Those who listen to the podcast will know I’m a big fan of the electrification of everything, but I’m also a (clean) technology agnostic, and in the drive to reduce fossil fuel consumption, sectors like hydrogen and biofuels may have a significant part to play. This week I talk with the very passionate and driven CEO of a biofuel company that recently made a game-changing breakthrough. Sarah Ellerby has a great story to tell. Take a listen.
About Sarah Ellerby:
Sarah is the CEO of Nova Pangaea Technologies a UK based pioneer developing biofuels, biopolymers and biochemicals from forestry and agricultural biomass.
After a stellar career in professional sport, Sarah has now gained over 17 years’ international Executive Board, Advisory Board experience in the energy, natural resources and manufacturing sectors, much of it in the US before she returned ‘home’ in 2019 to the North of England to take over at Nova Pangaea.
She was an associate Partner at Hanson Family Holdings (formerly Hanson Plc) for over 12 years where she was involved in a large number of corporate advisory and management consultancy projects focussing on growth, strategy, turnaround, start-up commercialisation, business and operating model transformation, finance, investment, M&A, , marketing, and brand development.
She previously held Chief Executive roles in the Oil & Gas, mining, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.
Sarah studied Leadership & Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is currently obtaining her MBA from Bradford University School of Management.
About Nova Pangaea:
Nova Pangaea Technologies converts biomass from forestry and agricultural processes and turns it into the base products for biofuels, biopolymers and biochemicals. The process, called REFNOVA, is a British invented, world first; the company is based on Teesside and trades with customers worldwide.
The REFNOVA technology converts materials such as woody residues, wheat straw and sugar cane into feedstocks for biochemicals, biofuels and biopolymers, providing additional yield and revenue streams for producers (eg farms, forestry and sugar cane producers), while reducing dependence on fossil fuels and feedstocks that compete with food applications.
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. E partner 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.
David Hunt 0:30
Hello, I’m David Hunt, CEO and founder of Hyperion executive search and your host for the latest clean tech podcast. This week we moved from the sunshine of San Diego to the frost and snow of the northeast of England. Now you’ll know that I’m a big fan of electrons in energy and transport, but you’re also non technology agnostic under the Clean Tech umbrella. And I’ve recently had guests in the hydrogen fuel cell sectors including for aviation, a sector where we have so much to do of course, this week my guest is Sarah ellaby, the CEO of Nova Pangea, and a former professional sports person. Sarah shares how Nova Pangea have a unique patented way to convert second generation biomass and feedstocks to produce biofuels, including for aviation fuel, so it has a great backstory. I hope you enjoy the episode. Hello, welcome to the leaves in clean tech podcast, Sarah.
Sarah Ellerby 1:16
Thanks for happening.
David Hunt 1:18
Just saying that last week’s episode or last episode, we were with a guest in San Diego and it’s pretty chilly at the moment in the northwest of England. But I think you’ve had it even worse in the northeast.
Sarah Ellerby 1:28
Ya know, when I’m in this sunny concert, North Yorkshire run out of the window right now. We’ve got quite a layer of snow. So we’re a little bit different to where I used to live in in Arizona.
David Hunt 1:43
Yeah, just just a little bit. So great to have you on the podcast. Most areas of clean tech, if we sort of dive in a little bit, there’s both tools in particular have had their fair share of the tractors over the years. And there’s a lot of myths half truths, particularly around land use and other factors, which I’m really keen to, to dig in to with you. But first and foremost, I always like to start with a little bit of a backstory to the CEOs and entrepreneurs that I speak to So, and yours, again, is a particularly interesting journey to where you are now. So I wonder if you could just give us a little bit of that backstory of that journey from a UK based sports person and poor professional, to your time in the US to I know you had a lot of corporate experiences there too, to where you are now if you could just give us a flavour of how that journey went for you.
