Climb By VSC: Episode 11

Published January 11th, 2023

In our latest episode of CLIMB by VSC, we speak with Lauren Flanagan, founder and CEO of Sesame Solar. Sesame manufactures the world’s first 100% renewably powered Mobile Nanogrids, which can be set up in 15 minutes with minimal training by one person. The Nanogrids are used in essential services and emergency response around the world by the US Air Force, telcos, and emergency services.

Conquering The Impossible With Food Science

Maggie Philbin: Hi, everyone, welcome to Climb by VSC. Each week, we interview innovative founders, category experts and the most active climate investors about their perspectives and lessons learned for company building in climate Tech. My name is Maggie Philbin. I'm a partner with VSC and a guest host for today's episode on all things disaster relief. I'm excited to be joined by my friend, Lauren Flanagan of Sesame Solar. Lauren is an OG in SaaS who spent her early days working with Steve Jobs during his NeXT days, and now she's turned her attention to restoring power in communities hit by disasters in a healthier way through what she's dubbed “Renewably-powered Nanogrids. Welcome, Lauren.

Lauren Flanagan: Hey, thanks, Maggie. Really glad to be here with you.

MP: Oh, I’m ecstatic. Ok, we have a lot to cover. So why don't we get into it? As someone who spent just about a decade in Florida, I was very familiar with hurricanes and then I traveled out west and now I feel like I've been followed by another kind of disaster, which is obviously wildfires out here. So I would love it if you could share a little bit about your climate journey and how you went from SaaS to solar.

LF: Sure. So like all of us, I was really horrified after Hurricane Katrina. The damage was just devastating and many people's lives are still upended. They never could go home to Louisiana, and I was really shocked at how unprepared we were. And it really hit me that it's all of our jobs to help adjust to these extreme weather events caused by climate change: businesses, individuals changing our behavior, and the government. It's not only the job of government, so I wanted to think about what could I do to help. I was investing and doing a few things in the clean tech arena. And then as we started to have more hurricanes happen and more wildfires and more of these events, I was really struck by how we're doing exactly the wrong thing. During these evensts, we're sending fossil fuel generators. I understand why we do it. You need power. It's an emergency. It's available. It's easy to use, but it's contributing to the problem. It's adding particulate, it's adding pollution to the air and water, and it's adding noise and it’s really the wrong thing. So I thought if we could break that dirty cycle if you will, if we could come up with another way to have really good power - fast, easy, deploy scalable, and clean - that this would be a good solution. And that was really the idea behind starting Sesame Solar.

MP: For people who don't know Sesame Solar, can you describe a little bit about what it is that you do?

LF: Well, we make what we call mobile renewably powered Nanogrids. So a Nanogrid is our name for the energy structure which could look like a construction trailer or a container, like a shipping container on a flatbed, so they're mobile, and they can be towed by a regular truck or a bigger truck for the container. And then, inside these Nanogrids are emergency offices and essential services. It could be communications, clean water, device charging, medical assistance, all kinds of additional off-grid power, and then the power to run them is supplied by solar, battery storage and green hydrogen, and we can talk a little bit later about what green hydrogen means. But that's two ways to provide power to the battery. And the power is accessed from the battery. So whether you're plugging in an EV or a medical defibrillator, or an electric wheelchair or your phone, all of that is being charged from an outlet that is powered by the battery, and then the battery has a different sources of energy, whether it's solar wind or green hydrogen.

MP: Well it actually sounds really complex. How did you go from working in software, and I understand software is still part of the business, but there is also the hardware component. My brain doesn't understand how you can make that switch. What was that experience like?

