What is more valuable than wisdom, or the experience of others? Nothing in my mind. Recording the This Week in Cleantech podcast I get to hear so much insight and wisdom, born from successes and failures and everywhere in between. That is why I absolutely love recording it and sharing that wisdom, and those learnings with others. This is cleantech Gold dust! I get to hear so many inspirational stories, novel Ideas, and the abstract and random twists and turns leading Founders and CEOs take to find success. This week for example we explored what makes a cleantech entrepreneur successful, is it qualifications? luck?… or is it resilience? Clearly it’s usually a bit of all three, but never underestimate the importance of timing….or resilience.

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In the latest podcast I spoke with Gideon van Dijk, CEO & Co-Founder of Chargetrip who, in a wide ranging discussion talked about how resilience is crucial in the face of all the challenges an entrepreneur faces but particularly now; about how luck plays its role as an entrepreneur and also why the Emobility market may be facing a tougher challenge after Covid 19.

Here is my summary of the key insights:

1.           Resilience is a fundamental skill in leaders and their people. Right now, when uncertainty and often downright fear are everywhere, leaders in every business need to be resilient. But Gideon points to the character of cleantech entrepreneurs faced with multiple challenges throughout the development of their businesses from errors of timing to the challenges of finding funding. Being able to navigate a route to success through these challenges has always been important but will now take on ever greater significance. “I think every entrepreneur has their fair share of failures..but it’s how you deal with that and how you go on that in the end gets you to where you are now.”

2.           What is luck? We all talk about people who make their own luck, but Gideon nails the real reason entrepreneurs seem lucky. It’s their readiness to take advantage of unexpected developments which can look in hindsight like luck but in actual fact it’s a key component of being successful “you have to be ready, and you need to be there every time, at the right time, with the right solution. And then you’re giving yourself the best shot.”

3.           Looking forward I spoke with Gideon about his predictions for the Emobility market and how in his view there are real challenges ahead. In many countries where take up has been significant the impetus has been government support in some form. Gideon believes that subsidies as a tool of government policy will now be under severe pressure with budgets under the strain of Covid19 rescue packages. “We’ve had good subsidy rules around Europe, but I’m thinking they’re one of the first ones to go if nations need cash again”.

Hear more from Gideon on our latest podcast here

Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future inspiration. We’re on all the usual platforms, and can subscribe directly here. As ever I welcome your feedback, questions and suggestions for future guests.

Best regards


As you will know, every other week I get to interview some amazing guests on my podcast. Some are industry insiders, most are CEO/Founders of cleantech companies, some are on the Investor/VC side.  Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jigar Shah, someone that bridges all three of those categories. I’d certainly recommend listening to the whole episode (link below) but I also plan to bring some key insights from the podcast interviews in written form. I know not everyone is a podcast fan, and many are commuting a whole lot less, so maybe your usual podcast time is not happening. Or maybe you’re like me, and like to read and consider, as much as, or more than to listen? Jigar shared thoughts on many topics, including of course the impact of COVID-19, but perhaps these insights are most useful to you as a Start-up leader right now?

What does it take to persuade an investor you are worthy of their money?

In our latest podcast we spoke with Jigar Shah of Generate Capital who, as an entrepreneur and now an investor, has seen both sides of the funding process. He delivered some home truths for early stage cleantech businesses seeking finance either as a start-up at the beginning of your journey or a scale-up looking for further funding.

Here is our summary of the key insights:

  1. The key to success is never running out of money
  2. don’t waste the money you have on unnecessary expenditure – offices, people and external spend that aren’t essential
  3. Do something to prove your business works with the money you receive from investors:
  4. show that you have a viable product that’s up and running – prove your concept, your business model and show that you are moving forward and deserving of further investment
  5. don’t ‘hype’ the product until you can say to investors that it definitely works
  6. The maxim “if we build it they will come” doesn’t work when it comes to developing a sustainable business
  7. make sure you get it right every step of the way
  8. “growth is great but growth just for its own sake…doesn’t make a lot of sense”
  9. Build your company to last forever
  10. the substance of your business is key
  11. don’t get fixated with ideas of exit strategies
  12. build forever, build resilience
  13. Focus on accomplishing each milestone you have agreed, then look for the next set of funding
  14. make sure you’ve earned the right to receive the funding from the next round
  15. show what you’ve done with the last set of money to deserve the confidence of investors aiming to support your next round of investment

Hear more from Jigar Shah on the latest  This week in Cleantech podcast here (also on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and all the usual podcast platforms).

If you are keen to hear more from Investors as to how to get them to part with their money into your company, you’ll also enjoy the episodes with Petr Mikovec or Inven Capital and Robert Trezona of IP Group.

I look forward to sharing the journeys of more cleantech leaders in the coming weeks. Be sure to subscribe.

David Hunt