Sarah Ellerby 2:30
Yeah, no, absolutely. So originally born and bred in in North Yorkshire, but spent just over 18 years in the US, as you have picked up. year as a professional athlete, as a professional football player. That’s what originally sort of took me to the US after winning around about eight titles, you know, welded into World and European titles. So 18 years in the US and post my career as a professional athlete, you know, basically transitioned into business and it was relatively seamless. I was quite fortunate to be quite, quite honest. I started off predominantly in sports and entertainment. the privilege of working with iconic brands such as Michael Jordan, Coca Cola, Golf Digest Conde Nast, mayhem, more or less doing sort of strategic partnerships for them. Then my company actually ran a $50 million sports platform, which was LPGA and Champions Tour event. All you know developed from sort of ground zero world world class sort of televised golf events. I moved, I took quite a leap into from sports entertainment into healthcare with the iconic brand, the Arnold Palmer Medical Centre, an MD Anderson Cancer Centre and I was with them for over 10 years working from sort of marketing communications to you know, positioning all the way to cross border transactions into China and commercialization IP commercialization. I worked for transitioned over another leak into fine chemicals industrials, for natural resources with handsome fiance. For about 12 years, I’ve worked across many industries, such as like said fine chemicals, industrial industrial goods, logistics, and it was actually Robert Hansen honourable Robert hands new introduced me to natural resources. And that’s where I sort of took a deep dive and was the chief exec for oil and gas portfolio as well as the gold mine In the Yukon, and then my last tenure in the US actually was with a manufacturing scale up. So natural gas distribution sector, where we developed a prefab skid mounted matron regulator station. And that was sort of a rapid turnaround and commercialization of the tech as well as in good investment around 5 million. And then, you know, I, to be quite frank, I just wanted to come back to Yorkshire. And so made a leap of faith to return to Yorkshire after 18 years, and then was have discussions with Mercier and law powerhouse regarding over patio technologies. And basically anything leading the charge into into the scale of commercialization of the technology. So just over just over a year in my, to my chief exec role.
David Hunt 5:57
Yeah, it’s a bit of a whirlwind, an awful lot of experiences there, which we’ll return to, because there’s, it’s always fascinating to me how different sets of experiences put you in the right place, sometimes, and as you said, yourself, sometimes it’s not necessarily planned, but whether it’s fate, or just the opportunities arise if you put yourself in the right place. And so you took a bit of a leap of faith going back to the UK, but also timing wise, having spent, as you say, in both medical in some of those traditional what I might refer to as sunset industries on and gas to find yourself now at the forefront of biofuels. Do you think that journey sort of prepared you for the challenges of leading a business, which is I know, it wasn’t purely startup when you joined a young company? And then early, relatively nascent industry?
Sarah Ellerby 6:44
Yeah, you know, you know, talking about No, that is beyond sort of the advanced biofuels, you know, now that we’ve, with our technology breakthrough, we offer, you know, two, six configurations, and four different sustainable products. So, you know, again, scale up and multinationals are are completely different, you know, a scale of No two days, that that are the same, it’s, it’s quite fluid, is completely different to where, you know, you’re working with a multinational, and it’s, you know, you plan in 335 years ahead, I think, baby steps with scale up, because, again, it’s a take sort of a six month increment period, see how we get on over that six months, and then and then recreate and build on that build the foundation. But ultimately, whether you’re in a startup or scale up for a multinational, at the end of the day, it’s about people, you know, without without a team, whether you’re, we have that team here, I’m not gonna succeed. So it’s beyond, it’s beyond me. It’s a team effort, and it really doesn’t matter what scale of, of company you’re in. You’ve got to get the people. Right. And that’s one thing that that’s one thing, you know, as a CEO, you spend a lot of time building that team, nurturing them shaping them, and, and including them on every decision that you make. And that’s, that’s important to me.
David Hunt 8:27
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, obviously, you’re preaching to the converted to some extent about having the right people in the right place at the right time. And we’ll return to Tim, so no, that’s important to you. But for the sake of the listeners, let’s talk a little bit about the technology. So you’ve got a unique patented process that So firstly, perhaps you can share a little bit of how that differs from other biofuels and let’s address the elephant in the room that does come up with a lot of the myths around sort of land use and and the use of sort of first generation crops, if we can address that, and then perhaps we can move on to the reason technology breakthrough that you’ve enjoyed.