LF: Well, my motto is “always be learning.” I'm always learning new things. And one of the things that I think I'm good at is starting companies and advising companies. If you can find a narrow problem, that's a really big pain point, that you can solve and that potentially is scalable, that's a really good business. So as opposed to saying everything that you could do in climate change, we're just picking one thing: we're doing the wrong thing and disaster response. If we can fix that, then we could potentially have a much bigger market beyond disaster response. So that was where I started as sort of a principle and then the lens was okay, it has to be easy to use. So, it has to be high tech low tech and training has to be built in because in an emergency, you're not gonna read the manual. Experts aren't there. It has to be mobile - you've got to get the power to the people when and where they need it. And it has to be able to start up immediately. You can fire up a generator and in 10 minutes, you're in business. It's the same with our Nanogrids. So we started with that kind of first principles of what we had to do to address the problem. And it was a very narrowly defined problem. And so that's how I think. I mean, it's just an analytic approach, which I've used in every business I've been in. And then yes, learning the technology, but I brought in co-founders that you know that. Namit Jhanwar, I call him our energy wizard. He's a very brilliant guy who came up with a lot of the energy side of it. And I've learned a lot from him. And we've learned a lot together. And I brought in our mechanical genius, Adam Kasefang, who's our co-founder and can make anything. It was really the three of us and a couple of interns as we started. And we've gotten product-market fit with big customers, from telco and broadband, to the Air Force to counties and governments, both US and foreign. And so we've had the products out in the market now and they're working, and we can spread more broadly to other markets in the future. But right now, we're very focused on renewably powered disaster response.

MP: That makes a lot of sense now, I'd love to hear too, as you're working with the Air Force and other groups, how are they using it now? We just had that hurricane out in Naples, Florida. How is it going?

LF: Yeah, so yeah, of course Ian devastated Florida, particularly on the the Gulf side of it, and one of our customers Comcast deployed two of our Nanogrids that they call crisis response units at their facility near the airport in Fort Myers. And they also had two large trailers - 60 foot trailers of toilet showers and laundry and we have just a plug between our Nanogrids and those trailers. So we powered the lights and the hot water and the the cooling because it actually was hot there after the hurricane. And then they had Wi-Fi vans which we've we've also powered. So we were treating, you know, helping up to 300 people a day from first responders, citizens and Comcast employees who could come in and get help, get their phones or devices charged or get a new phone. They could use the facilities to clean up they could use the Wi-Fi there to call their friends and family and co-workers to let them know they're okay. And those are fundamental things that you need after an emergency where you may be left with the clothes on your back and you just need to get yourself settled so you can move on to the next step of your journey. And we've actually done that for a few customers: Cox, Comcast, the Public Ministry of Health and Dominica after Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Ida, and we've been there with this kind of response. And in Dominica actually, it's working more than just emergency response. This is now an adjunct to the clinic that we were backing up in Grenfel. And it's providing everyday patient triage, clean water, 103 gallons of clean water that they were filtering from rainwater, refrigeration for medicines, backup, power, Wi Fi, all things which they didn't have before due to the really serious instability of the grid.

MP: Did you see a difference in how Puerto Rico responded after a natural disaster to how we do it stateside? In Florida, for instance, is there a difference or similarities?

LF: There were far fewer resources in Puerto Rico and the grid is really just very challenged in Puerto Rico, is the nicest way I could say it, and there were hodgepodge efforts. But, you know, there was a lack of response in the same way that we would have stateside. And I think that's a little bit about our government's priorities. But be that what it may, there are still a lot of large organizations that are trying to come in and help reimagine the grid in Puerto Rico and come up with distributed energy resources, which will complement large microgrids. So a lot of the plans are to replace this core grid with large solar microgrids, but you also need distributed energy resources. That's what we call our Nana grids because they're mobile, they can move around. So something hits a big grid, it could still go down. But if you have mobile units that can get to the people when where they need it. That's an important part of the overall solution.

MP: That's a great point. And you mentioned earlier that it's important that these are ready to go and they’re rapid, but you never really how to prepare for the disaster. Almost when it’s the week of, right, or the two weeks before you see the hurricane coming through. So when you're out pitching to work with these partners, how are you getting on the radar and letting them know that it's important to get ahead of it and not wait until the last minute? Because how could you really deploy it? Could you be in Florida that fast? I mean, I'm sure there's so much red tape you have to go through. So what is that like?

