achieved, but other sources of inspiration for you, whether that’s individuals or I always look for sort of recommendations, or perhaps books or places that you’ve gone to, that have helped you on your journey or that have inspired you on your journey?
Francis Wang 34:07
Absolutely. There’s, there’s lots of readings along the way. I mean, that the book that I, I love and often go twos, about the heart, and hard things and you know, there’s so much in that. You know, rings true. Yeah, you go, yeah, I’ve actually lived experience this. Yeah, yeah. There’s been, you know, mentors along the way, teachers, advisors, colleagues, you know, turn into mentors, people that admire different aspects in different ways. You know, I have shaped who I am today is all along the way. And these have been people younger than me older than me. I mean, I will say Our team is relatively young. I don’t tell them this, but I’m always learning from them. I mean, I’m so old then. There’s a bunch of things. I often don’t know why my computer does doesn’t work the latest staff or what’s cool. And, you know, being around them. It’s inspirational, honestly. And it keeps me going to I was fun part of the job. And, you know, it’s it’s great to see how fast they learn and adapt. I only wish that I could be that fast that 52 years old, but yeah, there it is version two.
David Hunt 35:23
Yeah, yeah. Now, I feel your pain, by the way. So that’s the advantage of having a young team around you to do any of these things. Cool. Well, it’s been a real blessing to have some time with your friends. Thanks for sharing that we’re on the episode page for the podcast will point to your website and various places and that people can access and look at what you’re looking to achieve. And the book recommendation, which is a great book, and we’ll make sure that that’s hooked up. So if people want to have an experience of that they can do that. But in the meantime, I’m really looking forward to seeing your evolution continue over the next few years and to see the success of the company
Francis Wang 35:59
who shared their day but thank you so much. It’s been it’s been fun.