Sarah Ellerbyr 8:58
No, absolutely. So, so refn over, you know, unfortunately, it needs to sort of start with the, with a breakthrough because it’s an evolution and we adopted sort of a next gen strategy at NOVA. And, you know, we can now offer a rest No, the technology sort of sweet it is a breakthrough patented, continuous process versus batch where, you know, where actually seconds and minutes versus hours. We are, you know, 100% sustainable so we convert non edible. So non food derived Woody, an agricultural plant residues into sustainable bio carbon. So, that’s biochar and activated carbon, bio chemicals biopolymers dropping through advanced biofuels such as bio ethanol. So, refineries right here right now, and it’s what we can see decarbonisation enabler. And we have, obviously were pushing towards displacing fossil based products to walk work towards that net zero. So, again, it goes beyond biofuels, it actually touches on, you know, now that bio carbons that the majority of hydrocarbons, biochar, and activated carbon or coal or coke derived. So that’s, that’s a big part of our sort of key differentiation. Like I said before, it’s, you know, refined over is now six up to six configurations dependent on feedstock location, and what product outputs are. And, you know, if we talk about, you know, some of the sustainable products, you know, biochar, like I said, use the soil enhancers followed fields field, which is generally code derived. So, again, we’re shifting away from that sort of dependency on fossil based products, activated carbon use for water and water and air filtration. And generally, it’s important through the US and China, mainly cold arrived. So we offer a sustainable product. And again, the sugars are that come off the process are used for bio polymers and bio chemicals, and then further process and drop in for advanced biofuels. So, you know, they actually today is the DFT just released, then renewable fuel stats for 2020. And only 6% of UK fuel is renewable, which is a great start, and 58% verified throughout the FCC in 20% of that is bioethanol, so approximately 350 million litres for 85, this will obviously increase double in capacity when the 10 is implemented later in the year. And then 20%, David of renewable fuel imported to the UK is coming from China, even only 30% coming from the UK. So those are, those are steps that are obviously, you know, we’re passionate about sort of changing those steps. And, you know, we talk about, you know, indirect land usage. You know, we, we mitigate this, because we use non food, non edible Woody and agricultural plant plant residues, like wheat straw has no requirement for land. So, also, in addition to that, we take a modular design approach to a much smaller footprint. And that’s something that we’re working on. And again, we’re always working, we’re always looking to innovate the technology. And that’s a big part of the aspiration, as we as we move forward with rapid open.
David Hunt 13:02
Right, right. I think I said the key thing to many people is the fact that we use in sort of second generation feedstocks or not a non non foodstuffs, but importantly, and again, even on you know, there’s a huge amount of interest, the huge amount of trash, a huge bit of noise about the electrification of transport, which is which is absolutely great and important, but there’s a lot of important things which don’t necessarily get the limelight or get the the profile and as you touched on a few areas that it’s not just around transport and energy use, but there were many applications for the outputs from from from F Nova. But sometimes that can be a bit of a challenge, not just as a fact, it’s harder to get the limelight sometimes, but also the fact that you’ve got so many potential addressable markets, which are the areas and sectors where you’re most focused at the moment.
Sarah Ellerby 13:48
focus very much so on on bio carbons and the sugars for advanced biofuels. So, you know, looking at right now we have back to back trials. So we are, the company is at revenue. We are revving up even though we will be working successfully through a pandemic. We’ll see obviously a significant interest interest in the technology. So we are focused on the bio carbons, the activated carbon and the biochar, as well as obviously the advanced bio bio field for me talking about sort of bio ethanol and as well as progressing sort of downstream and a pathway towards sustainable aviation fuel. So, you know, there it is a very, very large target market, over 400 billion. But we are very, very focused on the UK and EU very, very focused on the forestry industry where we can take woody residues or low value products, put them through the ref labour process and create a much higher system. stainable product. So So, you know, we will move into the bigger markets like us, Brazil, and China. But right now we’re focused on a first kind of plant here in the UK, and very much focused on the increase in value for wooded rescued fully agricultural residues and specifically focused on the forestry industry right now.
David Hunt 15:28
Right. Right. And you touched on something before in terms of the amount of fuel stocks and and sort of the transportation of renewable fuels from China and from elsewhere, which clearly, just from the logistics and sort of carbon footprint of, of that process is broad enough? What’s the process for for revenue? Was there going to be one or two or a handful of sites? Is it something which is relatively in the future going to be portable? Will you licence the technology without without sort of breaking anything confidential, what’s the scale up plan in terms of having availability and a more local availability for for the solution.