LF: Well, first of all, we're doing active outreach to state and federal agencies. We've signed some counties in California. They recognize that they need to be prepared in advance of wildfires and PSPs, or public safety power shut off. That's happening in California and they have mandates from the state that they have to be more resilient and start to use less fossil fuels. So they know they have to move in this direction. And it was really interesting. We made a demonstration and a grid when we launched our new green hydrogen-powered backup power emergency office. We did it as a thought starter trying to show some of the functionality as we showed this to the county, and they said “We want that. We want exactly what you've made. Because that's perfect. We can charge our Ford F-150 trucks we've ordered and tow the Nanogrid with these electric trucks. We can charge some electric wheelchairs and defibrillators. People can charge their phones and devices. We need that emergency office to have our teams be able to work inside and outside of it. We need the restroom, we need refrigerated water. We want not only the 5G mesh network you have, we want ATT FirstNet special responder network.” So they wanted a few extra things for what we built. So that was like very exciting that what we thought was just a starter was actually something the market wanted. It was very complete.

MP: Yeah. As you're describing all the things that a Nanogrid can morph into it reminds me of like a transformer. It just keeps like shape-shifting into new things. So what is the most common use case? Is it clean running water? I also imagine that people really want Wi Fi and they want to be able to like get skip up on lines whether it's not with friends or family with a number shaper, probably get back to work. But what do you see as the most interesting or most widely used is export power and an Emergency Response Office so you can have people there to talk to people who are affected and help give them directions. That's number one. And then secondly, one communication so they want to be able to charge your devices and if possible, you don't have Wi Fi to connect with their loved ones. They maybe been separated. And then if they're first responders, like I said they want their own separate first responder channel.

LF: So we're able to have two different kinds of networks. And then usually in an emergency, you need clean water. And so the ability to filter various water sources to make it potable. That's important. So those are really the fundamental and then in many cases they want medical access medical health. Those are another things that are needed. So those are the most common applications for emergencies.

MP: Okay, at the top of our call here, you've mentioned that use versus principles. And I'm wondering how you decided that going the green hydrogen route was the right way. And it seems like a simple idea, or maybe not simple, but the route would be just plugged into the grid, but you've actually designed this so it's completely standing on its own and just using green hydrogen and sunlight. So what what made you get to that conclusion?

LF: While the need for having energy autonomy for days or weeks at a time is common after an extreme weather event. So in California where you are after wildfires or PSPs it could be a matter of days or a week and then the power generally comes back on in Florida it's going to be months or some parts get power again right after Hurricane II and it's really devastating. And so if you have to keep taking it back to another location to charge it on the grid or bring in diesel fuel, you're really Compounding the problem. And fuel is not always easy to get after emergency and maybe the roads are blocked. And then you have to leave the site to go back and recharge and come back. So it's not a complete solution if you have to do that. Whereas if you're just gonna keep running with various energy sources, then that's a really good disaster solution. So that's coming from that solutions. Lens. How do you do it? Well, solar isn't always efficient at night in the snow during wildfires when there's a lot of smoke in the sky. And so it might only produce half of the capacity that you need. So if you can charge the batteries another way you can put a wind turbine in a small wind turbine that will be in a mobile unit. And then green hydrogen was the other obvious way. And when using green hydrogen as a backup is another way to power the batteries and then while they're recharging, then you can wait till the conditions are better for solar. And so that creates this energy loop and it's green hydrogen because the electrolysis is powered by the battery which was first powered by the solar or by the fuel cells. Either way it's it's a clean energy and the electrolysis splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen we bent the oxygen we dry and compressed hydrogen to low pressure like 300 psi like an aerosol can and and that sort of stored solid state and safe tanks and that fuels the fuel so we make the hydrogen a little faster than we use it because we can store the excess and therefore you can keep this loop going the inputs needed are sunshine and water and we can even filter the water to a level that we can use the water from, say a river or municipal water source.

