“There’s nothing wrong with being a capitalist, wanting to make money and wanting to change the world,” David Hunt, our Founder and CEO says in Episode 97 of the Leaders in Cleantech podcast.
David regularly speaks to fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders on the trials and tribulations of starting up on your own. Or, as Aidan McClean, Founder and CEO of UFODrive, says in the aforementioned episode, “breaking out of the golden handcuffs”, a phrase used to refer to the financial incentives and comfort of corporate employment that encourage highly-compensated employees to remain within a company.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s tough, it can be lonely, and there is much to learn as you go. But as the saying goes, “change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Risking it all – the renumeration, the responsibility, the support – to take the leap into entrepreneurship is where change happens. Change in lifestyle, sure – but change to the world, too. McClean founded UFODrive, the all-digital, all-electric car rental service, controlled via an app and operating across the UK and Europe, having had a sour taste left in his mouth from a passing van while cycling. This spurred him to research air pollution and climate change.
After one too many poor experiences at airports – “A long queue at the car rental booth, confusing insurance and extras options, pushy sales reps, a slow paper-based process and then trying to find the car, which wasn’t even the model I ordered,” – McClean decided there must be a better way. He left his thirty-year-long career in banking, leaving behind a highly respected and senior position, two personal assistants, and a team of 60 people, to “work from his kitchen table with only a laptop and no salary”.
McClean says starting a business, particularly one in a completely new sector to one’s expertise (as cleantech will be for many), is something he would “encourage anyone to do, whether it is successful or not.” It was Einstein who said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” and in today’s world, entrepreneurs must be willing to break taboos and boundaries in order to make the positive change needed in the world.
Similarly, Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, studied rocket science, before transitioning to make consumer electronics and technology accessible. In Episode 94 of the podcast, Gruzen explains how WiTricity has invented a technology that wirelessly charges vehicles, which will “not just be convenient, but essential”.
David, our CEO, was an early day solar panel champion who co-founded an award-winning multi-technology renewable energy installation business before solar became widely recognised. Then, following a two-decade-long career in recruitment, David merged the two passions together to form Hyperion Executive Search.
All are inspiring stories (among many more in the podcast series) of overhauling one’s plans and taking the leap into the unknown for the greater good – finding a gap and investing time and energy (pun intended) into filling it.
Where Hyperion comes in is finding the best talent needed for these initiatives to succeed. Whether you are a founder, entrepreneur, leader, or budding entrepreneur, it’s about the journey. Align your work with your values, find your tribe, and enjoy the ride.
If you’d like to know more about how we support cleantech start-ups and scale-ups hire right and build winning, high performance leadership teams, please get in touch for an informal conversation.