Sarah Ellerby 16:06
So it comes in six configurations, anywhere between 14 and 12 tonne capacity, that’s dry matter per per year. And it really depends on on the output of the of the actual configuration. So So, you know, right now, UK base. So we’re looking at sort of biochar for soil enhancers, we’re looking at the bio chart and entering the market bio chart 100% sustainable into solid fuels. And there is significant capacity for to move away from solid to move to sort of a smokeless, solid feel. You know, as I said before, it’s we’re looking to move to return later this year that will double the capacity for bioethanol, I think that right now, you know, only 13% is coming from the UK. Hopefully, you know, that’s something that we can enable. And we can increase with the ref Nova. We are looking at most of the configurations UK based or what we call graph Nova black. So a module of sugar and bio chart, as well as we’re looking at also there’s interest in ethanol and like so before looking at Partnering for that pathway towards sustainable aviation fuel. So right now we could we are looking at potentially for maybe three to four plants in UK, eu and what we want, we start to open up and we haven’t done yet, because we’re very, very focused on the first of a kind Rustamova plant, UK EU based but the US is obviously an issue humongous market for ref Nova, of CO located with existing ethanol plants, we’re seeing that little bit more sort of longer term, right now short term because of the breakthrough with red clover. And we’re looking at more of a smaller size 444 tonne plants with, you know, great payback. So obviously, we’ve just reduced capex by up to 60%, which is which we believe is an absolute Game Changer because there’s quite a capital intensive industry. So percent reduction in capex paybacks is is dependent on configuration is it can be up to two years with really attractive economics, but again, very focused short term on that UK EU story and then we’ll start to roll out and scale up in those top tier markets such as US, China and Brazil.
David Hunt 19:03
Right. Right, right. I mean, to some extent, you’re in a little bit of a perfect storm where we have an awful lot of attention both from political and policy sides from and sort of more general awareness that certainly during the pandemic with an awful lot less flights and an awful lot less transport that there’s an improvement in certainly in sort of air pollution and other areas, are you finding that there’s a lot of interest, particularly for transportation fuel. And as much as I guess there’s a lot of preference for batteries for smaller vehicles, but certainly in terms of, you know, heavier vehicles, longer distance aviation was touched on marine, sort of those other areas where there’s a need, obviously to decarbonize EU funding. There’s a lot of interests during the pandemic that are for people looking for solutions like these.
Sarah Ellerby 19:56
I think this made everybody stop and think of it In general, just how we’re running our businesses and, you know, obviously a lot of companies are looking to reduce their carbon footprint or, you know, this this right here, right, our solutions for for to move away from coal dried or fossil based products. And, you know, if they’re here, right, right now, why can’t we look at using those and implementing those, so just go beyond transportation? I do think with obviously, you know, with etn, the implementation of etn, obviously, doubling and doubling the capacity in the UK. That’s a great, great move forward. For the for the UK, but as other countries have adopted, obviously, a higher blend us is supporting ethanol blends up to, you know, as such as like, 85. You know, you know, there’s obviously no room to decarbonize, as he said, heavy goods vehicles. You know, I think from a government perspective, it’d be nice to see them take, I suppose an approach of you know, Evie, I’m not nowhere, I’m not against a whatsoever, but I think we need to have a balanced approach to decarbonisation, and biofuels and some of these bio chemicals, biopolymers, that offers a sort of a right here right now to decarbonize. It’s an enabler. So, you know, it is a part of that transition story. And you do need a more sort of balanced approach, because, you know, I’ve lived in the US, I’ve seen, you know, a soldier transition to a VA, there was so you know, this, this is, there’s no cost for these dropping for dropping products for biofuels. And you don’t require any, any additional infrastructure, no investment is required. And it’s basically a drop in. So, you know, it does require a more balanced view to transition to net zero. And biofuels is a big part of that. Yeah,
David Hunt 22:11
yeah. Yeah. Okay. No, absolutely. As you said, before, you know, hydrogen biofuels, there’s a, there’s a whole lot of solutions for finding the best applications and all of them, we need to throw everything at the problems that we have, from a climate perspective. For sure. One thing we touched on already a little bit, and that is, you know, the fact that you’ve worked with internationally with some some iconic and large brands, you work with some big businesses, we touched on the importance of team a little bit previously. But again, you’ve your experiences, and now working with a smaller, you know, fast scaling business, how have you personally found that the challenges and what have you enjoyed perhaps more or less from from from some of those big corporate environments you’ve worked into, to sort of leading from the front with a smaller nimble team?