MP: How many iterations did you have to go through to get to the where the Mandelbrot is today?

LF: We get it better every time but you know we learn and for example, one of our low end solar data grids, for which we've had some large contracts for PSPs in California the first time we made it, it took two months now we can make one in four days. So we've really gotten it down to a good manufacturing process. But that took some iterations before we went from two months to four days. Now with green hydrogen, we'll have to do the same thing. It's probably gonna be four days but we can get it down to a much faster process and then a key part of our value proposition is that we are component agnostic. And because we use plug and play elements like Lego blocks, literally extruded aluminum and connectors and various substrates or materials, we can make things in any dimension so we're not locked into a form factor that only can support one kind of battery or one kind of fuel cell or one kind of electrolyzer. You can use any of them that we may want because we easily can adapt. So that's a really great advantage because as new technologies come out better fuel cells better electrolyzers more efficient batteries, we're looking at solid state will easily be able to take the best of those on the market and bring them to bear. So to your point, we're always innovating.

MP: I want to go back for one second for anyone who's listening who doesn't know what PSPs stand for. Can you describe that to everybody?

LF: Public Safety power shutoff out there and okay for California mandate?

MP: Okay, wonderful. And I've done some research and obviously we work together. And I know that it was important that you decided to make your integrated stateside and you're a Michigan based company. Can you talk a little bit about your manufacturing process? So I'm just curious how you do this, all this and you ask because it's so common that we would, you know, build things in other countries being on China and shipped into America, which just really compounds trouble and carbon. So I'd be curious about your decision to do that here.

LF: One of the advantages of being from Michigan I'm actually a native Californian, and I probably wouldn't have done this in California and Michigan. There's so many manufacturing resources here. And there are a lot of suppliers in the Midwest. So we can reduce our carbon footprint as a manufacturer, and actually the cost of foreign manufacturer, you'd have to really consider all the overhead and supply chain issues and delays. You know, it's becoming less attractive. And then now with a lot of the incentives like the bipartisan infrastructure bill, there are lots of incentives for doing more in the US but we always have this on our plan to be made in Michigan and made in USA and we think that's a real strength. Our customers love it because we're able to say made in USA is really appealing to the government and large corporations to have that as part of our value proposition.

MP: So talk to me a little bit about what it's like recruiting in Michigan, do you find that you can get great talent there? Are you a remote company where you will hire from any good talent anywhere?

LF: It's not like over hybrid so the factory everybody has to be there obviously your entire making things, but engineering sales and marketing or work from home and come to the factory is needed, but that's an infrequent thing. In terms of hiring in Michigan for factory talent, most of them are technicians and engineers. So it's a very good environment. There are a lot of skilled trades persons mean because you actually have we're making things right this is real manufacture. You have to know how to measure and read blueprints and cut and weld and you know, as in volume, we can move to robotic welding and some parts of 3d metal printing, but there's still that making it stuff. So a lot of our technicians, you know, they studied shop in high school and they were fixing cars into garages and they took welding classes. What we're doing is upskilling them and giving them additional training so they can be advanced manufacturing, contributors and learn about 3d metal printing and learn about robotic welding and learn about flow manufacturing. We've actually brought in some consultants as coaches from the auto industry to help upskill our team, but we're very conscious about the diverse team building, diversity and every aspect of that from my point of view from where you live, if you speak another language. Being a veteran, it's not just gender and race. It's really every aspect we have every religion celebrated amongst our team members. And we celebrate that aspect of us we have kind of a three fold Triple Bottom Line mission, people planet profits, and it's first about the people in our team who are going to serve the people who are at work for our customers. Really focusing on regain those people delighted with the services and then about the planet. Of course, we're trying to have an adaptation to this climate change. We're going to solve it but we're going to help at least not contribute to it and learn to adapt and then finally profits because that's what Prime's the pump and makes a good business model that allows us to continue to innovate.