Sarah Ellerby 22:57
Well, you know, NPT is another punch here is that it is a scale up. It’s a novel tech, tech, novel technology. It’s a crime technology. And No two days are alike, you know, like selling a multinational, you plan three to five years ahead. You know, with a scale of pips, it’s, it’s quite fluid. And so, you know, it is a very disruptive technology brings a lot of challenge, which I absolutely thrive on. I love the fact there, it’s No two days are the same. I’d say that, you know, for me, it’s because that sort of competitiveness, we have a we have a bit of a mantra and PT, which we say, can we do it? Yes, we can. And I think there’s always a way to do if you have the right people, the right, the right, the right team in place, you can accomplish anything that you want. It’s not, you know, a scale up isn’t isn’t, you know, for the faint hearted, with a lot of challenge. And, again, it’s quite fluid. Whereas, you know, working with a multinational, it’s quite structured, you’re looking long term, you know, you’re delivering on a plan, whereas with this, you know, every, you know, technology changes, it’s, it’s evolving every day with a team that we put more hours on on the plant, as we work through, you know, process routes, this. It’s, it changes, though, again, it’s not for the faint hearted, sort of, you know, I look at it as amazed, your enemies come to a dead end, you turn around and you have another go and eventually you get there. And that’s that scale up. You need to go clean this out, you know, building a great culture and inclusive culture. And shaping your tea? And again, it’s a No, I can’t. Yeah, nothing.
David Hunt 25:10
I think that’s, yeah. So it turns out, I think that’s one of the things that scale up is inherently more difficult, I think then start up. And I’ve experienced both and we work with both. And clearly startup has its challenges for sure. But the scaling, I think, is really where things are the challenge and as you say, sometimes your two or three year plan becomes a two or three week plan if you’re lucky. And to to follow things through. And one of the things that a lot of CEOs I speak to in startups scaleups get distracted by is the need to fundraise. Now, it seems that from from outside, at least that Nova Pangea have raised relatively modest levels of investments. So far, you’ve done tremendously well, and how do you plan to scale up and meet First of all, as you say, the UK and European market opportunities and then to scale beyond Have you ideas on how you would fund that? Is that looking to be organic? Or do you have partnerships? How are you planning to really ramp up the scaling?
Sarah Ellerby 26:09
So we know the country is raised approximately 14 and a half million to date. You know, 14 and a half million that’s majority is equity and grant funding through the Department of Transport in 2015. That 4.6 million from TFTP. We oversubscribed on our pre series a last year, most of that investment, obviously your rap was starting to ramp up from a commercial perspective, we were obviously breaking through from a technology perspective, different process routes, reducing capex, so we’re able to close off and oversubscribed, with existing shareholders. So follow on investment from Northern powerhouse Park Cambridge, and the future fund as well. We’re currently in a we started a process a series A investment upward of around about 5 million that Grant Thornton are leading. And we have to pull back the reins slightly because we have this you know, this technology breakthrough this process for breakthrough which which had a significant impact not only on our on our whole value proposition, but on the economics as well. So we’re actually we’re actually looking to restart with Grant Thornton and close off, close off our series A fundraise relatively quickly, if I had indication of interest from existing shareholders, we’re looking to match that funding at 1.5 to 2 million of external funding to close off. And that will allow us to significantly ramp up increase headcount. We’re now looking to work we’re about to hopefully touchwood by tomorrow, reach over 100 hours on our phase three job which is start with steam assisted rapid pyrolysis. So we’ve got so we’ll be able and will start to optimise for looking at other efficiencies on plant. So you know, commercialization accelerating the commercialization, except increasing, the headcount is critical. We’re a small team, so we’re looking at make a fairly significant increase in headcount, and then focused on the enhancements of red clover, and roll out and start to roll out and accelerate the commercialization. So it’s been, you know, obviously, you know, the subscription with existing and more follow on is obviously tells a great story. So hopefully after this next month race, Evernote, we may may look to do a public offering. Or we may look to a larger race to then start to accelerate sort of globalisation of revenue for technology.
David Hunt 29:16
Yeah, yeah. Well, huge opportunity. And as you said, it’s good that you’ve had, you know, foreign investments and support from your existing shareholders. But I’m sure there’s an awful lot of interest in that, in that round day and from from other industrial partners, potentially, who would like to get involved as well. And touching on something, which I think is quite interesting. And that is the mindset of the CEO mindset of an entrepreneur. And obviously, there’s a lot of talk a lot of books, a lot of examples of very successful sort of sports people that have gone on entrepreneurs, such as yourself. So I just wonder if you could share a little bit on your thoughts of the mindset of a sport, you know, professional sports person and how that lends itself to being an entrepreneur and a leader, but also some of the negative notes or negative some of the challenges That might be because clearly you’re exceptionally competitive. Any as any sports person is, and not everybody is or needs to be in a business, and you have to be able to adapt and blend in, as we’ve touched on people in your team from a variety of different sort of personalities and mindsets. But let’s start with the sort of the, I guess the experiences that you had as a sports person, and how that benefited us, as she transitioned into much more of a commercial environment.
Sarah Ellerby 30:23
I think there’s a lot of transferable skills when you, you know, you can win ones you can win tries to win sort of, at times, consistently, I think that takes a lot of a lot of drive and a high level of, of work ethic and dedication, and, you know, people don’t be gone very much your relentless work ethic, I think I believe if you want to be the best, you got to put the you got to put the time in, it’s simple as that. Drives driver, you know, I’m extremely driven, it was a natural, it was a natural transition from athletes, you know, into business, it just can’t describe it just very natural, I didn’t have to force it was just there. You know, some sometimes I think, tenacity, you know, I’m never afraid to ask if you don’t ask me never get. And that’s something that, you know, even early on in my professional career, I would, I was just, I just wanted to go for the best, I wanted to go for the best sponsorship, the biggest brands, and that’s transition to see, we’ll take that approach, I’m always seeking, I’m still, you know, I’m always seeking, I’m always learning, I absorb a lot of information, I think that makes you, you know, just give some confidence in it. And again, that’s sort of a transition of always trying to be better, be a better person. And then, you know, allow yourself to sort of, you know, transition and change for this to be the best self. So, morally speaking, I’ve got, obviously a lot of self belief, and belief in others. preparation, work ethic, tremendous work ethic. And again, it’s either in an individual sport I played in, in team sports, representing a country of one world entertaining team, that titles. You know, you understand the concept of teamwork. I’m very much I’m not, not like an exclusive, an exclusive and inclusive work, you know, just a work environment. So this whole point of transferable skills, and, you know, unethical, you know, somebody, if somebody tells me that I can’t do something, that’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Because I will do it. And we will, we will do this. And I think that’s that sort of, yeah, I’ve always been like that. So you know, that can side it doesn’t. You know, I am competitive, of course, but, but I’m not. I think about competing again. No, there’s no way to compete. I love what I do.
David Hunt 33:32
Yeah, I think that FC, really dynamic competitive. Individuals are great founders, leaders, entrepreneurs, they can really inspire and bring a team along with them. But equally, I think, and I found with with many that I’ve spoken to is that sometimes it can be a challenge to let go sometimes that often, particularly in a startup moving to scale up, then, you know, you you obviously wear many hats, and sometimes it can be difficult when you’re so used to working so hard and doing everything to let go of things and to bring people on board who in initially at least might not be as good as you are might not be as fast as you. And is that something which you found? Because clearly it seems important to have you sort of brought people along or dealt with the fact that not everybody is that necessarily always as capable or Taurus dynamic as you are?