MP: Was it a no brainer for you to have a triple bottom line?

LF: I strongly believe in that kind of purpose. And I think that when you have a mission and purpose built company like we do, you can attract better talent and and you can attract people's loyalty, like I don't want to in any way diminish any of our traditions. We had a guy who was kind of hardcore guy right and these managers are at our company and he comes out of this welding mode. And when I told him we were trying to donate some nanograms for Ukraine, particularly to help mothers and newborns, he was like really touched you. He got a little emotional about it. And he said, That would be so great. And so you can't underestimate the impact of purpose on getting people to care and to do a better job. And also if you care about them, you know, if you treat your employees very well, then they're going to in turn treat your customers well. And so it really starts from that purpose, the view of respect, having diverse teams who respect one another, that is really a key key part of our recruiting process and people either like that or they don't. This is not you know, trying to get people with pedigrees climbing a ladder. This is about trying to make a real difference in the world, not only in what we do but how we do it. It's not always your philosophy. I say this because you hear about the old boys club in Silicon Valley.

MP: And I know that you were in California in the early days of your career. And so I'd love to know about the good times or bad times and how that has really transformed the way that you're thinking about the company that you're building.

LF: Yeah, so I've always wanted to, you know, make products or services that make the world better in some way. Maybe your life better or your work better. And as I've gotten more mature, I want to have more impact on this existential problem that we're facing of climate change. I was in the early days of Silicon Valley, you mentioned that I had a software company that worked closely with Steve Jobs, and we were in this whole world where, you know, make great stuff think differently. A lot of the environment in terms of how people worked was pretty toxic, you know? I mean, it was exciting to do great things. But it wasn't always great for women or persons of color. And the workloads were tough. And I used to think it was great to work long hours. You just saw Elon, you know, everyday work long hours, well, that's not necessarily conducive to a happy life. So as I've matured myself over the years, I realized taking care of people is the most important thing. It's not about working so hard. It's about working smartly, with great purpose and vision. And so it's like they tell you on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, you got to take care of our people and do it in a healthy way. And I think that's what gets really great work. Of course, there's times and deadlines. You just got to put in that elbow grease in the long hours. Sometimes there's no replacement for it. But that should be the exception and not the everyday norm because that’s what makes people crash and burn and we've seen so many early stage companies that there's some mental health issues with the founders or with the team members. And so in the world, I think it's a combination of maturity, and just my own experiences of life. I don't want to do that anymore. Right. I don't want to live that way. And I don't wanna make anybody live that way.

MP: Yeah, I was just reading a really interesting story in Fast Company. There was a founder who was talking about bringing joy into the workforce or like into her, you know, into her startup and she was like, I'm taking 4:30 to 7:30 off every day. I want to be home with my young children. What do you say to your co workers, your employees and staff that asked for such things, do you hear about that? What are some cool new policies or programs you've put in place?

LF: So we built it in with the factory because many of our technicians have young families. And so they work, you know, 7:00 to 3:30. So they don't even get home to pick up their daughters or sons from school or be there until their wives come home. A lot of people are dual income families and in Michigan, and so we built that into the system and always if there's any issue with your family, family first of course, it's okay to go leave and be with your family. That's really important. Our work from home folks, they can make their schedules that just get the work done. And we've recruited heavily from a group called the mom project, which is stay at home moms. We love them. They're fabulous. Nobody's a bigger multitasker than mom, she's got kids, she's schooling and helping and everything else and gets her work done. And it's a fabulous resource. So we totally prioritize the health of the family, family time. And again, I think that makes for a better team, a stronger team and a more committed team. One of our advantages is and this is again, inventory, having not done this in early days, I was determined from day one that our unit economics were going to be profitable and then it would be just a case of get enough transactions and the company will be profitable. So if you have good unit economics, you're gonna have a lot more interest from VCs, I think more and more, they're becoming a little more culturally receptive, particularly the newer funds, but in the old Silicon Valley, they're pretty much you know that that view of young people not married, especially guys that can work all hours of the day. Well, I will just say that doesn't always lead you to the best outcomes. And so I think a holistic view of what's right for people what's right for the planet is going to yield better outcomes. And I think that you should realize that women understand this, they should put more money behind women, when women are gonna make some better decisions, be better managers, and they're gonna take the culture more seriously. And we're looking for those guys were fortunate to be able to be a profitable company. And so we can wait and pick the right investors who have the right match for us as opposed to be desperate for money. And I think that's a strong position. If anybody's looking at being a founder, I would always strongly urge you focus on profitable unit economics from day one, and get to break even quickly because then you have options and choices versus having to do what the market wants you to do or the capital markets and system.

MP: Okay, that's a mic drop right there. And I know that you've actually invested in how many female founders have you invested in overall, at Springboard?

LF: I've spent a lot of my career helping women founders, learn about how to grow their businesses how to get access to capital, human and financial capital, expert capital. To help them I do that through springboard. And then as I started sesame solar, this was really my next, you know, focus in my life was to really give back towards addressing the existential crisis of our time, which is climate change. And so yeah, I've invested in I've helped recover I got to this I had a call with some of my limited partners and my friend Bill capital, and we're going over our portfolio and what winds are working and which ones aren't and it's all about learning and so the learnings are good, and I've tried to provide those learnings as much as I can, as hard as I can.

MP: Okay, so beyond economics, I'm curious from a focus from day one, what are some other learnings that, not only just female founders that are listening, but founders in general, that they should take into consideration, especially when wanting to start in the climate space?

LF: Well, the most important decisions you make are, first of all, what's the problem you're going to solve? Instead of trying to boil the ocean, pick a narrow one, that if you got it, right, could be scalable into something big, but that you can do something small because that's going to be less capital intensive, and you have a chance to try to prove it out in a narrow way that you can then run so that's just a general approach. Second, your founders are essential to your co founders. You've got to find people who are better than you are at the things that you're not good at. I mean, you just have to write. And so having complementary founders, I mean, I used to play sports, in high school, and you just really learned on a team. It wasn't the stars of the team that made the team it was the teamwork and the people who didn't drop the ball who always had your back who were working hard in practice. It's really about that kind of team. So thinking about that from day one. From your founders, and the more people you bring in, it's so critical. The early hires, you can't rush it. You can't just say I'm gonna hire a lot of people who want to really carefully pick those in the beginning because you will win or lose on those early hires. Have you ever made a mistake that you can share that well, that's terrible co founders. I will not say the names, but I had one VC so bad, it actually propelled me into – He actually said to me, when we were disagreeing on something, he was like, you don't know the golden rule. I'm like, of course, I know, the golden rule. He goes then well the gold makes the rules. And I'm thinking, Well, you know what, when I'm an investor, I'm gonna practice the real golden rule, which is to treat people the way you'd like to be treated. I was so galvanized by that, you know, It motivated me to make a difference there. And so yeah, I've had some tears. I mean, everything I'm telling you is because I've made every mistake in the book. I have not done all these things I'm saying but I have learned how to do them over time.

MP: How about your most memorable career highlights? What are you most proud of?

LF: Well, most recently, I'm proud of our launching our green hydrogen metal. Grid. I mean, first to market. In April of 2021. We had lost a potential contract, we really worked hard to get to the state of California. We'd had Mobile Management for emergencies, but we'd had some backup diesel power, and we ended up getting up getting dinged for that. And I was so mad. And I was like, F*** diesel. We're gonna have green hydrogen from now on. And so I call up my co founder, and I said, “we're gonna go to green hydrogen, not your diesel backup”, and he's like, I don't know much about green hydrogen. I said, we're gonna go. So we had to go through a few vendors. We had to read a lot to jump into it and now we launched the world's first mobile data grid for emergency response with solar batteries and green hydrogen. I'm very proud of that. That's fast. That's super fast to add it's very complex technology in a short period of time to do a lot of learnings and then we set goals for selling and then we're getting close. So you know that's that's execution. We have a great team.