Sarah Ellerby 34:24
You know, I’m a chief delegator. If you don’t delegate in a scaler, you will think so, so first and foremost, you’ve got to build a really good thing. And and I think, you know, I’m quite an you’ve got to understand vulnerable communication. So I don’t have all the answers. I will get it wrong. I’m going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail but the customers learn from that. So managing and leadership just came very natural to me. I’ve always loved sort of helping others shaping, helping sort of bring sort of their best self, you know, one size fit all, when it comes to people, it takes a lot of time managing and leading a team. I’m very, very, very fortunate to have such a great team that I rely on, and they support me and we support each other. So, you know, it’s, it’s very clear from especially in in a in a bracket scale look, like know that, if you don’t delegate, and if you don’t trust others, then he will think it’s as simple as that. So build a good team, listen to that, you don’t have all the right answers. people that say CEOs say that it’s, you know, my way the highway, or, you know, it’s always right, you know, that, you know, just the opposite. I use vulnerable communication, style, because, again, I want to, I want, I want my team to feel involved, I want them to be a part of making decisions, team effort, and it’s, you know, something that goes beyond the one person, you know, it starts off with it, it starts with that team. So it just came really naturally to me. And, you know, it is about developing that culture, and that sort of togetherness, we’re in it together, you know, can’t do without, it really takes a lot of time and effort. And you’ve got to have really good listening skills. I think to myself, you know, have an open door policy. And, you know, sometimes that that that takes a lot of my time. But again, it wasn’t.
David Hunt 36:58
Yeah, yeah, no, I think those are key things. And again, it’s easy to pay lip service to that. But people you can genuinely listen and genuinely get inside the sort of the team and create that sort of culture that requires to drive forward. And the art of delegation is very much an art and it sounds like something you’re very much focused on. And I know some entrepreneurs do do struggle with that. Going back to culture a little bit, again, you’ve got broad experience with Hyperion, we work with across Scandinavia, across all of Europe, across North America. And it’s really fascinating dealing with different broader cultures without being sort of too stereotypical about it that but there are differences in most of these countries, most of these areas, how have you found, again, sort of working from, from from the UK, a lot of time in the US and then coming back to the US coming back to the UK? The difference in mindsets, the difference in speed sometimes of how things get done, both from funding and, and sort of public areas and also obviously, across team mentalities. Have you found much difference? Or what do you put some of the differences down to between sort of the US and European mindsets in particular,
Sarah Ellerby 38:11
and then in the US, one of the reasons why they’re not the main reason, but I see a big difference UK versus us, is in the US is 24, seven mindset, there’s no work life balance, it is constant, you’re always on call. Whereas, you know, coming back to the UK, you know, really couldn’t understand to be honest, when it first came that why people get emails over the weekend, or on the you know, in the evening, it is a mindset shift for me, because I thought to myself, just can’t leave that person has not been like, you know, so I have a rule of thumb, try and try and get practice or do within 30 minutes. At least I’ve just something that I’ve always I’ve always adopted and just being respectful. So 24 seven, you’re never you’re always on call, there’s no work life balance coming back here, there’s, you know, it’s a lot more sort of balanced, I wouldn’t say a more relaxed back here. To most definitely want to say that but it is it is. It is a completely different way of life. Here. It is, you know, I didn’t have or trying to add more balance. But, but again, that work ethic, I’ll work through we can do all that work out work. You know, to get time off with when you’re actually often on vacation, not really food ski. Look, you know, there aren’t many times that you can actually think you can actually take time off this critical stage. I think in the US it’s again, it’s extremely demanding. It’s very, very fast paced is hardcore when it comes to running a company, you’re always on call, you’re always available. So I got burnt out to be quite frank, funding wise, it’s quite, you know, I’ve I’ve raised funding, it’s hard, it’s hard for us, they measure, they look at risk differently. And they seem very, very, they are very certain areas, certain regions of the US extremely sophisticated from an investment perspective. So I always felt it was quite a slog to raise money in the US. And UK is quite regional. And it’s quite a supported by regional firms, where you can actually, you know, they’re responsive, they want to see region succeed, they want to see British technology, and, you know, an innovation succeed. So, for me, you know, it’s been a complete transition, and a complete surprise to be, quite frankly, just the level of interest that need to go to London anymore to raise, you can raise funding in Leeds, you can raise it at Manchester racing in Newcastle, is all these folks. And the generally, most of the basic basic thing, private equity. You know, they just have a community there, and everybody, you know, partners with, you know, with each other. And it seems like there’s a true sort of passion for innovation and technology in the UK, whereas sort of it seems a bit diluted in the US. And again, it’s very, very, quite difficult to raise money, I find it quite difficult. x rays.
https://leadersincleantech.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Dr-Christian-Thiel.jpg141141EdwardLambhttps://leadersincleantech.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo-1-300x245.pngEdwardLamb2021-02-24 07:54:592021-02-23 16:00:54Dr. Christian Thiel, Energy Nest