MP: Yeah, okay. I want to talk about execution because you really killed it. I will say also because I work with you not only as investors or VSC ventures, but through our agency on the PR side. And so for founders who are wanting to bring on PR, I'm wondering if you have advice on like, when you think as a founder, it's the right time to say yes or no, like, this is the time to tell our story, or we're not ready yet.

LF: It has certainly been great working with VSC both as an investor and VSC PR. I mean, it really put us on the map. And we have all this inbound. So before we were kind of low profile, which deliberately you're trying to learn from the market. I didn't want to do a lot and make a mistake. I wanted to like be somewhat stealth to make sure we had product market fit. So I would say that you don't want to give up too early that you're selling vaporware, you really it's good to be able to have a new product or a major customer deployment. And then later, you know, even talking about your funding. There was a lot of stuff out there. That's really vaporware. I mean, it was in the early days of computer business and you know, people would be selling them in their air on chairs with their T shirts. So they didn't have a product yet. I mean, we were on you know, old doors on sawhorses. And we got this we got to the secondhand store and crappy chairs for a long time that we were profitable. And then they got the Aeron chairs as an award for doing better or going the extra mile for customer. Like I saw so much of that. So I think it's important to be real. So you have a real product, you've got a real team to be small. You've got your first real customers and then you want to fit. It's very important. If you are just like in your top legal you need top accounting, you need top PR who really gets you and get your market and I see because when I went out and looked at the companies you were doing in the articles, and you were to get a report, I know you knew all the people I wanted to talk to. And so it just I had to persuade you guys that you should invest in us and that you should take us on as a client.

MP: Okay, well, I know our time here is coming to an end. Is there anything else I should have asked you that we didn't get to talk about?

LF: Well, maybe you know, a lot of people want to move into climate change. They want to make a change in their life. You know, like I wanted to go from, you know, all the things I was doing to make an impact on climate change. And so I very consciously thought, What could I do? You know, I'm good at starting companies. And I talked about some of the principles that I used to figure out about Sesame solar. But I think as you think about wanting to get into climate change, a good thing to do is to work at a company where you can get a very good experience. And if you want to start a company that you've learned that domain experience, find that narrow problem that you could solve, and use that to go into it. I just interviewed a woman yesterday, who I hope we hired, I don't know if it'll happen or not. But she did a complete reinvention of herself. And I was very impressed by that. So she'd been in the energy industry for a number of years very successfully. And then a few years ago, she decided I'm going into renewables. So she went back to school, got a master's in energy management. She joined every green energy thing, she could have volunteered and this and that, and is working in a clean energy company now. And so she prepared herself so when I looked at hiring a candidate is like, Okay, this is a person willing to learn, willing to make the commitment. And so I'm willing to bet on someone like that, that they'll continue to learn they'll bring that learning mentality. So I think if you can demonstrate that and join a lot of different organizations and show your learning that people will take a chance on you. If you want to found a company, go get some knowledge first, do your deep research and then figure out the small problem you can solve.

MP: Thank you, Lauren. I really appreciated that and it's actually the one that you're speaking about. I'll let you go off and solve this massive problem that you're out to solve and I wish you all the best and thank you for joining us today.

LF: We do Maggie, always a pleasure to spend time with you. We love working with VSC PR, and VSC Ventures has been a wonderful addition to our team that's also very important to pick the right investors.

Thank you so much for reading our latest update from VSC Ventures Fund I. We're in the early days of our long and healthy partnership with all of you, so please reach out to us with additional questions on anything above. Thank you again for your support for our vision and our fund!

Vijay Chattha & Jay Kapoor

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